Work on new ships due to start as soon as work is confirmed
Hundreds of jobs at Rosyth are expected to be safeguarded with the award of a £1.25 billion frigate contract to Babcock International.
The Ministry of Defence was said to be close to confirming the order for five Type 31e Frigates for the Royal Navy.
Babcock was announced as the preferred bidder for the work in September.
And the UK Defence Journal reported yesterday the contract, worth £250m per ship, had been awarded. It added the news had driven up the engineering giant’s share prices.
Babcock had previously warned that 450 jobs could be lost at the Fife yard - where the new frigates will be assembled - if it did not get the work.
Around 2,500 shipbuilding jobs are expected to be safeguarded across the UK.
Detailed design work will start as soon as the contract is confirmed with manufacture beginning in 2021 and the first of the vessels scheduled to be in the water by 2023.
The Type 31 is a smaller, cheaper frigate than the Type 26 warships currently being built at the Upper Clyde shipyards.
The vessels will be fitted with the world-leading Sea Ceptor missile system, a range of highly advanced weapon and sensor systems and a combat system with a 4D air and surface surveillance and target indication radar. They will also operate with a Merlin or Wildcat helicopter.
Babcock has said its design of frigate, known as the Arrowhead 140, was value for money and built on the knowledge and expertise developed during the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier programme, which saw four companies across seven shipyards take part in the construction, with the final assembly taking place at Rosyth.
When preferred bidder status was announced, Babcock chief executive Archie Bethel said: “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.
“Arrowhead 140 will offer the Royal Navy a new class of ship with a proven ability to deliver a range of peacekeeping, humanitarian and warfighting capabilities whilst offering communities and supply chains throughout the UK a wide range of economic and employment opportunities.”
Babcock’s principal competitor for the frigate contract was BAE Systems, which owns the Scotstoun and Govan shipyards on the Clyde.
The hope is the low price tag on the ships will attract interest and orders from foreign navies .