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Trinidad and Tobago: better at contracts with BAE than the UK?

#1
BAE Systems Gets Notice Of Cancellation For Trinidad, Tobago OPV Job

We are cr@p. A third world Caribbean island with some gas to protect orders 3 OPVs from BAE at a significantly large cost. BAE go over time and budget, T&T cancels contract AND will get its money back.

This is not the first time this has happened to BAE - Royal Brunei Navy said no to its OPVs.

Would some one from Abbey Wood please get sent to learn from small foreign countries how not to get screwed by the defence industry.

Is it worth a bet on how soon an admiral soon to retire (and get a job with BAE) will re-write doctrine on Littoral operations identifying a capability gap of smaller vessels similar to OPVs and a rather expensive contract will get signed to "adapt" these "off the peg" vessels to the climatic and operational conditions unique to the British Isles, which will come in late and over budget without any money back guarantee........
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#2
BAE Systems Gets Notice Of Cancellation For Trinidad, Tobago OPV Job

We are cr@p. A third world Caribbean island with some gas to protect orders 3 OPVs from BAE at a significantly large cost. BAE go over time and budget, T&T cancels contract AND will get its money back.

This is not the first time this has happened to BAE - Royal Brunei Navy said no to its OPVs.

Would some one from Abbey Wood please get sent to learn from small foreign countries how not to get screwed by the defence industry.

Is it worth a bet on how soon an admiral soon to retire (and get a job with BAE) will re-write doctrine on Littoral operations identifying a capability gap of smaller vessels similar to OPVs and a rather expensive contract will get signed to "adapt" these "off the peg" vessels to the climatic and operational conditions unique to the British Isles, which will come in late and over budget without any money back guarantee........
Yeoman Dai is working on it even now...
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
The original contract was with VT Shipbuilding prior to BAE's takeover. I'm not sure why T&T are trying to cancel, since the first of class is currently being accepted, according to the news report. There's more to this than just a failure to deliver. If you need the capability then you grumble, whinge and charge damages, but you don't cancel the contract. You'er not getting alternative ships from anywhere else quickly. I suspect T&T want out of the contract because they can't afford it any more and are using the delays to justify it.

As to RN need - unlikely with SDSR, but they are based on the very successful River class patrol ships so I suspect BAE won't take long to find another buyer.

.
 
#4
I strongly suspect one of the factors at play here is a customer who can find their own backside without the aid of a tracker dog and both hands; does not bombard the supplier with unnecessary changes; uses properly qualified and experienced staff for commercial discussions and can write a fit for purpose requirements specification. I can't defend the fuckups I've seen in the defence industry, but there was always a bigger pile of mistakes on the MoD side that needed burying that we could use to get away with it.

And before the inevitable chorus from MoD civvies telling me how hard they work I know that, no-one's denying your dedication or effort. It's just that you're ill-trained, underpaid (read: not good enough to get paid a lot more in industry) and following processes that bear no relation to project success. Indeed, follow the process and fail and you get promoted, buck the system and succeed and you get marked down.
 
#5
Interesting, I'd agree there is more to this than meets the eye. This is quite a damning result for the UK - this was the biggest ever defence contract placed by T&T, so for the UK to feck it up in this way will have an impact on our relations with them.

The sensible question is whether the T&T ever needed vessels this size, or whether there was some alterior motive in play? Not knowing anything about local politics, it might be worth asking if theres been a change of Govt or politicians which may point to why they decided to cancel it.

Saying it costs too much is always a good 'get out of jail card', but BAE has fought before on problems with ships (look at the Bruneian frigates contract), so I'm surprised they've rolled over so easily on this one. Something else might well be going on.

As for future use - good ships to a good design and if picked up cheaply by the RN, could be used as a 'quick win' in the post SDSR environment of Fox saying we need more smaller cheaper and less complex ships to provide a presence.
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
T&T do have a major drugs smuggling problem so the requirement was there. There is soemthing distinctly odd about all this.

I can't see the RN buying them - they have enough small ships that can be used for patrol duties and rumour is that some of them are due to go. I wonder if Babcock have a signature on their contract for OPV's with the Irish navy yet?

