BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships

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BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships
Type Private
Industry Defence
Marine engineering
Predecessor(s) BAE Systems Surface Fleet Solutions
VT Shipbuilding
Founded 1 July 2008 (as BVT Surface Fleet)[1][2]
Headquarters Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Key people Sir John Parker – Chairman (2008–2009)[3]
Alan Johnston CBE – CEO (2008–2011)[3]
Michael Ord – managing director (2011–Present)
Products Naval vessels
Services Ship design
Ship support
Revenue £1.12 Billion (FY 2008/09)[4]
Operating income £45 Million[5]
Total assets £352 Million[5]
Employees Approximately 7,000
Parent BAE Systems
BAE Systems Maritime

BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships is a wholly owned subsidiary company of BAE Systems plc, specialising in naval surface shipbuilding and combat systems integration. One of three divisions of BAE Systems Maritime, along with BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines and BAE Systems Maritime – Maritime Services, it is the largest shipbuilding company in the United Kingdom, one of the largest shipbuilders in Europe, and one of the world's largest builders of complex warships.[6]

It was originally formed as a joint stock subsidiary on 1 July 2008, with the merger of BAE Systems Surface Fleet Solutions and VT Shipbuilding, creating a new firm named BVT Surface Fleet. The new firm incorporated the BAE Systems Surface Fleet Solutions operated shipyards at Scotstoun and Govan on the River Clyde in Glasgow and the VT Shipbuilding facilities within the Naval Base at Portsmouth.

BAE Systems subsequently acquired VT Group's share of the joint venture on 30 October 2009 and renamed the business BAE Systems Surface Ships Ltd.

On 1 January 2011, BAE Systems Surface Ships was operationally integrated with BAE Systems Submarine Solutions to form BAE Systems Maritime. On 1 January 2012, BAE Systems Surface Ships was formally restructured and rebranded as BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships and BAE Systems Maritime – Maritime Services, the former incorporating the shipbuilding operations and combat systems development and the latter in-service support.[7]


Defence Industrial Strategy[edit]

The Ministry of Defence's (MOD) 2005 Defence Industrial Strategy encouraged BAE and VT Group to form a naval shipbuilding joint venture with the aim of maintaining the UK's naval shipbuilding capability in the long-term. In return, during 2008, the MOD signed a Terms of Business Agreement which pledged that the vast majority of its future naval orders will be placed with the new company for 15 years.[8][9]

Explaining the rationale for the joint venture from VT Group's perspective, its CEO Paul Lester described shipbuilding as a "lumpy" business, dependent on large contracts placed at irregular intervals. Another issue was the competition between VT and BAE: "We don't want to get into a dogfight with BAE over who would be the survivor... That's what you'd be talking about at some stage."[9]

BAE and VT concluded the merger discussions in early 2008, however creation of BVT Surface Fleet was conditional on the signing of contracts for the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.[10] Following the Ministry of Defence's announcement on 20 May 2008 that it intended to proceed with the manufacturing stage of the project, BAE announced its intention to finalise the joint venture arrangements with VT Group.[11] This was completed on 11 June 2008 and, following VT Group shareholder approval on 30 June, the joint venture became operational on 1 July.[2][3]

The logo of the former BVT joint venture from July 2008 to September 2009, when BAE Systems bought VT Group's share of the joint venture.

BAE Systems and VT Group owned 55% and 45% of the company respectively, however they had equal board representation and voting rights.[12]

In return, VT Group acquired BAE System's 50% share in their other joint venture company Flagship Training, now known as VT Flagship. BVT Surface Fleet subsumed another BAE/VT joint venture, Fleet Support Limited, a ship repair, maintenance and marine engineering company, based within HMNB Portsmouth.

The new 15-year Terms of Business Agreement with the Ministry of Defence did result in some controversy however. On 30 June 2009, a BVT memo was leaked which suggested that two of the company's three shipyards could be closed following completion of Queen Elizabeth class carrier construction.[13][14] In response to the leak, BVT said the memo was "worst-case scenario planning" and that it continues to invest in the future of all its yards. However a MOD spokesman said "[the MOD] had to look at the consequences of reduced demand for navy shipbuilding."[14]


Launch of a Nakhoda Ragam class corvette from the covered berths at BAE's Scotstoun Shipyard in Glasgow.

BAE Systems Surface Fleet Solutions owned two shipyards on the River Clyde in Glasgow: Scotstoun (formerly Yarrow Shipbuilders Ltd) and Govan (formerly Kvaerner Govan, Govan Shipbuilders, Upper Clyde Shipbuilders and Fairfields), shipyards that have a corporate heritage extending back as far as 1834. VT Shipbuilding (formerly Vosper Thornycroft) owned shipbuilding facilities completed in 2003 within HMNB Portsmouth and a boatyard, VT Halmatic, in Portchester. These facilities were transferred to BVT Surface Fleet, although the VT Halmatic yard was subsequently sold to Trafalgar Wharf, with the Halmatic Small Boats Centre of Excellence moving to a new facility in Portsmouth Naval Base.

