A Tyneside shipyard has played a role in building part of the Royal Navy’s latest fleet of anti-submarine frigates. Hebburn’s A&P Tyne has built four parts, known as ‘lower units’, of HMS Belfast, which is being constructed at BAE System’s yards in Govan, Scotland. The ship is the third of a fleet of eight Type 26 frigates which have been designed to protect the UK’s nuclear deterrent and new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers from hostile submarines.
Business Live is reporting that, the sister company Cammell Laird, which operates one of Europe’s largest construction halls on the Mersey is building units for the fourth ship in the fleet, and will join the units together. The first of the Type 26 ships – described as the Royal Navy’s “workhorse” – is expected to go into service later this decade.
A&P said the work was the latest in a “hugely productive history” of collaboration with BAE Systems, having contributed to the build of the Astute and Dreadnought Class Submarines, manufactured parts of Her Majesty’s QEC Class Aircraft Carriers and delivered the Type 45 Power Improvement Project.
Steve Jones, managing director at A&P Tyne said: “A&P Tyne has completed block build units for some of the most significant ship building projects in recent time – including the Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carriers, the RRS Sir David Attenborough and units for both the Astute and Dreadnought class submarines. A&P Tyne is delighted to have delivered units for Ship No3, HMS Belfast, of the Type 26 frigates and build on our collaboration with BAE Systems.
“We are also proud to be supporting our colleagues at Cammell Laird by sharing vital experience and knowledge from the build of Ship 3. This vital knowledge has added significant efficiencies to Cammell Laird’s delivery of units for Ship No4, HMS Birmingham.”
David McGinley, chief executive officer at A&P Group and Cammell Laird, said: “We have a proud track record when it comes to partnership working and delivering projects of vital national importance. Our commitment to the armed forces and our defence capabilities lies at the heart of our business and everything we do.”
Apprentices from both A&P and Cammell Laird have been working on the project. Mr McGinley added: “We’re fiercely and unashamedly proud to be able to play even a small role in the lives of the communities in which we’re based. And because this is the next generation of Royal Navy vessel, it’s only fitting that the next generation of our workforce should be working on it.”
In accounts published earlier this year, A&P said it had seen strong revenues towards the end of 2022 at its Tyne operation where there had been more use of its dock facilities and larger contracts from new and existing customers, albeit at lower margins. The firm saw a 7% rise in turnover to £94.3m thanks to returning customers.