UK’s Type 45 destroyers to undergo £300M ballistic missile defence upgrade

The UK is set to become the first European nation to operate a Maritime Ballistic Missile Defence capability that can detect and destroy Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles as it commits to a significant upgrade of Britain’s fleet of Royal Navy Type 45 destroyers.

The upgraded defence system, using the ASTER 30 Block 1 missile previously used only in French and Italian land systems, will help UK forces combat the increasing threats posed by anti-ship ballistic missiles at sea by developing the missile into a maritime variant.

The UK Ministry of Defence has placed an initial contract for this work with MBDA which, when delivered, will be worth more than £300 million and support more than 100 jobs across the UK – including highly skilled technology roles in areas such as system design and software engineering in Stevenage, Cowes, Bristol and Bolton.

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£32-m MAUV contract to provide cutting-edge autonomous mine-hunting systems to the Royal Navy awarded

A £32-million contract to provide cutting-edge autonomous mine-hunting systems to the Royal Navy has been awarded to ATLAS ELEKTRONIK UK in Dorset.

Building on ambitions outlined in the Integrated Review, the three sets of Medium Autonomous Underwater Vessel (MAUV) systems will help to ensure Royal Navy personnel can combat the rapidly evolving threat of naval mines. The new technology will also help maintain the freedom of movement for UK ships and submarines when defending the UK at sea.

Creating 50 highly-skilled jobs in the UK and a further 23 jobs across Europe, the contract will enable a significant technological leap for the Royal Navy. The systems will help detect and neutralise mines quickly while being controlled remotely by operators either at sea or on land.

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£38.1 bn to ‘Beef Up’ UK naval fleet

UK Ministry of Defence has published a new update of the “Defence Equipment Plan” which includes a significant increase of budget spending to boost its future naval fleet.

The Ministry of Defence has published its Equipment Plan each year since 2013, setting out its intended investment in equipment and support projects for the next ten years. As part of its global defence policy, the UK has also focused on establishing a balanced equipment program.

Over the next ten-year period, the government plans to invest £238 billion in equipment procurement and support, which represents an increase of £48 billion from last year’s report.

As for the Royal Navy plans, the investment will go up to £38.1 billion, which represents a significant increase compared to £30.6 billion at the end of the previous planning period.

Navy’s new investment is focused on improving the sustainability, lethality and availability of the fleet and delivering a more modern, high-tech and automated navy.

The lethality of the surface fleet will be increased by upgrading the air defence capability, Sea Viper, on Type 45 destroyers.

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British company Babcock wins Polish frigate competition

British firm Babcock International Group has won the Polish frigate competition. Poland has chosen the Type 31 Frigate design, known as ‘Arrowhead 140’, for their future frigate class.

The Type 31 frigate was designed by Babcock International and is also marketed under the name Arrowhead 140. The Babcock design is based on the hull of the Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate but with significant modifications and changes to suit British requirements.

Babcock International has been selected as the platform design provider and technology partner for Poland’s MIECZNIK (Swordfish) new frigate programme and has today concluded a set of strategic cooperation agreements with the PGZ-MIECZNIK Consortium, which is responsible for the delivery of the project from the Polish side.

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Govt refuses to back UK shipbuilding despite Russian invasion

The UK government’s refusal to guarantee UK ships will be built in UK yards in the forthcoming National Shipbuilding Strategy despite Russian vessels bombarding a sovereign European nation has been criticised by GMB in a letter to the Defence Secretary.

The UK Ministry of Defence told the Defence Select Committee it will ‘not provide a guaranteed pipeline of work for UK yards’ when the refreshed Shipbuilding Strategy is published. 

In a letter to Ben Wallace MP, the union urges the Secretary of State for Defence to ‘think again and overturn your department’s damaging policy on this matter.’ 

Gary Smith, GMB General Secretary, said: 

“The timing of the MoD’s refusal to back UK shipbuilding could hardly be worse.

“Defence jobs are being slashed across the board while Russian vessels bombard the shores of a sovereign European nation. 

“The threat of war is not abstract. We are an island nation – our shipbuilding and ship repair sectors are essential to our national security. 

 “We urge the Secretary of State to think a gain and overturn his damaging policy – starting with the Fleet Solid Support competition, worth more than £1.6 billion to the UK economy.”

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We’re going to need a bigger Navy

Today, the Defence Committee published the UK government response to its report “We’re going to need a bigger Navy”.

The Committee’s report called for the Government to expand the fleet, to plug capability gaps, particularly in weapons systems, and to support the British Shipbuilding Industry.

The Government’s response welcomed the Committee’s report and agrees with much of the Committee’s assessment of the strategic environment.

The Government’s response did raise a number of concerns that the Committee will follow up in future evidence sessions and correspondence including:

-The Government has once again rejected decades of consistent recommendations about how to support the British shipbuilding industry by explicitly declining to provide a guaranteed pipeline of work. The Government must urgently publish the National Shipbuilding Strategy refresh and use it to rectify this approach.

-The Government has not considered accelerating the Type 45 Power Improvement Project. In fact the timings make it appear that for at least two of the ships the time taken in PIP is actually being increased to more than 12 months.

-The plans to replace RFA Argus with the Multi Role Support Ships raise further questions. The Government should make clear if RFA Argus’s retirement date will be extended until the dedicated primary casualty receiver MRSS is operational and whether the MRSS will be configured to offer the same level of casualty support as the Argus.

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Royal Navy’s HMS Cutlass fast patrol craft completes initial trials

The vessel is one of two new boats to replace the Gibraltar Squadron Fast Patrol Craft.

The Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron’s first HPB-1900 high-speed patrol craft, HMS Cutlass, has successfully completed initial trials.

Announced by BMT, the trials demonstrated that the patrol boat surpassed the speed requirements and exceeded performance expectations.

BMT is working alongside Marine Specialised Technology Group (MST Group), which was awarded a £9m contract by the UK Ministry of Defence in July 2020.

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Major supplier to Royal Navy set for £2.6BN takeover by US-owned firm

Ultra Electronics Group, a British company serving the defence, security, critical detection and control markets, will be bought by Cobham, owned by the US investment firm Advent. The US-owned firm said the combined company would play a “mission-critical” role in defence and security for the “five eyes” network of intelligence allies – the UK, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Ultra undertakes highly sensitive work providing advanced submarine-hunting sonar, and supplying military programmes including Typhoon fighter jets.

The UK-listed group employs more than 4,600 people across the globe, including about 1,700 in the UK.

Cobham also revealed however Ultra’s energy and forensics divisions – possibly seen as not being part of its core aerospace and defence focused work – could be sold.

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DE&S secure multi-million upgrade for Type 45 destroyers

The Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers will receive a £500-million upgrade to enhance their firepower capability under contracts placed by Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S)

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Port of Tilbury flood defence gates project

WORK is progressing on this project of national importance to install new dual function lock gates on the Thames Estuary in Tilbury.

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