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VT Group Secures Contract For New OPV


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From http://www.defence-aerospace.com


VT Group Secures Contract For New Offshore Patrol Vessel

Source: VT Group; issued Feb. 25, 2005


VT Group plc has been awarded a contract by the Ministry of Defence for the construction of a new 80 metre Offshore Patrol Vessel (Helicopter) for the Royal Navy.


The ship will be built to VT’s account, with production starting in June. She will be handed over to the Royal Navy in Autumn 2006, entering service, after the completion of trials, in Spring 2007. The ship will be chartered to the MoD for an initial period until March 2012.


The programme is expected to be worth an initial total of around £30 million, under a Public-Private Partnership arrangement, with the potential for this to increase if the charter is extended. Some 100 new jobs will be created by the programme and up to 400 existing jobs safeguarded.


The ship, based on the VT-built River Class which are currently under charter to the MoD, will replace the RN’s two existing Castle Class offshore patrol vessels and will carry out the role of Falkland Islands Patrol Vessel.


She will be manned and operated by the Royal Navy but VT will be responsible for providing a full Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) service to maintain the vessel so that she is available for sea for more than 300 days a year. By utilising modern automated equipment and commercial maintenance practices, VT will guarantee the availability with a single ship, compared to the two currently needed to provide the same availability.


VT Chief Executive Paul Lester commented: “This contract strengthens VT’s role as a leading provider of PPP/PFI solutions following the success of the River Class programme. The project will utilise excess capacity at our main shipbuilding facility, which already has a healthy order book through the Type 45 programme that stretches over the next four years.”


The ‘Batch 2’ River Class design will be enhanced with a helicopter deck capable of accepting helicopters up to the size of the new Merlin aircraft, increased accommodation to cater for an embarked force, a bigger gun, higher levels of survivability and surveillance radar.

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From http://www.defence-aerospace.com


New £30 Million Royal Navy Warship to be Built in Portsmouth

Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Feb. 25, 2005


On 25 February 2005, the Ministry of Defence awarded the contract to build a brand new warship to VT Group, as production began on another vessel, the third Type 45 Destroyer HMS Diamond, at the Portsmouth shipyard.


The £30 million contract for a new Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) will create 100 new jobs and sustain around 400 posts at VT's shipbuilding facility. The new OPV will patrol waters round the Falkland Islands and is being acquired under an innovative charter and logistic support contract.


Scheduled to enter service in 2007, the new OPV will be the first warship to be launched at Portsmouth since the frigate HMS Andromeda in 1967.


Minister for Defence Procurement, Lord Bach, was at Portsmouth Dockyard on 25 February 2005 to announce the OPV contract award and officially launch production of the third Type 45 Anti-Air Warfare Destroyer, HMS Diamond. Lord Bach said:


"Today is a day of double celebration for Portsmouth and the Royal Navy. Through this contract, VT will build a new Offshore Patrol Vessel in Portsmouth that will ensure our Falklands Island patrol service remains strong and effective for years to come.


"The Type-45 programme meanwhile will provide Britain with the most advanced air destroyer fleet in the world, and it is a pleasure to get work officially underway on the third vessel in the programme, HMS Diamond.


"Today, however, is not just about ships, it is about people. 100 new jobs will be created as a result of the OPV contract and a further 400 sustained. Together with the hundreds already working on the Type 45 contract, this is excellent news for Portsmouth."


The new ship will replace the two Castle Class ships currently employed in the Falkland Island role, HMS Dumbarton Castle and HMS Leeds Castle. Unlike the Castle Class ships, which have to return to the UK every three years for major repairs, the new OPV's greater reliability and more modern design means she will be able to remain in the South Atlantic until 2012 and will save the taxpayer £2 million in support costs over a seven year period.


Weighing in at 1,850 tonnes, the new OPV will have a crew of 34 (compared with 51 for the old Castle class ships) and be armed with a single 30mm gun. She will carry out patrol duties around the Falklands and their dependencies, and is able to accommodate a single helicopter up to Merlin size.


BAE Systems Electronics is the prime contractor for the delivery of the first six Type 45 Destroyers. VT at Portsmouth and BAE Systems Naval Ships in Govan will both build and outfit substantial sections of the ships.


The Type 45 Destroyer will replace the capability currently provided by the Type 42. The first of class ship is planned to enter service later in the decade.


The class is to be known as the 'D' Class. HMS Daring, HMS Dauntless, HMS Diamond, HMS Defender, HMS Dragon and HMS Duncan have been announced as the names of the first six ships.

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