New RN Aircraft Carriers

fred henderson
21st September 2005, 12:59
It is reported that the proposed new aircraft carriers have reached 65% design maturity, with about 6 months to go to the current target date for Government approval to start production. The new carriers are designed to be able to generate 360 aircraft sorties in a five day period, compared with 50 to 60 sorties from the ships of the Invincible class in the same period.
The baseline planning assumption since 2003 has been that fully fitted major block construction will be shared by BAE - Govan, Swan Hunter - Tyneside and VT - Portsmouth. These blocks will then be joined together and the ships completed by Babcock - Rosyth.
Jane's Defence Weekly has now reported: -
"However, in view of severe management and performance shortcomings identified at Swan Hunter in relation to the current Bay-class Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary) programme, there is now an expectation that the Tyneside yard's role will be reduced to one of steelwork contractor.
As a consequence, BAE Systems Submarines at Barrow-in-Furness is instead expected to play a more significant role in the block building programme."
Oh dear! I wonder who passed that observation to the technical press? It looks as though the old emnities between the British shipyards are still continuing.


21st September 2005, 13:53
The British Shipyards are not what they were, the sites might be the same, but the man power is greatly reduced, at Barrow there are on about 3000 employes against 14000 in the late 80s. The government swing from yard to yard on performance figure, T45 was to be built at Barrow, but due to poor performance on Wave Knight and Albion this work was switched to Scotstoun. Now BAE Barrow is performing better on the delayed Astute submarine program, and the early delivery of Bulwark has meant a swing in their favour, while the LSD(A) problems on the Tyne are well documented. Sitting here in BAE Barrow, there is little rivalry between ourselve's and other yards, just a will to ensure long term employment in our chosen field.

Ian Rae
26th September 2005, 16:11
Being ex- Swan Hunter (& now in Scotstoun) myself, it has to be said that since the real Swan Hunter went down the tubes in 1993, and the expertise that was there being scattered to the four winds. The new company under that name have struggled to maintain the standards expected with the manpower they were able assemble.
It is no surprise that they will be left in the cold, once the Government do eventually get round to the next phase of detailed design.

26th September 2005, 16:24

Barra was a regular port of call for us in Alex Towing and it was an amazing sight when that whistle went at knocking off time at Vickers. How many people could they cram into those work shops.

As you say all these contracts are now down to performance indicators and they do not really appreciate quality of work these days, as long it is there on time ready for use.

Many happy memories of Barra, the Engineers Club, The Navy Club, and many others. Called in there with the family whilst on holiday in the lakes and how the place has changed.



26th September 2005, 16:26
It was a premier division team at Swans that built and fitted out Norfolk, Bristol, Newcastle, Glasgow, Exeter, Illustrious and Ark Royal, but taking it out of the family in 77 was the beginning of the demise.