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08 January 2018

Babcock launches 'Team 31' bid for new UK frigate

Babcock today announced it will lead a bespoke team of industry partners in a bid for the UK Ministry of Defence's (MOD) new £1.25 billion Type 31e general purpose light frigate programme, building on the success of its role within the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.

Two of the UK's leading defence suppliers - Babcock and Thales - have joined forces with BMT, Harland & Wolff and Ferguson Marine to form 'Team 31' to deliver world-class ships that will drive economic benefits throughout the UK. The highly experienced team will seek to deliver capable, cost-effective and flexible ships to the Royal Navy and, using the team's considerable international reach, maximise export opportunities.

Babcock will act as the overall programme lead, whilst Thales will have overall responsibility for the development of the Mission System solution. Babcock and BMT will use their unrivalled experience in the development of designs for both naval and commercial vessels to produce a world-class product.

The make-up of the team will ensure that the economic benefits of the programme are shared across the UK. Ferguson Marine on the Clyde, Harland & Wolff in Belfast and the Babcock facilities in Fife and Devon will all have key roles to play, while much of the equipment provided by Thales and others will support jobs across the UK.

The UK's National Shipbuilding Strategy has ushered in a new and exciting era for naval procurement in the UK.  Building on key lessons from the success of the Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier programme and the Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Irish Naval Service, the Strategy seeks to maximise UK content, export potential and the cost and programme benefits of a modular build using the breadth of skills and facilities available across the UK.

Team 31's modular build approach will make best use of UK facilities, innovation and skills to deliver a cutting-edge platform that combines capability with value-for-money and advanced technology to afford class-leading levels of availability and operating costs.

Babcock CEO Archie Bethel said:

"Team 31 will allow Babcock and Thales to take forward the key lessons from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance and apply them in a new and highly capable team with Harland & Wolff, BMT and Ferguson Marine.

"We firmly believe that our combined skills can deliver an affordable and effective Type31e Frigate programme for the Royal Navy and offer something new and exciting in the export market. With a high degree of UK content and the use of innovative technologies, we believe that our approach will deliver real benefits to UK plc."

Victor Chavez, CEO of Thales UK said:

"Thales UK is delighted to be working with Babcock and our partners as part of Team 31. We recognise the diversity of roles anticipated for Type31e and, together, we will create and exciting, innovative and flexible capability for the Royal Navy based on the best of UK and international technologies in an open-system architecture that will ensure long term value for money."

Sarah Kenny, BMT CEO said:

“BMT has supported the UK and global maritime sector for decades. As a proud member of Team 31, we are delighted to be shaping the Type 31e programme, and we welcome the opportunity to bring our substantial global engineering experience to bear on this vital UK defence programme. We are confident that the combined Team 31 offering will meet the exacting requirements of the UK MOD whilst creating UK shipbuilding industry momentum and a competitive offering for wider export opportunities”.

 

About Babcock
Babcock is the UK's leading naval support business. It draws on an unmatched range of engineering and technical skills in providing through-life services and deep maintenance to the Royal Navy's major warships and nuclear-powered submarines. They own and operate major dockyard facilities at Devonport and Rosyth and manage the Clyde Naval Base. w: www.babcockinternational.com

About Thales
Thales is a leading provider of integrated maritime safety and security systems, offering a comprehensive set of capabilities and unrivalled expertise in key components such as sensors, communication, command & control systems and integration. w: www.thalesgroup.com

About BMT Defence Services
BMT Defence Services is the leading independent centre of engineering design, design support and technical services for defence customers. BMT Defence Services’ strong track record in naval platform design for surface warships, submarines and auxiliaries together with extensive acquisition support experience within land domain projects is thanks to its people, including systems engineers, naval architects, marine engineers and software developers. w: www.bmtdsl.co.uk