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The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones
"The defence secretary was stressing the impact on employment"
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BBC Scotland Westminster correspondent David Porter
"BAe Systems' Scottish yards will play a major part in creating the new ships"
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Tuesday, 11 July, 2000, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK
Warships order protects jobs
Type 45 graphic
A graphic of how the Type 45 will look
Up to 5,500 jobs will be sustained in the UK's defence industry with the construction of three new Type 45 destroyers for the Royal Navy.

The announcement of the 1bn order by Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has been particularly welcomed by unions representing shipyard workers in Glasgow.

BAE Systems is the prime contractor for the work. It will build the first and third vessels at its Scotstoun and Govan yards on the River Clyde. The first is to be known as Daring.

The second destroyer, called Dauntless, will be built by Vosper Thornycroft, which is based in Southampton although some of the assembly work could also take place at Portsmouth naval base.

Geoff Hoon
Geoff Hoon: "Delighted" to make announcement
In a statement to the Commons, Mr Hoon stressed that the ships would be built by a new "modular" system. Different parts of the vessels could be built by different yards across the UK before being brought together for construction.

It will be up to the main contractors to decide which yard will build the various parts.

The Type 45 destroyers are the first in a planned series of 12, and an order for a second batch is expected in 2004. Total cost of the project is estimated at 6bn..

The Type 45, due to enter service from 2007, replaces the Type 42 and will provide the backbone of the Royal Navy's air defences for the next 50 years.

15-year opportunity

It will be able to protect itself and other ships from sophisticated missiles and be able to go close to shore to protect British forces engaged in battles from air attacks.

BAE Systems Marine said the contract for the first vessel would provide work for about 1,500 people. The longer-term programme would provide the opportunity to compete for contracts over a period of 15 years.

Managing director Dr Bob Rigby described Mr Hoon's announcement as "excellent news".

Ship missiles
Type 45s will guard against missiles
He said it was a tribute to the performance of the Scotstoun workers who built the Type 23 frigate.

Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union general secretary Sir Ken Jackson said the order was a "major boost" for UK shipbuilding.

"We have campaigned very hard for this work and the government has listened," he added.

The union's Scottish secretary Danny Carrigan said: "The order is a major jobs boost, safeguarding thousands of jobs for up to 10 years.

"It's a great tribute to the skills of the workers on the Clyde."

Reid reaction

BAE Systems is the parent company of Marconi Marine, which now runs the former Yarrow's yard at Scotstoun. The Govan yard was bought by BAE Systems from Kvaerner.

Scottish Secretary Dr John Reid said: "This is excellent news for BAE Systems at Scotstoun who have been working hard on the development of this new ship for the navy.

"I am delighted that their hard work will now be translated into a firm order."

The workforce at Govan are still waiting to hear the outcome of their bid to build six roll-on, roll-off ferries for the Ministry of Defence.

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See also:

10 Jul 00 | Scotland
Byers' shipyards summit
05 Jul 00 | Scotland
Campaigners mount final Govan effort
23 Nov 99 | Scotland
Clyde yard lands destroyer order
13 Apr 99 | Business
'Blood and sweat' of the River Clyde
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