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BBC Scotland's Alan Mackay reports
"The Yarrow yard has a long history of shipbuilding"
 real 28k

Westminster correspondent David Porter
"There is optimism in the Scottish shipbuilding industry"
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Tuesday, 23 November, 1999, 20:41 GMT
Clyde yard lands destroyer order
Yard worker The contracts could secure 2,700 jobs

A Clydeside shipyard has won a contract to build the first of 12 new destroyers for the Royal Navy in a move which could secure 2,700 jobs.

The Ministry of Defence has named Marconi Electronic Systems as the prime contractor for the new Type 45 warships.

The announcement by the MoD will bring valuable work to the former Yarrows yard at Scotstoun, now known as Marconi Marine.

A total of 12 Type 45 warships are to be built at a total cost of 6bn and Marconi Marine is hoping to land more of the order in the future.

The full contracts will be awarded at the end of next year.

Aircraft carriers

In a separate award, contracts to assess options for two new aircraft carriers to replace the existing Invincible class have been placed with consortia led by British Aerospace Land and Sea Systems and Thomson-CSF NCS.

GEC crane Some work could go to the Govan yard
This could bring work to the Kvaerner Govan yard in Glasgow, which was bought by GEC Marconi - another part of the Marconi group - after protracted negotiations earlier this year.

Final contracts for the aircraft carriers will not be awarded for another four years.

The combined value of the Type 45 and carrier contracts awarded on Tuesday is a potential 100m.

Defence Minister Baroness Symons said: "The contracts we have signed chart the way ahead for two programmes which are of huge significance for the Royal Navy's capability to respond flexibly to the challenges we will face in the 21st century.

'World leader'

"Both programmes will also bring significant benefit to the UK shipbuilding industry, securing existing jobs and providing a significant number of new jobs well into the next Millennium.

"The Type 45, due to enter service from 2007, will be a world leader among air defence warships."

The announcement was welcomed by Scottish secretary Dr John Reid.

He said: "Shipbuilding, particularly in the defence industry, is a very competitive industry and the people who work in it in Scotland know that. But this is another bug step forward.

"Work on the future aircraft carrier is still in its infancy, but I hope that the opportunity will exist in the future for the considerable shipbuilding skills that exist on the Clyde to contribute to this exciting development for the UK's Navy."

Jim Moohan of the GMB union, which represents the majority of workers at the Marconi Marine yard, said the announcement was "excellent news".

"The fact workers will both design and build the first ship means they stand a very good chance of securing more of the further orders," he said.

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See also:
13 Apr 99 |  Business
'Blood and sweat' of the River Clyde
20 Sep 99 |  Scotland
MSPs urged to back yard contract bid
11 Aug 99 |  The Company File
Hopes dashed for Kvaerner workers
14 Jul 99 |  The Company File
Kvaerner workers applaud union officials
25 Jun 99 |  The Company File
Gloom over yard sale delay

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