Vosper Thornycroft (VT) will progress plans for the construction of the Royal Navy
’s new Type 45 destroyer following the signing later today of a legally binding agreement with the Prime Contractor BAE Systems
The initial contract for work on the first six platforms will be worth in excess of $285 million to VT with involvement in the design, production and support stages of the project. VT will build blocks for each of the six comprising the bow section, funnel and masts. These blocks, which will weigh about 700 tonnes, will be fully outfitted before leaving the Portsmouth facilities. Production of the first modules on the first-of-class Type 45, HMS Daring, is due to start in mid-2003 and production will continue until at least 2008. VT’s involvement in the program will sustain some 800 employees and provide quality work for a full mix of shipbuilding trades during that period. It is planned that the Class will eventually consist of up to 12 ships and that VT will continue to have a significant role throughout the program.The agreement will signal the go-ahead for VT’s new shipbuilding facilities at Portsmouth. In addition to the capital investment, there will be one-off reorganization costs in the region of approximately $14.2 million, which will be incurred over the next 18 months, to facilitate the move. Construction work on the facility will start immediately.
VT chief executive Martin Jay said, “After complex and extensive negotiations with BAE Systems we are delighted to have reached an agreement that enables our involvement in the construction of the Type 45 and our investment in the new Portsmouth facilities to move forward.
“ This facility will be among the most modern shipyards in the world. The processes will be highly automated and will enable us to make productivity advances that will help to secure further shipbuilding orders in the UK and in our export markets.
“There will be further advantages from locating our shipbuilding activities in Portsmouth, a home of the RN surface fleet. These include the various synergies from working closely with Fleet Support Limited (FSL), our Joint Venture with BAE SYSTEMS that is responsible for the maintenance of RN ships.”
The combination of retaining the head office and engineering services elements in Southampton is expected to secure up to 150 jobs in the area. The company’s facilities at Portchester, which include the thriving Halmatic boat building business, are unaffected by these changes.