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14 Dec 05. We reported in BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.7 ISSUE 45, 17th November 2005, ‘IT’S THE PANTOMIME SEASON – HAS CVF TEAM BEEN BLACKADDERED?’ about the procession of defence contractors traipsing to the MoD and Parliament lobbying for a share of the CVF Project. The announcement made on Wednesday signified that Labour controlled constituencies in Scotland had been major beneficiaries of the 60% metal-bashing CVF contract announcements. DML, a Conservative/Lib-Dem stronghold was left out of the process, whilst Swann Hunter in key North-East labour territory has already been rewarded handsomely with a hugely embarrassing (to some) £295m up-front payment for its two ships, currently under construction on the Tyne. The company has said that it will bid the remaining 40% available. An element of politicising is evident with the Unions and Voters in these Constituenceis being kept sweet until after the next Election which will see fuether erosion of Labour’s majority and maybe (!!) even a Conservative victory for new Tory leader David Cameron, whose voice sounds uncannily like Peter Mandlseon’s!

BAE remains in the driving seat, with Thales having part of the design work, although it is unclear who is the design lead, with some sources say it is split between hull work and systems.

However, if one drives up the Clyde now, the main sight is one of huge regional regeneration with warehouses being knocked down in favour of smart housing for Glaswegian bankers and lawyers, neither of whom will want a shipyard on their front door. In nay event as BATTLESPACE was told, any ship launch causes a huge bow-wave swell o to the other bank, thus rendering launches impossible in some areas of the Tyne in particular and difficult in the narrow areas of the Yarrow Yard at Scotstoun.

The Scottish Sunday Times reported that Lord Drayson had told BAE that there would be a famine of 120 years after CVF, thus recruiting will be difficult. Is the main thrust of BAE to teun Yarrow and Govan into a Property Play and keep the Barrow Yard and incorporate it into Shipco for all submarine work, leaving VT to run surface ships at Portsmouth and Babcock with CVF work at Rosyth. KBR is rumoured to be for sale, thus is DML being courted by BAE?

John Reid today announced a series of major developments in CVF on Wednesday. Although an extra £300m was provided, no sign of a Main Gate date was given.

He said that:

* The current carrier Alliance team of MoD, BAE Systems, Thales and
KBR, is to be joined by VT Group and Babcock.
* Plans for the construction and assembly of the ships at Alliance members’ yards have been agreed.
* MoD is to spend some £300M to develop the design of the ships to the point at which manufacturing can begin.
* Commitment to some long-lead items for the ships will be made, where necessary, to maintain the programme.
* It is also planned to explore, with the same companies, encompassing in-service support for the new carriers and the existing carriers through to their out of service dates.

He continued:

“These are major steps forward for the future carrier project. Work will now commence on finalising the delta design, which will ultimately provide the UK Armed Forces with the largest and most powerful warships ever constructed in the UK, and an expeditionary capability unparalleled outside of the US. As part of today’s announcement, I am allocating some 60% of the ships’ construction to named UK yards: BAE Systems at Govan and Barrow; VT in Portsmouth and Babcock in Rosyth. I can also confirm final assembly of both carriers will be at Rosyth.”

“At the same time there is a substantial opportunity for the involvement of other UK shipyards in the remaining parts of the build programme that will be open to competition. This could go well beyond traditional shipbuilders since the project will use modern modular production techniques.”

“We will now

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