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BAE SYSTEMS announces its future carrier strategy

26 Jun 2002

BAE Systems today announced its strategy for the design and build of Future Carrier, the Heart of the UK's Future Force Projection Capability. Chris Geoghegan, BAE Systems Chief Operating Officer and Nigel Stewart, Managing Director of the BAE Systems Future Carrier Team, gave a full overview of the BAE Systems team's proposals and strategy for the design, engineering, build and through-life support of the Royal Navy's two new Future Carriers.

BAE Systems has assembled a unique team to deliver the Future Carrier capability to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) - Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, , AMS, Vosper Thornycroft, Rolls-Royce, Babcock BES, Strachan & Henshaw, Fleet Support Ltd., QinetiQ, BAE Systems Marine and Swan Hunter.

Team Commonality with partners Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Vosper Thornycroft and Rolls-Royce across other force projection elements - such as the Type 45 Anti-Air Warfare Destroyer, the Joint Combat Aircraft (the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter) and a possible Maritime Airborne Surveillance and Control (MASC) solution - brings the benefits of synergies, efficiencies, familiarity in working relationships, and confidence in the sharing of confidential data.

BAE Systems is working closely with its Future Carrier partners to bring creativity and innovation into the design of the carriers. This includes innovative hull and island designs, as well as systems such as automated weapons and munitions handling. Innovation also includes the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components and the application of technology from other programmes, such as the Type 45 Destroyer and from other industries, such as commercial aviation and commercial shipbuilding. This innovative approach ensures that the solutions chosen add real value for money through life.

Nigel Stewart, Managing Director of the BAE Systems Future Carrier team said: "We have invested heavily in prime contracting in the UK over recent years. Through experience and learning we have created a solid foundation on which to build, giving us a unique blend of skills, knowledge, and innovative thinking to be able to deliver successfully the Future Carrier project. Building on this, Future Carrier will provide new levels of skills and knowledge which will help us to grow our export base, essential to protecting the long term future of our industry."

The integration of Future Carrier with its associated force projection elements is central to the BAE Systems approach. The recent reorganisation of the company has established the C4ISR division, concentrating on systems architectures both within a platform and between platforms. The C4ISR division, along with AMS, is playing a key role within the team developing integrated solutions and capabilities for the Future Carrier.

Chris Geoghegan, BAE Systems Chief Operating Officer said: "Future Carrier is a defence procurement of the highest political significance, key to the UK's overall defence infrastructure. It must be integrated in command, control and interoperability terms with a variety of other platforms. Consequently, the BAE Systems approach sets Future Carrier in the broader context of an integrated Force Projection system and a coherent industrial strategy. This will provide the best value for money for the UK and is in the best interests for our country in the long term."

The BAE Systems Future Carrier team benefits from a wide range of aviation expertise, both from within its own Air Systems business, and from partners Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. It has assembled a unique ship / aviation interface team of experts with deep knowledge and experience of UK operations and culture, together with United States Navy carrier experience. With its additional aircraft design and build experience, the team has a unique bank of aviation know-how.

To develop a yard-endorsed design and build strategy, BAE Systems has established an integrated shipbuilding team, with partners Vosper Thornycroft of Portsmouth, Swan Hunter of Newcastle, Babcock BES of Rosyth and BAE Systems Marine of Barrow-in-Furness and the Clyde.

In addition, Northrop Grumman brings significant experience in the design and build of aircraft carriers, through their work on similar programmes for the United States government through both its Ship Systems and Newport News Shipbuilding businesses.

A key aim of the teaming is to develop a coherent industrial strategy for the whole of the UK warship building industry to support future domestic and export business. Such a strategy is already being developed on the BAE Systems Type 45 D Class Destroyer programme and should continue to evolve through Future Carrier and subsequent UK and export programmes.

The partner shipyards are working with the BAE Systems Future Carrier team to optimise their potential involvement, with regard to capacity, resources and skill base. Studies of individual facilities are being produced and will be submitted to the team shortly.

The planned modular, multi-yard build strategy means that the integrated team is working together to produce a plan which constructs blocks as large self contained commissionable units, using best practice from the shipbuilding and other industries.

The yards involved will build fully outfitted modules, using advanced outfitting techniques to minimise cost and optimise programme adherence. These modules will be assembled to form blocks, which will then be joined at a separate final assembly facility, yet to be decided. Studies are already being undertaken into the transportation of the blocks between facilities to determine the most effective way to achieve this.

Nigel Stewart commented: "We are working closely with all our partners to develop and deliver a highly capable and affordable Future Carrier solution for the UK. To support this, we are working in close partnership with the Defence Procurement Agency's Integrated Project Team and developing the key relationships that we are confident will mature into a full partnering culture as the Assessment Phase evolves".

Jim Stark of Northrop Grumman said: "We are working closely with the BAE Systems team to develop a world-class solution for the UK's new Future Carriers. We are drawing in experts from all parts of our business with experience on Aircraft Carrier design and build as well as aircraft integration and maritime aircraft operations."

Andrew Bunney, Managing Director of Vosper Thornycroft Shipbuilding Ltd said: "Vosper Thornycroft has got a lot to offer the Future Carrier programme in terms of design, build and support capability. We are working closely with all the other partners - it is a case of close collaboration in a competitive environment!"

David Price, Managing Director - Naval Marine, Rolls-Royce: "We look forward to supporting BAE Systems as a power and platform systems partners, providing both equipment and long-term through-life support."

About Future Carrier:

Future Carrier (designated CVF) is the project to design and build two carrier vessels that will form the heart of the UK's future force projection capability, to enter service in 2012 and 2015. The future aircraft carriers will enhance the UK's ability to mount joint operations on the world stage and will cope with increasingly heavy and more flexible operational demands.

* The primary role of the Future Carrier is to support aircraft, including the Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) and Maritime Airborne Surveillance and Control (MASC)
* The Future Carrier must have the capability to deploy and operate aircraft effectively overseas without host nation support in a hostile environment
* They will be joint defence assets providing increased utility in maritime, land and air operations in both civilian assistance and warfighting roles

Primary characteristics:

Displacement: around 50,000 tonnes
Complement: 600 crew, with embarked squadron and Command staffs up to 1400 personnel
Propulsion: Not nuclear - a range of options is being considered, including Integrated Full Electric Propulsion (IFEP)
In Service Date: 2012 and 2015 for CVF01 and CVF02
Armament: Will deploy the Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA)
Budget: Approximately 2.9 billion initial acquisition and 7 billion through life.

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