Birkenhead shipyard builds network of more than 2,000 potential suppliers as it looks to persuade the MoD of the benefits if its Leander frigate, developed with partner BAE Systems. Tony McDonough reports
Birkenhead shipyard and engineering firm Cammell Laird is lining up a fresh bid to build the UK’s next generation of naval frigates after the Ministry of Defence (MoD) revived its stalled £1.25bn project.
And Cammell Laird said on Monday it had built a network of more than 2,000 potential suppliers as its put forward its Leander frigate, a joint venture with defence giant BAE Systems, as the ideal solution for the Royal Navy’s requirements.
The company unveiled its original bid earlier this year but, earlier in the summer, the MoD put the plan to build five new frigates on hold due to what its says was insufficient interest from industry. However, it was also reported that the Government had failed to budget for the project.
Now in it latest statement, the MoD has said: “We have relaunched discussions with industry for our new Type 31e fleet, and this week issued a Prior Information Notice to ensure we do not lose any momentum.
“We remain committed to a cutting-edge Royal Navy fleet of at least 19 frigates and destroyers, and the first batch of five new Type 31e ships will bolster our modern navy.”
Last week Cammell Laird unveiled its new website promoting the Leander and stated its intention to sell the vessel to other navies across the world. Now, however, the main focus will switch back to the UK contract.
The business has a strong recent track record with Government shipbuilding contracts. It delivered a £44m contract to build the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and is putting the finishing touches to the £200m RRS Sir David Attenborough, a specialist polar research vessel for the British Antarctic Survey.
During the original process the firm held two supplier conferences in February and March which brought a huge response. More than 2,000 suppliers have registered so far with five new ones signing up ever week.
Tony Graham, Cammell Laird Leander project director, said there were still opportunities for interested parties to join the T31e supplier list.
He said: “While our supplier list is already extensive as we select suppliers for the five Royal Navy frigates, BAE Systems has also had strong interest from other countries, so we are keen to hear from more companies that believe they could be part of the Leander success story.”
Businesses interested in joining the Leander supply chain should fill in a registration form on the Leander website www.leanderfrigate.com