MoD STATEMENT ON MARITIME CHANGE PROGRAMME
By John Reed, BATTLESPACE Industry Editor
07 May 09. Under the Maritime Change Programme (MCP) a series of changes has been announced which see the UK’s three naval bases continue to play a vital role in ensuring the Royal Navy has the right build and support infrastructure across the country. John Reed, our Industry Editor offers his views on the changes.
The programme was undertaken in response to the Naval Base Review to ensure that the Navy has the best infrastructure in place to support its ships, submarines and new aircraft carriers to ensure the Service remains a formidable and effective maritime force.
The MCP reveals that HM Naval Base Clyde will become the main operating base for all classes of submarines, including the future classes of submarines, such as the replacement for the Vanguard Class, and eight Sandown Class Mine Countermeasures Vessels. Fleet Time Engineering (FTE) support for these vessels will also be undertaken at Clyde.
As previously announced, HM Naval Base Portsmouth will be the home port for the new Type 45 destroyers and the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers.
HM Naval Base Devonport will be the main operating base for amphibious shipping, survey and hydrographic vessels, for the Type 22 frigates and, for at least the next five years, for seven of the Type 23 frigates.
Devonport will also continue to provide world class sea training through Flag Officer Sea Training and will undertake FTE support for base-ported ships and for visiting sea training vessels. Devonport will retain and, subject to commercial negotiations, enhance its position as the centre of excellence for surface ship and submarine deep maintenance activity.
Work will also look carefully at the nature of the less complex Future Surface Combatant variants and consider the optimal base-porting arrangements for these vessels, taking account of similarities within existing classes.
This work will help determine whether there is a case to change the base-porting of the seven Type 23 frigates at Devonport. If decisions are taken to move the Type 23 frigates, there will be no base-porting changes before 2014.
Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth said:
“Each of our naval bases has a strong future under the plans we have laid out today. We have undertaken an extensive review to ensure that we match the infrastructure in place at the naval bases to the needs of the Royal Navy of the future.
“The review has identified changes that will align the way in which we provide that support, reducing overheads and excess infrastructure by developing the specialisations at each of the bases – and we’re confident these changes will lead to savings of several hundreds of millions of pounds.
“We hope that today’s announcement provides clarity and removes uncertainty for our people, our industrial partners and the wider community. We are committed to giving our Service personnel adequate notice of any relocation, therefore no base-porting changes will take place for five years.”
Vice Admiral Andy Mathews, Chief of Materiel Fleet at MOD Defence Equipment and Support, said:
“We need to optimise the support provided in all three naval bases to meet the Royal Navy’s current and future operational needs. We are working closely with our industrial partners to develop plans that will ensure stability for naval personnel, civil servants, our industrial partners and for the broader communities, while delivering the best value for money for defence.”
As part of the announcement, an update has also been provided on the ISOLUS (Interim Storage of Laid-Up Submarines) Project, which is the work underway to develop the solution for the dismantling and recycling of our nuclear submarines.
This work continues to make good progress and further research, assessments and consultation will be undertaken before any final recommendations are made. The Department remains on track to undertak