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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:14 pm 
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UK Defence Journal

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‘Build £1 Billion order for support ships in UK’ demands shipbuilders union
By
George Allison -
April 24, 2018

The new Fleet Solid Support ships that are needed to service the UK’s £6.3 billion Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers will go out to full international tender on the 30th April 2018.

GMB research shows that up to 6,700 jobs could be created or secured in the UK if the order went to a domestic shipbuilder – including 1,800 much needed shipyard jobs. A further 4,700 jobs could be secured in the wider supply chain – including in the steel industry.

(...SNIPPED)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:50 pm 
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This is a good exmple of how a purely defence matter becomes a political one. The point of these ships is to provide stores for the fleet (flotilla?) not to provide subsidised jobs. If the UK yards can win a competitive tender then fine, if not then the order should be awarded to somone who can build them more efficiently and cheaper.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:57 am 
It wasn't the first time. The Yorktown and the Enterprise were built using the Public Works Administration budget rather then the Navy's budget as jobs creation projects during the Great Depression.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:11 am 
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DougC wrote:
It wasn't the first time. The Yorktown and the Enterprise were built using the Public Works Administration budget rather then the Navy's budget as jobs creation projects during the Great Depression.


That's fine. But this comes out of the defence budget. That is why the Type 26 frigate will cost more than £1 billion each. You could not buy three of them for the cost of one QE class carrier. I have nothing against job creation and job security but it should not be done at the expense of defence.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:35 am 
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Unless you think maintaining a readily-available domestic shipbuilding capacity is vital to your national defence interests, not beholden to the whimsy of foreign governments and shipyard complications!

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:50 pm 
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Timmy C wrote:
Unless you think maintaining a readily-available domestic shipbuilding capacity is vital to your national defence interests, not beholden to the whimsy of foreign governments and shipyard complications!


That used to be the case Timmy, but how many warships have been built for the RN over the last decade? Now they are building eight Type 26 frigates (apparently the first ship will take nine years before it is fully operational!) and at some point the Type 31 (rather grandly titled "frigate") will be laid down.

It is interesting that there have been no exports for British warships for a very long time. Could it be that they are just too hi-spec for foreign navies? Or are they over priced and tend to break down a lot?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 6:52 am 
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Also for a lot of other navies the building times are extensive - that is likely part of the strategy to sustain the ship building industry, because the work is spread over more time. In addition, new classes has to be tested, which also extends the time until the ship is in service. Compare e.g. USS Freedom (more than three years building time until acquired by the navy, the modules are 13 years after start of her building still not available), USS Zumwalt (nearly five years until commissioned, 2,5 years later still not possible to deploy), the Russian frigate Admiral Gorschkov (at least nine years building time, twelve years after start of her building still not in commission)...

If some of the very few ships built are ordered abroad, the ship building industry shrinks even more or dies completely. Warship building is one of the industries, which only survives if heavily subsidized directly or indirectly. If this is not accepted, ships can be only ordered abroad, which is for sure an option - but an option only very few countries choose.

/edit: The Type 31 is for sure a frigate likely more capable than earlier cheap frigates, e.g. Type 21, Type 81 etc.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:10 am 
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Maxim, what you say is true of course but 9 years to get a relatively small warship in to service seems a bit excessive. It represents at least a quarter of the ship's life.

Subsidising ship building is a fact of life but in the UK it is done at the expense of the navy. The MoD pays the bill from its already shrunken budget. As I said before the first three Type 26 will cost £1,233 Million each. Is that value for money?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:16 pm 
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Sure, at least not as bad as the Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov ;)

For sure these subsidies has to be paid from the budget of the navy - the only user of a warship industry. It is a different topic that some governments claimed to be in favour of a strong state (in regard of security) and military, but are mainly busy in cutting taxes and and thereby undermine the very basis of a functional state - resulting in a lack of money for many parts of the state including the military. And fore sure there is question if a industry (as most of the arms industry), which is mainly financed by the tax payers, should be allowed to make profits for a few.

There are two alternatives:
1.) a common warship building industry with other states similar perhaps to Airbus. But Britain decided to be more independent (Brexit)...
2.) increased exports. But there are a lot of competitors...

And the French way of increasing export should be likely not be copied in the interest of the navy: they sell the ships built for the French navy, e.g. the selling of the FREMM frigate Normandie to Egypt to get the Gowind and Rafale deal. There are reports that additional FREEM frigates will be leased to Greece - again ships of the French navy? The French navy already lacks frigates, because the George Leyques class are over age and anyway 7 George Leygues and 3 Tourville (and perhaps also Aconit?) are replaced by only 6 (!) FREMM (plus two FREDA to replace the 2 Cassard class).

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