BAE Systems Surface Fleet Solutions also operated an additional project management centre at Filton in Bristol, situated close to key stakeholders at MoD Abbey Wood, which was transferred to BVT. The BAE Systems Submarine Solutions Shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness was not included in the joint venture, although since January 2011 Submarines and Surface Ships were operationally integrated under BAE Systems Maritime.

Exit by VT Group[edit]

At the time of BVT's creation, VT Group was expected to eventually sell its minority share to BAE Systems through a put option, but not within three years.[15][16][17] However on 28 January 2009 VT Group announced its intention to sell its share.[18] VT Group's put option valued its share at a minimum of £380 million subject to conditions; however it received £346 million after various payments to BAE. In addition, VT Group agreed to pay £43 million compensation to BVT for cost overruns on contracts with Trinidad & Tobago and Oman that BVT had inherited from VT Shipbuilding. VT Group's net proceeds from the sale of its share in BVT to BAE Systems were therefore £303 million.[19]

Products and Services[edit]

Construction of prefabricated module blocks of Type 45 destroyer, HMS Dauntless, at BAE's Portsmouth Shipbuilding hall.
The last of class Type 45 Destroyer hull under final assembly, prior to launch, at the BAE Shipyard in Govan, Glasgow, 2010. The Govan Shipyard is the company's primary facility for steel fabrication.
Launch of HMS Daring at Scotstoun in 2006. BAE and VT collaborated on the Type 45 class prior to the creation of the BVT Surface Fleet joint venture in 2008.
Three Type 45 Destroyers undergoing outfitting at the Scotstoun Shipyard's dry dock complex in 2008. Scotstoun is the company's primary centre for the outfitting, testing and commissioning of complex warships.

Aircraft carriers and Amphibious assault ships[edit]

BAE Systems Maritime is undertaking a majority of the workload for the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. As part of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, Thales and Babcock are also involved in the project.[20] The company's shipyards have previously had experience of constructing large Amphibious assault ships, including the Ocean class LPH, the Albion class LPD and the Bay class LSD(A)s.


BAE's three shipyards all build sections of the Type 45 destroyer, which was previously built as a collaboration between BAE and VT Group. As of March 2013 Daring, Dauntless, Diamond, Dragon, Defender and Duncan have all entered service with the Royal Navy. The first of class entered service in May 2009.

BAE is studying the UXV Combatant concept based on a destroyer hull for the operation of unmanned land, air and sea systems.[21]

Frigates and Corvettes[edit]

BAE Systems Maritime inherited the £400 million Khareef class Corvette project from VT Group, which will see three 99m ships delivered to the Royal Navy of Oman by the end of 2012.[22]

BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships' yards have also delivered the following in the recent past:

Design work is currently underway on the Type 26 frigate project for the Royal Navy, as part of the wider Global Combat Ship programme, which will eventually replace the Type 23 frigates currently in service.

Offshore Patrol Vessels and Fast Attack Craft[edit]

The company completed three Port of Spain class OPVs for the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force in 2010. After the contract was cancelled by the Trinidad & Tobago government in September 2010, these vessels were subsequently contracted for delivery to the Brazilian Navy in January 2012. A technology transfer agreement with Bangkok Dock to build a similar 90m OPV, HTMS Krabi, for the Royal Thai Navy was agreed in June 2009.[23]

BAE Systems Maritime also has a technology transfer agreement in place with Elefsis Shipyards for the construction of the Roussen class Fast Attack Craft for the Hellenic Navy, which are based on the Barzan (Vita) class FACs currently in service with the Qatar Armed Forces; itself based upon Vosper Thornycroft's 56m patrol craft built for the Royal Navy of Oman and the Kenya Navy.

VT Shipbuilding was previously responsible for the construction of the River class patrol vessel for the Royal Navy, with through-life maintenance the ongoing responsibility of BAE Systems Maritime; the result of an innovative contractual arrangement in which the company continues to own the four vessels of the class and leases them to the UK Ministry of Defence.


BAE was initially part of a consortium bidding for the Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) programme, which was to see up to 6 Replenishment at Sea tankers built for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. BAE was partnered with BMT Defence Services and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering – the eventual winners – for the project, but subsequently withdrew from the consortium before the final round.[24]

BAE Systems had previously been prime contractor on the Wave class tanker programme for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Halmatic Small Boats[edit]

BAE Systems Maritime – Maritime Services operates ship repair and refit facilities within Portsmouth Naval Base.

BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships' capabilities also extend to Mine countermeasures vessels (The Sandown class in service with the Royal Navy, Royal Saudi Navy and Estonian Navy), prime contracting on Hydrographic survey vessels such as the Echo class, Scott class and the design and production of the smaller Halmatic range of boats such as Landing Craft, Rigid-hulled inflatable boats and Rigid buoyant boats. These products include the Lifespan Patrol Vessel, Rigid Raider, Mk 6 Assault Boat and Combat Support Boat types currently in service with the British Armed Forces and other Navies, such as the Jordanian Royal Naval Force and the Republic of Singapore Navy.[25]

Support Services[edit]

BAE Systems Maritime's Support services include Supply chain management and Logistics support. The BAE subsidiary BAE Systems Maritime – Maritime Services provides through life maintenance, ship repair and drydock refit services for naval and merchant vessels.

Past projects have included the reactivation of the Upholder class, now reactivated as the Victoria Class submarines for the Canadian Forces Maritime Command. It has also refitted two ex-Royal Navy Type 22 (Batch 2) frigates for the Romanian Naval Forces and a similar programme for the Chilean Navy involving the refurbishment of three ex-Royal Navy Type 23 frigates.

In July 2009, BVT Surface Fleet established the Gulf Logistics and Naval Support joint venture with Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding, to provide in-region maritime support services for CCASG member states.

Panoramic view of BAE Systems Scotstoun in December 2010, with HMS Dragon on the left preparing for sea trials.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Warship deal takes a step closer". BBC News (BBC). 1 July 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "BVT Surface Fleet Joint Venture becomes operational" (Press release). BAE Systems plc. 30 June 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c Jameson, Angela (11 June 2008). "VT Group and BAE Systems agree merger to build warships". The Times (London: Times Newspapers). Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  4. ^ BAE Systems – Warship Business Gives Boost to UK Economy
  5. ^ a b BAE & VT Group Finalize, then Dissolve, UK Surface Ship JV
  6. ^ The Scotsman- VT makes its final shipyard departure with £300m sale
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ O'Connell, Dominic (29 July 2007). "UK naval yards get 15-year jobs vow". Sunday Times (Times Newspapers). p. 2. 
  9. ^ a b Webb, Tim (16 December 2007). "Abandon ships and sail on: As VT Group and BAE Systems merge shipbuilding arms, the US army and the BBC will occupy Paul Lester". The Observer (London: Guardian Newspapers). p. 7. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  10. ^ Barker, Alex; Pfeifer, Sylvia (21 February 2008). "Navy's aircraft carriers face delay". Financial Times. p. 2. 
  11. ^ "BAE Systems welcomes the MOD carrier announcement" (Press release). BAE Systems plc. 20 May 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  12. ^ "VT Group and BAE Systems to create a world-class provider of naval ships and through life support" (Press release). VT Group plc. 25 July 2007. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  13. ^ Bolger, Andrew (2 July 2009). "Move to ease fears of shipyard closures". Financial Times. Retrieved 4 July 2009. 
  14. ^ a b "Two navy shipyards 'could close'". BBC News. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2009. 
  15. ^ Griggs, Tom (14 November 2007). "VT Group confident of contract wins". Financial Times. p. 23. 
  16. ^ O'Connell, Dominic (16 December 2007). "Ceasefire in battle of the naval dockyards". Sunday Times (Times Newspapers). p. 13. 
  17. ^ "BAE Systems announces agreement with VT Group". BAE Systems plc. 25 July 2007. Retrieved 28 January 2009. 
  18. ^ Sandle, Paul; Hepher, Tim (28 January 2008). "VT Group to sell stake in shipbuilding JV to BAE". The Guardian (London: Guardian Newspapers). Reuters. Retrieved 28 January 2009. [dead link]
  19. ^ Buck, Jonathan. "VT Group Seals Deal To Sell BVT Stake To BAE Systems". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 25 September 2009. [dead link]
  20. ^ "CVF – Royal Navy Future Aircraft Carrier, United Kingdom". SPG Media Limited. 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  21. ^ BVT Surface Fleet – Destroyers
  22. ^ Scott, Richard (24 January 2007). "VT clinches Khareef OPV deal with Oman". Janes Defence Weekly (The New York Times Company). 
  23. ^ BVT wins Thailand design contract
  24. ^ "BAE Systems to partner with BMT and DSME for MARS fleet tankers" (Press release). BAE Systems plc. 15 February 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  25. ^ "BVT Surface Fleet – Products". BVT Surface Fleet. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 

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