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DSEI 2021: Babcock eyes Type 31 export success

15th September 2021 - 09:45 GMT | by Harry Lye in London

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Inspiration-class Type 31 frigate. (Photo: Babcock)

Babcock is targeting export success with the Arrowhead 140 design – known in the UK as the Inspiration-class Type 31.

Babcock chief corporate affairs officer John Howie has told Shephard about several major ongoing export campaigns the company is involved in, including Greece, Indonesia and Poland.

Howie told Shephard on 14 September during DSEI that the company was expecting a decision from Indonesia in the ‘near future’.

Elsewhere, for Poland’s Miecznik programme, Howie said he believed the UK had a strong offering for the three-frigate project. Poland is likely to decide between the three remaining designs in Q1 2022.

Howie said that Babcock had developed strong in-country relationships as it sought to win the Polish work.

Babcock is bidding for the Greek frigate requirement as part of a wider UK offering; that programme would see the winner provide a new frigate capability as well as an interim solution.

Previously, Shephard reported that the UK was offering to transfer two Duke-class Type 23 frigates to Greece as part of its bid.

The winner of the Greek programme will also oversee the upgrade of existing MEKO frigates.

Howie explained that the heavily production-engineered design of Type 31 would make in-country build ‘easy to achieve’.

Asked where ships would be built if bids were successful, he said that it would vary depending on the programme and readiness of local industry.

Some programmes could see first-in-class ships built in the UK to develop skills needed to build subsequent vessels in-country. Other programmes could see the in-country industry build all ships for a given programme.

Explaining Babcock’s approach to international work, Howie added: ‘When we talk to export customers, we are not like a traditional shipbuilder, so we don’t think about it as how do we maximise throughput in a yard that we own.

‘We are looking to find a solution that works for us and for the customer. If that means we set up a business in Greece and we build a long-term presence, that’s great.’

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