The UK’s world-renowned shipbuilding industry is being revitalised through a refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy.

Over £4 billion of government investment is galvanising and supporting shipyards and suppliers across the UK, with new measures including better access to finance, vital skills-building, and funding for crucial research and development into greener vessels and infrastructure.

The shipbuilding industry currently supports 42,600 jobs across the UK and contributed £2.8 billion to the economy in 2020.

Defence Secretary and Shipbuilding Lead Ben Wallace said:

As Shipbuilding Tsar… this is an exciting time to be involved in the sector.

With significant government investment, we will be levelling-up across our shipbuilding, workforce, from shipyard to supplier, from procurement to designer, creating tens of thousands of new employment opportunities, boosting living standards and pay.

Our refreshed strategy will see the sector galvanised at a crucial time for our economy and see a vital part of British industry expand and flourish.

First published in 2017, the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSbS) outlined ambitions to transform naval procurement, securing export and design contracts for British naval ships.

Building on that success, a refresh in 2022 outlines the Government’s further ambitions to reinvigorate the whole British shipbuilding industry contributing to its levelling up mission to boost productivity, pay, jobs and living standards.

Designed in partnership with industry and delivered by the recently formed National Shipbuilding Office (NSO), the NSbS Refresh will also deliver a pipeline of more than 150 new naval and civil vessels for the UK Government and Devolved Administrations over the next 30 years. The vessels will include large warships, Border Force cutters, lighthouse vessels and the new National Flagship.

Encouraging further investment and development, the refreshed strategy sets out a clear vision for the prosperous future of the UK’s shipbuilding industry, helping ‘Build Back Better’ and supporting the government’s drive to level up all parts of the UK.

An ambitious pipeline of naval vessels including Fleet Solid Support (FSS), Type 26 and Type 31 ships, will bolster the Royal Navy whilst providing opportunities for UK shipyards. Encouraging investment in domestic shipyards, the pipeline seeks to maximise the social value contribution shipbuilding can make in the UK whilst balancing the need to deliver value for money and solutions that fully meet the requirements of the Royal Navy.

The strategy also includes a range of interventions from across Government to support the sector. A new Home Shipbuilding Credit Guarantee Scheme (HSCGS) will give UK shipyards access to finance for underwriting domestic contracts. This will level the playing field with competitors’ export credit guarantees and ensure UK shipbuilders have a fairer chance of securing valuable contracts.

The Department for Transport will invest £206 million in the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK-SHORE) to fund research and development in zero emission vessels and infrastructure and ensure our place as global leader in green technology. UK-SHORE will help to tackle barriers to investment in clean maritime technologies, including investment in port infrastructure. It also includes a multi-year version of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition which ran last year and provided funding to consortia right across the UK.

The NSbS Refresh will also establish a new UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce, led by the Department for Education. The taskforce will work with industry and training providers across the UK to identify and address skills gaps, ensuring the UK continues to develop and nurture future-focused skills and knowledge to help our shipbuilders deliver world-class vessels.

With the shipbuilding supply chain spread across all parts of the UK, the taskforce will work jointly with the Devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure shipbuilders and the wider supply chain can access the skills they need.

A new Maritime Capability Campaign Office (MCCO) within the Department for International Trade will coordinate export support across government and industry. The MCCO will use robust analysis to improve our understanding about global markets, helping maritime suppliers to win export orders and increase UK market share.

This refreshed NSbS moves beyond the Ministry of Defence’s commitment to double its shipbuilding investment over the life of this Parliament to over £1.7 billion a year – supported as part of the £24 billion increase in Defence spending over the next four years. This will continue to support jobs and skills around the UK.

This week (6th October 2022) Babcock International Group, the defence company, has been awarded the contract to deliver, install and provide in-service support for Ardent Wolf, the maritime Communications Electronic Support Measures (CESM) capability for the UK Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates.

The six-year programme draws upon our people’s unique knowledge of CESM and Babcock’s role as the Royal Navy’s principal support partner for the Type 23 fleet.

The contract will involve equipment installation, repair and maintenance, system and design safety, contractor logistics support, training, and all updates.

Babcock’s agile solution establishes a framework that can be applied to current, and future platforms, with the aim of providing increased safety for Royal Navy crews. The new system replaces the outgoing Hammerhead, which Babcock has been supporting for the past six years and will help to ensure a low-risk transition.  

Dr Richard Drake, Chief Technology Officer at Babcock, said:

“Babcock has a rich history of delivering specialist Communications support to the Royal Navy’s fleet and we are delighted to have been awarded the contract to deliver Ardent Wolf.

“Ardent Wolf will significantly enhance the Royal Navy’s CESM capability, and we’re proud to be delivering a robust, UK-developed solution which will act as a pathfinder for future Signal Intelligence programmes.”

To read the 2022 National Shipbuilding Strategy click here.

1 COMMENT

  1. All very nice but Pallion Engineering covered shipyard is sitting empty because Greek owners and Sunderland Council want to turn it into a shipbuilding museum and houses. There is employment there for generations of locals do why do you not have a facility to compulsorily take this plant over and put it to work for Great Britain?

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