Patrol Craft

Defence written question – answered on 19th November 2013.

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Photo of Mike Hancock Mike Hancock Independent, Portsmouth South

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) when work began on the Navy's new offshore patrol vessels;

(2) when the decision to build three new offshore patrol vessels was taken;

(3) whether Portsmouth was considered as the preferred location for the construction of all or any of the offshore patrol vessels;

(4) when preliminary work began on the three new offshore patrol vessels; and when the contract negotiations with BAE for those vessels commenced.

Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The Ministry of Defence entered into discussions with BAE Systems (BAES) in summer 2012 about the future of the UK warship building programme. This covered a number of issues, including how best to manage the workload gap and maintain key shipbuilding skills between the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier and Type 26 Global Combat Ship build programmes.

Building Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) in Portsmouth was among the options considered initially. As discussions with BAES progressed, it became evident that there would be clear business benefits in the company's decision to consolidate its shipbuilding capabilities on the Clyde. The key issue, therefore, became the maintenance of shipbuilding skills on the Clyde after completion of work on the Carrier blocks. Following analysis, the build of three OPVs was determined to be the optimum method to maintain these skills, while delivering useful capability for the Royal Navy.

Detailed commercial negotiations around the shipbuilding programme began in mid 2013, with agreement reached on an overall deal in late October. A Commercial Principles Agreement was signed on 6 November 2013.

Subject to the Main Investment decision in the coming months and contract placement in 2014, construction work on the OPVs is expected to begin in autumn 2014.

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