BARROW AND BIRKENHEAD HAVE A KEY ROLE TO PLAY IN DELIVERY OF THE UK’s FUTURE SUBMARINE AND WARSHIP PROGRAMMES
Barrow shipyard has a key role in helping the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) deliver an ambitious programme for building new warships, submarines and ‘warlike’ ships over the next 10 years.
Around 8,000 (2016) skilled warship designers and builders currently employed at the Barrow in Furness shipyard.
At Birkenhead, Cammell-Laird is focused on RFA fleet ship maintenance and repair and shipbuilding it has recentlly supplied future aircraft carrier flight decks.
The UK Warship Building Programme
The Ministry of Defence in its Defence Equipment Plan 2015 announced a ambitious warship, submarine and Royal Fleet Auxiliary shipbuilding programme involving construction of
7 astute class submarines,
4 successor deterrent submarines,
type 26 frigate replacements,
completion of the second aircraft carrier
4 new RFA ships.
The UK naval surface warship programmes up to 2020 will involve the following submarine and ship types:
7 Nuclear powered attack submarines - “Astute” class
4 Successor class submarine replacement submarines
The new Maritime Underwater Future Capability requirement (MUFC) to replace Astute submarines beyond the 2030s'
20 Future Surface Combatant Type 26 warships
6 Type 45 Destroyers, to offer air defence for the fleet
2 Future Aircraft Carriers project is to cost around £6billion.
8 -12 ‘MARS’ (Military Afloat, Reach and Sustainability) ships, costing up to £2 billion including 1 Joint Casualty Treatment Ship
The UK Government has yet to decide how, when, and where several of the above-mentioned ships will be constructed and who will build them.
The trade unions believe they should all be constructed in UK shipyards to retain the UK’s world class expertise in naval shipbuilding.
Sourcing some parts of the programme, such as the MARS ships overseas, despite a long standing UK Government policy commitment to have all warship and ‘warlike’ ship hulls built in the UK, would only lead to the UK losing highly skilled jobs, redundancies and other nations hosting the technology lead in some types of naval shipbuilding.
The Defence Industrial Strategy proposed a partnership with industry to sustain the UK’s naval shipbuilding industrial base'. The Submarine Enterprise Collaborative Agreement is seen as a means of delivering the submarine element.
‘Gaps’ in naval design and production work need to be avoided.This can be achieved by maintaining steady drumbeats of work in UK shipyards.
The Ministry of Defence have acknowledged that the proposed naval ship building programmes will require a dramatic increase in the number of ship designers, and skilled workforce in Britain’s shipyards.
This requirement was quantified by Rand Europe as far back as 2002 and again in 2005.
It has been seen on the ground in Barrow where numbers have risen from 2900 in 2004 to 8000 in 2016.