As part of the Ukrainian Naval Capabilities Enhancement Programme (UNCEP) agreement signed with the UK government in October 2020, Babcock International Group will build at least one, probably two Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FIAC) for Ukraine at their Rosyth facility.
Initial rumours suggested that FIAC based on the Vosper Thornycroft-designed Barzan class vessels could be built in the UK, possibly at the Appledore shipyard. The UNCEP subsequently appointed Babcock as the designated prime industrial partner for Ukraine and they will bring in SMEs to contribute as needed.
Industry sources suggested that BAE Systems, who had inherited the IP for the Barzan design, was willing to donate it on an ‘as seen only’ basis to other UK shipbuilders. However, Babcock assessed the Barzan as unsuitable, not least due to the drawbacks of its aluminium hull.
A former Babcock subsidiary, FBM Marine (acquired in 2000) had a portfolio of small-medium size fast patrol ship designs under the ‘Protector’ brand developed in the late 1990s. A total of eight FIAC will be built for Ukraine will be based on a modified and updated 50-metre Protector design (P50-U).
UNCEP is based on UK Export Finance in the form of a loan to the Ukrainian government and will include British-made equipment where possible and Ukrainian and other foreign content as required.