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The offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), which will be used by the Royal Navy to undertake various tasks in support of UK interests both at home and abroad, will be built at BAE Systems’ shipyards in Glasgow.
Featuring a redesigned flight deck to operate the latest Merlin helicopters as well as increased storage and accommodation facilities, the OPVs build on the proven capability of the Royal Navy’s current River Class vessels.
Announcing the contract, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
UK warships are only built in UK shipyards. This multi-million-pound contract shows our commitment to investing in new ships for the Royal Navy and maintaining in the UK the expertise needed to build the warships of the future. It will benefit the dedicated workers of the Clyde, their families and the local economy in Glasgow.
This sort of investment by the UK government is vital for the sustainment of shipbuilding in the city and the hundreds of specialist manufacturing and engineering roles that play an important role in providing war-fighting capability for the Royal Navy.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, will today visit the BAE Systems site alongside defence equipment minister Philip Dunne to meet some of the employees who will be involved in manufacturing the vessels when work begins this autumn.
Mr Alexander said:
I am delighted that we will be building the Royal Navy’s new offshore patrol vessels in Glasgow. Today’s announcement continues over 200 years of tradition building the nation’s leading ships on the Clyde. This will also support hundreds of jobs in the region and make an important contribution to the wider UK economy.
Having played an important role in the construction of HMS Queen Elizabeth, which was named by the Queen in a ceremony last month, workers on the Clyde are now manufacturing blocks for the second aircraft carrier, the Prince of Wales, which is being assembled at Rosyth dockyard near Edinburgh.
Work on the OPVs will help sustain skilled jobs on the Clyde and support BAE Systems’ work to improve the efficiency of shipbuilding operations. The first OPV is expected to be handed over to the Royal Navy in 2017.