The Ministry of Defence today (25 Feb) awarded the contract to build a brand new warship to VT Group, as production began on another vessel, the third Type 45 Destroyer HMS Diamond, at the Portsmouth shipyard.
The £30 million contract for a new Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) will create 100 new jobs and sustain around 400 posts at VT’s shipbuilding facility. The new OPV will patrol waters round the Falkland Islands and is being acquired under an innovative charter and logistic support contract.
Scheduled to enter service in 2007, the new OPV will be the first warship to be launched at Portsmouth since the frigate HMS Andromeda in 1967.
Minister for Defence Procurement, Lord Bach, was at Portsmouth Dockyard today to announce the OPV contract award and officially launch production of the third Type 45 Anti-Air Warfare Destroyer, HMS Diamond.
Lord Bach said:
‘’Today is a day of double celebration for Portsmouth and the Royal Navy. Through this contract, VT will build a new Offshore Patrol Vessel in Portsmouth that will ensure our Falklands Island patrol service remains strong and effective for years to come.
The Type-45 programme meanwhile will provide Britain with the most advanced air destroyer fleet in the world, and it is a pleasure to get work officially underway on the third vessel in the programme, HMS Diamond.
Today, however, is not just about ships, it’s about people. 100 new jobs will be created as a result of the OPV contract and a further 400 sustained. Together with the hundreds already working on the Type 45 contract, this is excellent news for Portsmouth.’’
The new ship will replace the two Castle Class ships currently employed in the Falkland Island role, HMS Dumbarton Castle and HMS Leeds Castle. Unlike the Castle Class ships, which have to return to the UK every three years for major repairs, the new OPV’s greater reliability and more modern design means she will be able to remain in the South Atlantic until 2012 and will save the taxpayer £2 million in support costs over a seven year period.
Weighing in at 1,850 tonnes, the new OPV will have a crew of 34 (compared with 51 for the old Castle class ships) and be armed with a single 30mm gun. She will carry out patrol duties around the Falklands and their dependencies, and is able accommodate a single helicopter up to Merlin size.
Notes to editors
1. For further information please contact Rebecca Gledhill on 07900 134 982 , John Fyall on 07810 237923 or Christian Cubitt on 0207 2182661
2. BAE Systems Electronics is the prime contractor for the delivery of the first six Type 45 Destroyers. VT at Portsmouth and BAE Systems Naval Ships in Govan will both build and outfit substantial sections of the ships.
3. The Type 45 Destroyer will replace the capability currently provided by the Type 42. The first of class ship is planned to enter service later in the decade.
4. The class is to be known as the ‘D’ Class. HMS Daring, HMS Dauntless, HMS Diamond, HMS Defender, HMS Dragon and HMS Duncan have been announced as the names of the first six ships.
5. The MoD web-site can be found at http://www.mod.uk. Alternatively you may contact the MoD Press Office by e-mail at email@example.com