Sir John Parker's National Shipbuilding Strategy

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
#1
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa...ipbuilding_Strategy_report-FINAL-20161103.pdf

Of course the actual strategy will be the MoD's response to his proposals, due in the spring.

Makes for interesting reading though.

In particular a Keynesian argument that the current £1.4 billion spent (2014-15) actually results in £1.5 billion value added to UK industry and maintains 25,000 jobs in those awful places that aren't London. Indeed he advocates £200m more spent and asks that the actual economic benefits are weighed without even a glance at military necessity or capability.

The T31e should be optimised and configurable primarily for export. Andrew would operate them but should be willing to have them sold from under their feet. He goes as far as to suggest that a couple of hulls should be 'for but not withs' which could therefore be a configurable shop window.

Individual blocks a la aircraft carrier alliance should be parcelled out for serial and parallel construction at UK shipyards, also that BaeS should not be left with two frigate programmes due to increased risk.

Basically the Venator 110 catalogue with some management structure and speak as far as I can tell.
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
£5 says both your £5s won't be worth £5 in 2030.
 
#7
I commented in the T26 thread a while back that BAE was taking the piss. They had the government over a barrel on pricing and my view was that either the government nationalised the maritime arm (rarely a good thing), or they allowed rival contractors to bid for programmes. It seems the report came to the same conclusion.

I do have two questions though:

1) will BAE be part of the T31 "Alliance"?
2) What meaningful work is intended for the Clyde yards after T26?

I worry that without a drumbeat of ship build and new designs (T45 replacement?), we might see the same thing that happened with Astute (and with the USN surface ship orders) repeat itself.
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
1) will BAE be part of the T31 "Alliance"?
Certainly in part. It mentions that only BAE could fit the combat system, which is I imagine proprietary. Also design support and could bid for blocks if they have spare capacity.

He doesn't explicitly say that BAEs takes the piss, but it's the impression you are left with. Which does make you wonder whether they'd be competitive for blocks or outfitting.

2) What meaningful work is intended for the Clyde yards after T26?
Type 45 replacement maybe? No mention of future programs other than the next 30 years of warship construction should be mapped out.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
Parker's begging bowl letter.

I imagine he has enough intelligence to realise that the UK's strategic needs are not like anybody else's and is therefore being cynical in asking for an 'export' frigate which by definition will be no use to us.
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
But a stretched River would meet our strategic needs?

Optimistically a few export orders might mean what we are offered something less crap, certainly cheaper.

Do requirements for export and our own really differ that much? Surely they'd be likely to be operating in someone else's back yard more often than not?
 
#11
Certainly in part. It mentions that only BAE could fit the combat system, which is I imagine proprietary. Also design support and could bid for blocks if they have spare capacity.

He doesn't explicitly say that BAEs takes the piss, but it's the impression you are left with. Which does make you wonder whether they'd be competitive for blocks or outfitting.



Type 45 replacement maybe? No mention of future programs other than the next 30 years of warship construction should be mapped out.
Thanks. Any idea about the OSD for the T45? They are new ships but I agree the programme looks a bit thin after T26.

Perhaps we should take a leaf from the French book and start selling/scrapping relatively new ships to keep yards viable and design skills current? There seems to be a pretty large market out there for second hand warships.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#12
Rivers are not pukka warships. They are only fit for 'constabulary' tasks. The RN has been had before with cheapos that were not fit for purpose - Types 14 & 21 come to mind.
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
#13
That's basically what he recommends..

Establish the economical life of a warship and sell them to build new. No expensive refits, after which we tend to scrap ships anyway it appears.

Or sell from existing ships or the order book for OPVs or Type 31s.

Bit like the French did with their FREMM that went to Egypt despite the crew training on her.

Rivers are not pukka warships. They are only fit for 'constabulary' tasks. The RN has been had before with cheapos that were not fit for purpose - Types 14 & 21 come to mind.
Well that was BAEs offering for the Type 31, either that or one of the Omani Corvettes that was based upon the River.

Would they even have the capacity to build those until their work on the Type 26s finishes?
 
#14
£5 says both your £5s won't be worth £5 in 2030.
5 quid says that if I took the bet and lost, you wouldn't see my arrse for dust - assuming I was still breathing.
 
