NWI - Naval Warfare

DSEI 2019: Cammell Laird open to switching Type 31e allegiance

11th September 2019 - 12:14 GMT | by Tim Martin in London

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Shipbuilder Cammell Laird will consider the option of partnering with a competitor prime manufacturer in the event that its current tie with BAE Systems and associated Leander design bid for the UK’s Type 31e frigate programme fails.

‘We have always had an agreement that we would be loyal to our consortium, Team Leander, but if at the end our design wasn’t the choice for the Royal Navy, we are a commercial yard and we will be open for business in the future,’ Tony Graham, CFO at the company, told Shephard.

Though a decision to award the Type 31e contract to a winning contractor or contractors in the case of joint bids from Cammell Laird/BAE and Atlas Electronik/Thyssenkrup Marine Systems from the MoD has been mooted to take place this week, sources from industry have not confirmed this to be the case.

‘I think there has been widespread speculation about when an announcement will be made but we continue to wait and see,’ Dominic Morley, Head of BD at BAE Systems said.

‘I can’t see any grounds on which we would dispute a [contract award] decision,’ he added when asked about how BAE would react in the event of losing out on the contract – with Babcock and its Arrowhead 140 cast as a firm favourite to take the prize.

Whatever the outcome for industry, Graham made clear that the 3,500t displacement export market is particularly promising, with the Leander design likely to be offered for future international campaigns.

‘When we went into the Type 31e competition, we were very conscious of the fact that what we were really trying to do was build on the success of Type 26 and create an offering that would have mass market appeal,' he explained.

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