Contracts have been awarded to support and maintain hundreds of high-speed rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and other small boats for the UK’s Royal Navy.

BAE Systems also manufactures and maintains load carrying workboats and sea boats

BAE Systems also manufactures and maintains load carrying workboats and sea boats

The contracts have been awarded to BAE Systems under the Boats in Service Support (BISS) contract, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) recently announced.

Four individual contracts valued at up to £112 million form part of the wider MOD BISS agreement. Over six-and-a-half years, the contracts will help sustain existing skilled jobs as well as create new jobs at BAE Systems’ Maritime Services business in Portsmouth Naval Base, increasing the size of the current team by up to 50 per cent.

The contracts awarded to BAE Systems cover the maintenance and support of more than 650 boats ranging in size from five to 18 metres, including those operated from Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels, and by the Ministry of Defence Police, British Army and Royal Marines, amounting to 27 different classes of boat.

These small boats are operated from a variety of locations around the UK, including Portsmouth, Devonport and Clyde Naval Bases, as well as in other naval environments such as the training school, HMS Raleigh, and at RM Poole. Other armed forces sites include Longmoor and Chatham.

New jobs resulting from these contracts include roles for shipwrights and mechanical and electrical fitters.

BAE Systems Products and Training Services Director, Dr Brooke Hoskins, described the contract wins as an important new chapter for the team and for the future development of the UK’s small boats capabilities.

“We have an excellent team and a proud heritage of small boats expertise, dating back to the 1950s, so securing these important new contracts in a highly competitive environment is fantastic news, particularly for local jobs.

In addition to its own purpose built facility for the design, build and support of small boats at Portsmouth Naval Base, BAE Systems will deliver the small boats support contracts through a network of service delivery centres managed by preferred support contractors throughout the UK.

BAE Systems has also developed technology to allow the autonomous operation of RIBs and demonstrated the first autonomous operation of a small boat from an operational warship at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition in London.

BAE Systems also manufactures and maintains load carrying workboats and sea boats.

By Jake Frith