All is not lost with British shipbuilding


G

Gavin Murphy

Guest
While the news of the demise of Harland and Wolff is not good, there is a bright spot on the British shipbuilding scene. There is a boom on the Tyne and one of the biggest benefactors is Swan Hunter, builders of Carpathia and Mauretania. At one time Swans actually built 20 percent of all the WORLD'S ships.

Swans and other yards on the Tyne are benefitting from military procurement. It recently won a £136m order for 16,000 tonne troop/equipment landing ships and next month comes the big prize, two 50,000 tonne aircraft carriers. Regardless who wins the primary contract, (Swans is not bidding) the yard is expected to get 35 percent of the work. The overall contract is valued at £2.7 billion.

Query: On the subject of shipyards in UK, does anyone have any recent details on the fate of Cammell Laird?

G
 
T

Tom Pappas

Guest
Is it fair to say that military procurement is all that's left for British shipbuilding? Because the government probably requires the ships to be home-built, whilst commercial enterprises can go to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other low-cost providers.

In other words, the industry is being preserved on the backs of British taxpayers.
 
G

Gavin Murphy

Guest
Tom,

Good comments. I think the commerical order book in UK is probably pretty dry. A few crumbs in the way of repair work but that would be about it. Likewise in Canada. Any comments on the USA situation given the Jones Act?

G
 
Jan 5, 2001
2,299
125
258
Are there any figures as to the output of British shipbuilding?

Assuming that the Daily Mirror was correct when it said we had the world's fourth largest navy, then surely that would translate into lots of orders?

Best regards,

Mark.
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
5,045
318
353
Apparently not necessarily orders to British yards. When the Ministry of Defence wanted six big Ro-Ro ships to carry tanks and other vehicles, two were ordered from H & W. The other four will be built in Germany.

See the thread 'End of an Era' for more.
 
Jan 5, 2001
2,299
125
258
That's terrible, Dave. There's little point in having a navy if its built by other countries. I'll check out the other thread. I really can't see how the Government could justify that. How many vessels would the French Navy build abroad?

I only hope that the contract for the two massive 60,000 ton aircraft carriers is awarded to British yards -- that will be a huge boost.

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Jan 5, 2001
2,299
125
258
Looking this up, according to someone from the Ministry of Defence there is a rosy future ahead. I could be cynical and question that, but I won't.

quote:

...The Ministry of Defence keeps British shipbuilding capabilities and capacity under regular review, in consultation with other Government Departments, Trade Unions and representatives of the shipbuilding industry.

UK Shipbuilding yards play a crucial role in supplying warships and major vessels to the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary. As you are no doubt aware, the Strategic Defence Review announced a considerable commitment to the UK Shipbuilding Industry over the next 15-20 years; through major ship programmes, including the Future Aircraft Carrier, the Type 45 Destroyers and the Future Surface Combatant. These programmes provide a secure long-term platform for the UK Shipbuilding Industry to increase its efficiency and effectiveness.

WOW.

Best regards,

Mark.​
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,614
690
483
Easley South Carolina
Why wait until you're old to by cynical Mark? Military construction may be enough to keep some of the larger yards open, but the politicians who control the purse strings are a fickle and unpredictable lot.

The more urgent a military requirement, the more likely they are to drive a stake through it. You're own country has an example by way of CVA-01 back in the 60's which would have replaced the World War Two built aircraft carriers, and would have had the full range of carrier equipment. (Angled deck, arresting gear, catapults, etc.)

Instead, the scheme got axed, and when the old Eagle, Ark Royal, and Hermes were finally replaced, it was with three V/STOL carriers that had to be ordered under the subtrafuge of "through deck cruisers."

It may be just as well, since there would have been the question of what aircraft to operate off the thing. Such stalwarts as the Buccanneer are long gone now. Damned shame to as it was a very capable bomber and at near sea level, was faster then most otherwise supersonic fighters. A lot of replacement programs have taken it in the shorts too, most befor they even got off the drawing board. Seems to me that the very worst enemy both the British aviation and shipbuilding industries have is Her Majesties Government.

So by all means be curmudgeonly and cynical!
wink.gif
 
Jan 5, 2001
2,299
125
258
Hi Mike,

In theory I suppose the more cynical I am, the quicker I will get old.
blush.gif


Having read your post, I can see your point. It seems nearly every naval construction project gets cancelled and/or scaled down. I suspect it is the same everywhere. Aircraft carriers do not win elections, as the public can't see them. The only time that they do come in handy is in time of war, when a country's forces tend to be inadequate no matter how much has been spent on them.

