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UK Type 26 programme powers ahead

Type 26
BAE Systems has awarded the first equipment manufacturing contracts for the Type 26 Global Combat Ships, worth in excess of £170m.

With the contracts awarded to seven companies in the supply chain, there are now more than 1250 people across the UK working on the programme to deliver the Royal Navy’s next generation warships.

The contracts, awarded from the Demonstration Phase contract funding, cover key equipment such as propulsion, communications and electrical systems for the first three ships. The commitment to long lead items keeps the programme on track and means the equipment will be delivered to Glasgow at the point it is needed in the ship’s manufacturing phase, which is expected to begin next year. The contracts include the creation of onshore testing facilities to test the equipment prior to installation on the ships. The contracts are awarded to:

  • Babcock for the ship’s air weapons handling system
  • David Brown Gear Systems Ltd for the propulsion gearbox and the test facility
  • GE Power Conversion for the electric propulsion motor and drive system  and testing facility
  • Raytheon for the integrated navigation and bridge system
  • Rolls Royce Power Engineering for the gas turbine
  • Rohde & Schwarz UK Ltd for the communications systems
  • WR Davis for the uptakes and downtakes

BAE Systems has also confirmed a subcontract to its Combat Systems team for the Meteorological and Oceanographic (METOC) system, which collates and analyses environmental information to support operations.
Geoff Searle, Type 26 Programme Director at BAE Systems, said: “Today’s announcement is exciting for everyone involved in the Type 26 programme, as it will enable our partners in the supply chain to start manufacturing key equipment for the first three ships. This reinforces the strong momentum behind the programme and is an important step towards the start of manufacturing the Type 26 ships for the Royal Navy in Glasgow next year.”

These contracts are helping to support the UK’s vibrant industrial base, as Steve Watson, Managing Director, David Brown Gear Systems Ltd, explains: “The contract to supply the gearboxes for the Type 26 ships is the largest single order in our firm’s 150 history.

“As a result of our involvement in this programme, we have made significant investments in our infrastructure and we have transformed a semi-derelict area of our Huddersfield site into new state of the art manufacturing, assembly and test facilities. This means we can provide the latest generation of gearing technology to the Royal Navy's Type 26 ships and it creates a strong platform to secure future orders across the defence, oil and gas, and power generation sectors."

The £859m Demonstration Phase contract for the Type 26 programme began in April 2015. The new manufacturing contracts build on the existing 15 design development agreements across the supply chain, which means that a total of 17 companies across the UK, Europe and Canada already have contracts in place under the Type 26 programme. A joint team from BAE Systems, the Ministry of Defence, and the supply chain are working together to complete the detailed design for the ships, procure key equipment and prepare the manufacturing proposal to be submitted to the Ministry of Defence.

Under current planning assumptions, 13 Type 26 ships will be delivered to the Royal Navy. The first vessel is due to enter service in the early 2020s and the Type 26 class will remain in service into the middle of this century and beyond.

The Type 26 Global Combat Ship will be a globally deployable, multi-mission warship capable of undertaking a wide range of roles from high intensity warfare to humanitarian assistance, either operating independently or as part of a task group. The ship will take full advantage of modular design and open systems architecture, ensuring it can be easily upgraded as new technology develops and can accommodate different sub-systems and equipment suited to potential overseas customer needs.