Cammell Laird awarded ‘preferred bidder status’ on aircraft carrier contract
Resurgent Birkenhead shipyard Cammell Laird has today, Monday March 2, been named a preferred bidder for a huge multi million pound contract to build the flight decks on two new aircraft carriers for the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD).
The announcement is being made by Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA) which is responsible for delivering the Queen Elizabeth class ships to time and cost. The ACA has adjusted its plans for the manufacture of the 65,000 tonne ships in order to meet the MOD’s budget requirements. The adjustment is in keeping with the outcome of the MOD’s Equipment Examination of late 2008 and the decision to re-schedule delivery of the two carriers.
As part of the ACA’s announcement it is awarding Cammell Laird and Tyneside based shipyard A & P ‘preferred bidder status’ to construct the large central blocks, or flights decks, of the carriers worth £150m.
Cammell Laird chief executive John Syvret said the announcement is a tremendous boost for the yard and it would now enter commercial discussions to finalise the deal.
“This shipyard has an immensely proud history of building Royal Navy aircraft carriers including two Ark Royals,” he said. “Being awarded preferred bidder status is a major endorsement of the skills and expertise we have worked so hard to rebuild here over the last eight years. If we do win this contract it will safeguard and generate jobs for local people and work for local businesses.”
Mr Syvret said it plans to use its giant shipbuilding hall, which is the biggest of its kind in Europe, to work on the aircraft carrier projects.
The aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will be the largest ships ever built for the Royal Navy, nearly three times the size of the current Invincible-class carriers.
Cammell Laird’s current workload is split around 50-50 between MOD and commercial sector work. The yard is actively seeking to grow the business in the international commercial market targeting North America, Scandinavia and the Gulf of Mexico for ship conversion, refit and repair work.