#15
The argument seems to be that the RN needs to stop striving for the 100% solution on everything, and accept a 90% a solution. That extra 10% can easily double the cost.

We're in the same trap the Germans got in with their Tiger tanks. They could destroy 4 Sherman's for the cost of one Tiger, but a Tiger cost 6 times more.


T26 will cost well north of £1 Billion each. It's unaffordable to bu frigates at that cost that will spend 95% of their time doing exactly the same work a £400 million frigate will do. We're buying Rolls Royces to go to the shops.

T 31 Vs T26?
Cut down version of the same sonar
Cut down version of the same combat system
Same radar
Same gun
Same AAW missile with less silos
Space for a smaller Mk41 VLS

You'd want the T26 for guarding the carriers with its extra capacity, but for most tasks, a T31 is plenty good enough.
 
#17
I commented in the T26 thread a while back that BAE was taking the p1ss. They had the government over a barrel on pricing and my view was that either the government nationalised the maritime arm (rarely a good thing), or they allowed rival contractors to bid for programmes. It seems the report came to the same conclusion.

I do have two questions though:

1) will BAE be part of the T31 "Alliance"?
2) What meaningful work is intended for the Clyde yards after T26?

I worry that without a drumbeat of ship build and new designs (T45 replacement?), we might see the same thing that happened with Astute (and with the USN surface ship orders) repeat itself.
While far from perfect, the issue is not BAES taking the p1ss. Although that's what the "experts in ship design and shipbuilding" in NCHQ believe, which appears to have been a driving force behind this report.

Consider this. Between 2004 and 2007 BAES and VT were forced by Gordon Brown and Lord Drayson to merge their operations under threat of no carrier order (incidentally doing great damage to the future RN budget by postponing the decision repeatedly). The final ToBA agreement mandated BAES to maintain a complex warship building capability - the quid pro quo being that BAE would rationalise facilities and MoD would provide adequate work for the remainder - the adequate work assumed to be T26.

What actually happened was that MoD/RN and BAES - both are complicit - threw hundreds of bodies at T26 requirementeering, design and process, spent all the Assessment Phase money - again both complicit - and then discovered that they had to rejig elements of the design. This was because having made a major change in the arrangement, but with the RN forbidding a wholesale redesign of the ship, the BAES team had to try and work with one hand tied behind their back and no money. The resultant delay also pushed up the price The price is artificially high because the RN have specified a delivery drumbeat (matched to a spend profile), which is insufficient to maintain the skill base on the Clyde (which BAES are required to do under ToBA), hence there are more manhours in the job than there need to be - a lot more. Which has inflated the cost and which the "experts in ship design and shipbuilding" (dabbers to a man) in NCHQ have translated into "it costs too much because it's much bigger than a T23 and it's all BAES fault". They have subsequently lined up to give BAES a kicking, whereas Sir Johns report clearly identifies lack of pace and too many cooks as a major factor in the current impasse. Not that the press have picked up on this, because strangely, it wasn't highlighted in the MoD press release.

So I have a deal of sympathy with BAES who have by and large done what they were asked. It's just that MoD/RN don't like the answer and are now trying to change the rules.

Were I the BAES head shed I'd be looking very hard at two options :

1. Kick all the sustainability elements out of T26 price and in doing so, hope to water down the implementation of SJPs conclusions.
2. Call MoDs bluff and announce mass redundancies / closure of the Clyde yards as soon as current OPV contracts are delivered. Take the pain now, rather than suffer a prolonged kicking over several years.

I would not be surprised to see variants of both happen over the next few months.

That's not to say BAES are perfect - far from it - they are way too process driven and are weak in several areas. But they are not Beelzebub here.
 
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#18
@Not a Boffin thanks for the context. Given your explanation, then it seems the primary issue with the T26 pricing (shifting requirements, not enough orders etc) won't be fixed by having competitors bid?

In an ideal world, surely the prime contractors should be the ones submitting designed based on basic specs listed in an RFP and then the MoD selects from the options provided, a la Canada? Having the contractor, the MoD and the Navy involved from the start in speccing the ships seems to be a recipe for disaster.
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
One does wonder just how many ways it is possible to mess up procurement.

And what the current score is.
 

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