Rosyth jobs boost as yard wins frigate contract

A Fife dockyard has been handed a lifeline after being awarded a huge contract to build five new warships.
An artist's impression of the new Type 31 Frigate. Picture: BabcockAn artist's impression of the new Type 31 Frigate. Picture: Babcock
An artist's impression of the new Type 31 Frigate. Picture: Babcock

Babcock’s Rosyth yard will be the central point for the work to build the new Type 31 Frigates, with some of the process being taken up by other yards around the UK.

There had been fears over jobs at the yard, with the completion of the two Queen Elizabeth class carriers meaning a lack of available work.

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However, today’s announcement comes as a boost for jobs in the area.

The average production of each ship is thought to be around £250m, with the first ship scheduled for launch in 2023.

With Babcock’s Rosyth facility as the central integration site, it aims to build on the knowledge and expertise developed during the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier programme.

The announcement follows a competitive design phase where Babcock Team 31 was chosen alongside two other consortia to respond to the UK MOD’s requirements.

Work on the fleet of five ships will begin immediately following formal contract award later this financial year, with detailed design work to start now and manufacture commencing in 2021 and concluding in 2027.

Archie Bethel, CEO Babcock said: “It has been a tough competition and we are absolutely delighted that Arrowhead 140 has been recognised as offering the best design, build and delivery solution for the UK’s Royal Navy Type 31 frigates.

“Driven by innovation and backed by experience and heritage, Arrowhead 140 is a modern warship that will meet the maritime threats of today and tomorrow, with British ingenuity and engineering at its core. It provides a flexible, adaptable platform that delivers value for money and supports the UK’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.”

Unite the Union today welcomed the announcement, and Bob MacGregor, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “Unite is delighted that Rosyth will perform a leading role in the construction of the new Type31e frigates for the Royal Navy. This will secure hundreds of jobs for well over a decade. The contract award is recognition of the highly-skilled workforce based at Rosyth and their dedication to making the yard a success.

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“There will be substantial benefits to the wider Fife economy through the supply-chain and also for the next generation of young people looking at the opportunities for apprenticeships.

“We look forward to playing our role in making this project a success for Rosyth and the Scottish economy.”

Claire Baker MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife also welcomed the news.

She said: “This is a very welcome announcement and great news for the workforce in Rosyth, whose skills are rightfully recognised with this contract award.

“Securing contracts like this ensures a continuing flow of work as well as the potential to create additional local employment opportunities, giving a real boost to the area.”

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