The Brunei ships are a red herring - BAE delivered to spec. It was the brunei Navy that ballsed it up - they couldn't/wouldn't provide sufficient trained people to operate them and, despite having ordered them, failed to grow the size of their navy to accomodate the need for more people to man bigger ships. It's quite telling talking to the BAE trials staff about the attitudes of the Brunei Navy compared to the Malaysians who were taking over similar ships at a similar time. Apparently they had to fight the Malaysian observers off the equipment during factory trails but had to force the Bruneians to get hands-on during the customer acceptance trials. Whether HMG should have connived in persuading the Sultan to buy something they probably didn't really need is another matter, but it seemed to be quite successful in Saudi.
 
#8
And there is another aspect to this. If T&T cancel its no skin off their nose. If the MoD cancel is bye bye Scotstoun, Barrow, Portsmouth; take your pick. Defence procurement is as much about jobs in marginal constituencies as about anything else.
 
#9
T&T do have a major drugs smuggling problem so the requirement was there. There is soemthing distinctly odd about all this.

I can't see the RN buying them - they have enough small ships that can be used for patrol duties and rumour is that some of them are due to go. I wonder if Babcock have a signature on their contract for OPV's with the Irish navy yet?

The Brunei ships are a red herring - BAE delivered to spec. It was the brunei Navy that ballsed it up - they couldn't/wouldn't provide sufficient trained people to operate them and, despite having ordered them, failed to grow the size of their navy to accomodate the need for more people to man bigger ships. It's quite telling talking to the BAE trials staff about the attitudes of the Brunei Navy compared to the Malaysians who were taking over similar ships at a similar time. Apparently they had to fight the Malaysian observers off the equipment during factory trails but had to force the Bruneians to get hands-on during the customer acceptance trials. Whether HMG should have connived in persuading the Sultan to buy something they probably didn't really need is another matter, but it seemed to be quite successful in Saudi.
Have you actually seen the Naghoda Ragam et al ? I am informed by people who've seen them but do not work for BAE that they contain a wide variety of faults and design deficiencies such that they serve as a very useful guide as to what not to do. Not that this has ever stopped deliveries, I suspect reality is a lot murkier than either side lets on.
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
Have you actually seen the Naghoda Ragam et al ? I am informed by people who've seen them but do not work for BAE that they contain a wide variety of faults and design deficiencies such that they serve as a very useful guide as to what not to do. Not that this has ever stopped deliveries, I suspect reality is a lot murkier than either side lets on.
The gun/missile/radar/EO trainer inteface was a right pain to sort out (too many companies, no single prime) but eventually worked. The main reason they haven't been sold seems to be interior deckhead heights - designed for shorter Brunei people - the lack of a hanger (otherwise the Malaysians would probably have had them) and now, 12 years on, obsolescence in the main systems. There were also export issues with seawolf for a long time. The ships pack a lot of capability and technical innovation into a smallish hull, but the Bruneians specified their fit, not BAE.

There was a suggestion in the late 90's, briefly looked at, that BAE might deliver the ships themsleves. I was in the frame to go as a watchkeeper so had a wander round. They looked pretty good to me. I don't work for BAE and I don't like being an apologist for them, but they get a bad press and they're an easy target. Contractual failures are generally not one sided and, as One Of The Strange points out, MOD is not the "intelligent customer" it likes to think it is.
 
#12
To be fair to Big And Expensive. This is shaping up to be a rerun of the Canadian EH/AW101 purchase. Where the cost has become a political football and the new cabinet has invested so much time in slagging the buy off while in opposition that they really don't want to admit they actually need them and sure as hell don't want to pay for them.
 
#13
BAE Systems Gets Notice Of Cancellation For Trinidad, Tobago OPV Job

We are cr@p. A third world Caribbean island with some gas to protect orders 3 OPVs from BAE at a significantly large cost. BAE go over time and budget, T&T cancels contract AND will get its money back.

This is not the first time this has happened to BAE - Royal Brunei Navy said no to its OPVs.

Would some one from Abbey Wood please get sent to learn from small foreign countries how not to get screwed by the defence industry.

