With more than £170m worth of contracts, the British giant has awarded the first equipment manufacturing contracts for the Type 26 Global Combat ships to seven companies in the supply chain, involving more than 1,250 people across the UK.
The contracts – awarded from the £859m Demonstration Phase which began in April – cover key equipment such as propulsion, communications and electrical systems for the first three ships.
They will be carried out respectively by:
- Babcock (ship’s air weapons handling system)
- David Brown Gear Systems Ltd (propulsion gearbox and the test facility)
- GE Power Conversion (electric propulsion motor, drive system and testing facility)
- Raytheon (integrated navigation and bridge system)
- Rolls Royce Power Engineering (gas turbine)
- Rohde & Schwarz UK (communications systems)
- WR Davis (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.
Type 26 programme director at BAE Systems, Geoff Searle commented: “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.”
Babcock’s head of Surface Ship Business Development, David Wright noted: “The [Air Weapons Handling] system that we have developed over the past 18 months represents a major move forward in the application of low noise, electrically powered, shock resilient weapon handling technology.”
“Babcock has more than 30 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of weapons launch and handling systems for both surface ship and submarine platforms for the UK and overseas navies, including the supply of a complete weapons handling for the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.”
These contracts are helping to support UK’s industrial base, explained Steve Watson, managing director of David Brown Gear Systems Ltd: “The contract to supply the gearboxes for the Type 26 ships is the largest single order in our firm’s 150 year history.”
The new manufacturing contracts aim at expanding the existing 15 design development agreements across the supply chain, securing a total of 17 companies across the UK, Europe and Canada with contracts under the Type 26 programme.
With the manufacturing phase expected to begin this year, BAE Systems estimates that the first of 13 Type 26 vessels will be delivered to the Royal Navy and enter service in the early 2020s.
The Type 26 class – which replaces capabilities from the existing Type 23 – has the potential to remain in service into the middle of this century and beyond due to its multi-mission warship capabilities ranging from high intensity warfare to humanitarian assistance.