New deal to support thousands of UK military boats

Published 10th September 2019.

New deal safeguards more than 100 UK jobs & supports 2,200 British military boats

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The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has signed a new £177 million deal to support thousands of boats used by the UK’s Armed Forces, safeguarding more than 100 jobs.

The Boats In-Service Support (BISS) agreement, negotiated by Defence Equipment and Support, the procurement arm of the MOD, enables spares, repairs and maintenance for 115 different classes of boat – around 2,200 individual watercraft in total.

Boats maintained by the contracts provide essential support to the defence of the UK’s security and interests, including craft which support the Continuous At-Sea Deterrent and the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers.

“The team has delivered world-class, efficient support at the very best value for the taxpayer”

The signing means essential equipment will be ready for use wherever and whenever it is needed.

Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Our armed forces rely on having the finest kit available and this multi-million-pound contract ensures the thousands of vessels used across the entire British military will be maintained and repaired to the exceptionally high levels demanded by our service men and women.”

Contracts signed under the agreement include:

  • Four contracts with BAE Systems worth a total of £112 million to support Royal Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, British Army, Royal Marines, and MOD Police boats, supporting 55 jobs in Portsmouth;
  • Three contracts with Babcock worth a total of £49 million for support to boats based overseas and to training craft, supporting 27 jobs including those in Bristol, Dartmouth in Devon and Gibraltar;
  • A £4.6 million contract with Griffon Hoverwork to support boats used by the Royal Marines, supporting 12 jobs in Southampton;
  • A £4.3 million contract with Holyhead Marine to ensure the continued availability of boats essential to UK submarine operations, including the Continuous At-Sea Deterrent supporting eight jobs in Holyhead and Faslane;
  • Two contracts with Marine Specialised Technology Ltd, worth a total of £7.6 million, to support diving operations and to maintain inflatable craft.

By encouraging competition and bringing together multiple arrangements under one, easier-to-manage agreement, the BISS programme is expected to result in a saving of around £21 million for the taxpayer compared to previous support frameworks.

Defence Equipment and Support Head of Commercially Supported Shipping (CSS) team, David Farmer, said: “These contracts have been awarded after a rigorous competition that drew on in-depth knowledge and understanding of the Boats market-place, particularly here in the UK. The team has delivered world-class, efficient support at the very best value for the taxpayer.

“We will continue to develop our relationships with both our Armed Forces customers and trusted suppliers, to ensure that our boats play their part in helping to keep the UK safe.”

All contracts under BISS will run until March 2026.

Users of MOD-owned boats include the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Cadets, MOD Police and the Gibraltar security services.

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