Is it worth a bet on how soon an admiral soon to retire (and get a job with BAE) will re-write doctrine on Littoral operations identifying a capability gap of smaller vessels similar to OPVs and a rather expensive contract will get signed to "adapt" these "off the peg" vessels to the climatic and operational conditions unique to the British Isles, which will come in late and over budget without any money back guarantee........
Chaps,

Surely the main point is:

The company will seek to engage in commercial discussions with GORTT to find an equitable settlement.

That is to say BAe will persuade T&T to take them at a discount. Everybody wins. Trebles all round.
 
#14
Chaps,

Surely the main point is:

The company will seek to engage in commercial discussions with GORTT to find an equitable settlement.


That is to say BAe will persuade T&T to take them at a discount. Everybody wins. Trebles all round.
I'm not sure what makes me more chuffed - that I've raised an erudite enough question to attract Ashie's scrawlings or that he seems to advocate private enterprise/defence contractors turning a profit?
 
#15
re MOD They managed to make accuracy international spend a lot of money on gin and paracetamol with the new sniper rilfe buy by asking stupid questions querying spec and apprantly having a policy of not letting anyone who had ever fired anysort of weapon or even played a video game anywhere near the project.
Quite an achievement considering the ministry of defence employs people who support the military so you'd presume some where they could access someobdy who knows something about a rifle.
this is addmitidly 3rd hand from somebody who works for AI
 
#16
Ireland is the perfect choice for these,but have signed a contract with babcock for two new ships,but we have quite a few ships up for retirement

what's the chance BAE would do a lease/purchase deal like the RN got on the river class?
 
#17
The original contract was with VT Shipbuilding prior to BAE's takeover. I'm not sure why T&T are trying to cancel, since the first of class is currently being accepted, according to the news report. There's more to this than just a failure to deliver. If you need the capability then you grumble, whinge and charge damages, but you don't cancel the contract. You'er not getting alternative ships from anywhere else quickly. I suspect T&T want out of the contract because they can't afford it any more and are using the delays to justify it.



As to RN need - unlikely with SDSR, but they are based on the very successful River class patrol ships so I suspect BAE won't take long to find another buyer.

.
Apart from cost overruns and delays, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago cancelled the contracts because there were many defects and design flaws that made the OPV deals sour. It was discovered that the electrical and instrumentation systems was a failure, there were evidence of corrosion and water leakage in many areas. People would not spend their money on a brand new DEFECTIVE car. The new TT Government wanted the OPVs asap but not defective boats. The TT Government is looking elsewhere for OPVs such as the US, Canada or China. Apart from Asphalt, Gas and Oil, Trinidad and Tobago has a diverse economy and it is the Richest Country Per Capita in the Caribbean and South America. The TT Government Could buy 10 OPVs in China or Russia for that price.
 
#18
T & T does have some significant gas reserves however and BP is one of the companies involved.
Trinidad and Tobago has the protection of the United States, TT just needs the OPVs to fight the drug trade that is en route to the UK. The country has enough gas to last a lifetime, a huge Oil reserve
for a rainy day and a diverse tangible economy that market its products and services to South America and the Caribbean. TT is the Singapore of South America.
 
#19
Apart from cost overruns and delays, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago cancelled the contracts because there were many defects and design flaws that made the OPV deals sour. It was discovered that the electrical and instrumentation systems was a failure, there were evidence of corrosion and water leakage in many areas. People would not spend their money on a brand new DEFECTIVE car.
Thanks for sharing the official T&T goverment line. What's the truth?

Cause frankly, how three ships built in construction sheds, (ie indoors) and two of which have been in the water less than three months, can allegedly develop serious salt-water corrosion issues in such a short time is a mystery to me.

Hmm, T&T writing checks it couldn't cash perhaps? Bring OPV Report « Trinidad and Tobago News Blog

The reality is, this is a repeat of the fiasco Germany and Greece had over the U214s. T&T is broke and the new government doesn't want to pay for a deal done by a previous goverment that it opposed. All these claims of faults is political spin to justify the cancellation.
 
#20
Ireland is the perfect choice for these,but have signed a contract with babcock for two new ships,but we have quite a few ships up for retirement

what's the chance BAE would do a lease/purchase deal like the RN got on the river class?
Next to none. Ireland's broke and can't afford them. Maybe in a decade or so but not now.
 

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