As regards Governments, my main gripe is the matter of getting ships built abroad. The excuse might be that foreign companies might be slightly cheaper -- but surely by supporting your own country's industries then their efficiency improves by means of experience gained, etc. According to a recent figure, the Government bought 40% of British shipbuilding output in 1994, with a defence budget proportionately larger than any European country -- but even so 60% of shipbuilding was commercial rather than military related, and the expansion of shipbuilding industry would have been ensured if *all* naval military contracts were given to British yards. With this expansion and possible improved competitiveness, surely commercial orders could have been gained. The danger might be to get over-reliant on military contracts.

Rather than continuing to moan, I'll be off out.

Best,

Mark.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,614
690
483
Easley South Carolina
By all means moan and throw in with us curmudgeons. At least that way, gross stupidity will never surprise you. What you're proposing requires that politicians use their brains. When was the last time you ever saw that happen?!?!?!
smoke.gif
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
5,045
318
353
Aircraft carriers mightn't win elections, but submarines do, at least when a building project is first announced. The Australian government put a vast sum into building six diesel/electric subs here in South Australia. They have been modified inside and out as all kinds of faults have been found. They are now pretty good and some months ago one 'sank' USS Abraham Lincoln in exercises. The aim of the project was to replace our aging Oberon class subs but also to boost the fortunes of the SA state government.

I wouldn't be surprised if we could have bought or leased a couple of nuclear subs from the USA for the money that's been spent, but we mustn't mention nuclear power, must we!
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,614
690
483
Easley South Carolina
Must be kind of embarrassing for the Abraham Lincoln, but them's the breaks. Can't say as it surprises me though. A diesel boat running on battaries is one of the quietest things in the oceans and if working in the shallows, the local acoustic conditions can make them a cast iron b***h to detect.

More often then not, they kill you befor you have the slightest clue they're even there. This little fact is what makes the U.S. Navy so nervous about the Kilos that Russia has sold to Iran. If the mullahs got a wild hair up their wazoos, they could make an attempted transit into the Persian Gulf really "interesting" for anyone they were laying for.

Look on the bright side Dave, at least your Collins class boats actually surface when you want them too. The Upholders leased by the Canadians have a few problems in that regard. Fortunately for their crews, these issues were identified by way of systems checks befor they put to sea.
 
Jan 5, 2001
2,299
125
258
No, I can't remember when politicians last used their brains. Perhaps they never have. It's an interesting story Dave about those submarines. While we're on the topic, the Australian PM won a competition as our favoured 'import' whereas our PM won it as the favoured 'export.'

I think I heard about those Canadian boats, Mike.

Best,

Mark.
 

Karen Christl

Member
May 3, 2012
37
1
46
mildly off topic but for politicians brains ( or lack of ) i have a nice little story. my 8 year old son said to me that when he grows up, he wants to be a teacher, but if he doesn't get the marks, he wants to be prime minister of australia!! ( i think he's closer to the mark than he thinks). on the subject on harland & wolff closing down, that is so sad & wrong but as said before, when do politicians ever think??
happy.gif
kaz
happy.gif
 
Jan 5, 2001
2,299
125
258
Thanks for those links Mike.

I understand that the order for two massive advanced 60,000-ton super aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy — which will be the largest warships ever built for the British Navy — has been confirmed, with a British firm winning the lion’s share of the deal. It’s sad that some of the work had to go abroad at all, but nevertheless 120,000 tons worth of shipping is a pretty decent output for British shipbuilders — that’s more than Olympic and Titanic in terms of an approximate 52,000-ton loaded displacement.

I wonder if Harlands will benefit from some of the work, or design process? I know several Barrow yards are expecting orders for parts -- is it too much to hope Lairds will be involved?

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Jan 5, 2001
2,299
125
258
BAE Systems was the company, as I understood from the lunchtime news. They might be Britain's top defence contractor.

I must confess to not paying as much attention as I usually do (something about doing some writing for a deadline
wink.gif
)

If all naval orders were placed with British companies and spending not cut, shipbuilding here would be doing much better. I suspect the same might be true for America?

Best regards,

Mark.
 

Similar threads

Similar threads