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Cammell Laird, BAE Systems tie knot for Type 31e frigate bid

23 October 2017

Commercial engineering, ship repair, and shipbuilding group Cammell Laird has teamed with BAE Systems to bid for the UK Royal Navy’s (RN’s) GBP1.25 billion (USD1.65 billion) Type 31e general purpose frigate requirement.

The move, announced on 18 October, positions Birkenhead-based Cammell Laird as prime contractor for the programme, including responsibility for building and assembling the vessels, with BAE Systems contributing its expertise in warship design and engineering, combat systems, and export capture.

Cammell Laird and BAE Systems will bid the Leander design to meet the Type 31e requirement. (Cammell Laird)Cammell Laird and BAE Systems will bid the Leander design to meet the Type 31e requirement. (Cammell Laird)

The two companies’ candidate design, known as Leander, is an evolution of BAE Systems’ earlier Cutlass general purpose frigate concept, itself a stretched and modified development of the Khareef corvette design built for the Royal Navy of Oman.

Forming the centrepiece of the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) recently unveiled National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSbS), the Type 31e programme envisages the fast-track acquisition of a globally deployable but affordable frigate geared towards maritime security and defence engagement operations. A ceiling price of GBP250 million/ship has been set for the first batch of five frigates, intended to enter RN service from 2023 to replace the five general purpose-roled Type 23 frigates.

A specialist in commercial ship support and shiprepair, Cammell Laird has in recent years re-entered the commercial shipbuilding market. The yard is currently building the polar research vessel RSS Sir David Attenborough for the UK Natural Environment Research Council under a GBP150 million contract awarded in late 2015.

“Cammell Laird has very much welcomed the NSbS and the Type 31e competition,” said Cammell Laird CEO John Syvret in a statement. “We will offer a UK warship design, a UK combat system, and a UK build and a supply chain with high UK content.

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