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July 19, 2004

UK carriers

The assessment phase of UK carrier procurement has been extended through next spring. With delivery dates of 2012 and 2015, and at an estimated 4bn, I begin to wonder if sourcing the two carriers in the United States begins to make sense given a price tag in the range of next generation CVN-77 supercarriers. I say this as someone who is very sympathetic both to BAE Systems Marine and the logic of maintaining strategic capacity to build these monsters in the UK. At some point the cost has to be weighed even against this last consideration particularly given American claims to reduced crew complement and life cycle costs of their new ships.

An aside in the Telegraph's article is intriguing given my own work on business partnering in UK defense, civil engineering and construction. Taylor Woodrow and Tarmac are both likely candidates for such an alliance agreement and I look forward to seeing what happens next.

Last week Alex Dorrian, the chief executive of Thales's UK operations, said the French group and BAE had agreed in principle to an MoD-led alliance in which the two companies would work with the ministry to oversee the project. The alliance could bring in a third company, possibly a construction group familiar with alliance agreements, which are common in offshore oil and gas exploration projects.

The Telegraph also reports UK's next generation of unmanned reconnaissance planes is likely to be sourced with Thales, the French defence contractor partnered with BAE on the carrier project.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at July 19, 2004 08:23 AM

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