Page last updated at 13:19 GMT, Monday, 2 March 2009

MoD contract boost for shipyard

Artist's impression of new carrier
The carriers will be the Royal Navy's largest vessels

A North East shipyard has been named as a preferred supplier as part of the 4bn project to build the UK's newest aircraft carriers.

A&P Tyne, at Hebburn, said it could secure jobs for years to come.

A&P and Cammell Laird on Merseyside are bidding to build the large central upper blocks of the two Queen Elizabeth class ships.

BAE's Barrow yard will no longer work on the carriers because of the firm's "submarine programme workloads".

The 280m-long, 65,000 tonne ships will be the Royal Navy's largest vessels, each capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft.

Dave Skentelbery, managing director of A&P North East Businesses, said: "It is not every day you get told you are the preferred supplier for such a large and prestigious contract - it is a reason to thank the customer and celebrate.

'Flexible supplier'

"When the contract starts in 2010 it still leaves significant spare capacity for us to undertake work in the commercial sector, in particular, oil, gas and renewable sectors, which will ensure A&P Tyne remain a diversified and flexible supplier to the maritime world."

Work on HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales is expected to begin in the spring.

BAE's Barrow yard had been earmarked for a share of the MOD contract.

But the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA) - the consortium building the ships - said the firm's existing and future workloads on submarine programmes meant it did not have the capacity to take on additional carrier work.

The team at Barrow would continue to provide engineering support, the ACA said.

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