A new £48 million contract has been agreed to support Royal Navy ships as Portsmouth prepares to welcome the Queen Elizabeth Carrier into the city.
A fleet of 38 workboats will help navy ships from UK bases and on operations around the world.
Tasks will include transferring personnel to and from the UK’s carriers, including the QEC.
Able to carry up to 36 passengers at a time, the workboats can be stowed inside the carriers ands winched to and from the water using on-board lifting equipment, allowing them to support the enormous ships either in port or on operations.
Building and supporting the boats will also sustain 60 British jobs, including 15 at Atlas Elektronik UK near Dorchester where the boats will be built.
Earlier The News revealed that a date of August 18 has been pencilled in for the QEC’s homecoming.
From the south coast to the banks of the Clyde, British shipbuilding is ensuring that our growing navy has the reach it needs to protect our interests around the globe.Defence minister Harriett Baldwin
Defence minister Harriett Baldwin said: ‘From the south coast to the banks of the Clyde, British shipbuilding is ensuring that our growing navy has the reach it needs to protect our interests around the globe.
‘These cutting-edge workboats will support the likes of our iconic new aircraft carriers and the Type 26 frigates, as well as sustaining 60 British jobs.
‘This is another step in our £178 billion plan to provide our armed forces with the very best equipment to keep our country safe.’
Ranging in length from 11 to 18 metres, the boats will perform other tasks including officer and diver training, Antarctic exploration and explosive ordnance disposal.
The first boat will enter service next year.
Tony Douglas, chief executive officer of Defence Equipment and Support, the MOD’s procurement organisation, said: ‘These boats use modern materials and have been designed from the keel up to provide the Royal Navy with unparalleled flexibility and adaptability.
‘DE&S is proud to maintain excellent working relationships with partners across UK industry, ensuring our armed forces continue to be provided with the equipment they need while also maintaining vital British skills and jobs.’