Tuesday, July 11, 2000

FirstWave in alliance with Singapore yard

FirstWave has formed an alliance with Singapore's PPL Shipyard Pte Ltd . This follows FirstWave's recently announced alliance with the U.K.'s A&P Group. The PPL alliance, says FirstWave, will capitalize on the multi-site facilities and expertise of both companies in offshore rig new construction and complex conversions.

The alliance with PPL will allow both companies to integrate marketing and share project management expertise for the delivery of new construction and conversion services on opposite sides of the globe. FirstWave and its alliance partners are creating a seamless delivery network for offshore and marine new construction, repair and maintenance to their global clients.

"In the areas of offshore rig repair, conversions and new construction, our companies have considerable mutual strengths. This alliance combines these strengths for the benefit of our customers and gives them more options for successful projects," said PPL 's managing director T.K. Ong.

FirstWave president and COO Grady Walker added, "This is a significant expansion of the network, with a focus on offshore rig new construction and conversions. PPL has the proven experience, know-how and track record for these kinds of projects, as they again demonstrated with their delivery of the Transocean Sedco Forex fifth-generation semisubmersible `Cajun Express' on time and on budget."

FirstWave is the leading shipyard company in the Houston-Galveston area. The company provides repair, conversion, new construction, and related services for offshore rigs, barges, boats, ships and other vessels in the offshore energy and marine industries.

PPL Shipyard is the former Promet Pte Ltd. It was renamed following a management buyout in 1997. The yard specializes in the design and construction of offshore drilling rigs including jackups and semisubmersibles. the fifth-generation semisubmersible Cajun Express for Transocean Sedco Forex. The company is also known for repair, upgrades and modifications of existing rigs. PPL's Singapore yard has a total area of 35 acres and is situated on the southwestern coast of the island. It has 700 m of sea frontage and 240 ms of wharf, serviced by a 600 t crane and other facilities that include two large covered workshops and five open fabrication areas,

$1.51 billion defense lifeline for British yards
The U.K.'s Defense Secretary, Geoffrey Hoon, today approved procurement of the first three Type 45 Anti Air Warfare Destroyers for the Royal Navy, within a planned class of up to 12.

The MOD will negotiate a £1 billion ($1.51 billion) order for the construction of the first three ships of the class with prime contractor BAE SYSTEMS later this year. The program is expected to sustain up to 5,500 jobs in BAE Systems Marine (which owns the former Kvaerner Govan shipyard in Scotland), Vosper Thornycroft shipyards and in other defense industries in the UK.

"The Type 45 will be the biggest and most powerful air defense destroyers ever ordered for the Royal Navy," said Hoon, "and their construction will be a tremendous opportunity for British industry. When these new ships enter service from 2007 they will represent a huge improvement in capability over the Type 42 destroyers they will succeed.

An order for the construction of the second batch of ships is expected to be placed with the prime contractor around 2004.

The main armament of the Type 45 is the collaborative UK/French/Italian Principal Anti Air Missile System (PAAMS), which is designed to defeat salvo attacks by new generations of anti-ship missiles.

The Type 45 equipped with PAAMS will provide area defense against aircraft and missiles including modern anti-ship missiles. In this role the Type 45 will support maritime assets across the range, from aircraft carriers to logistics vessels. In addition, the Type 45 will be a highly potent, multi-role, general purpose platform capable of operations across the spectrum of tasks from peace support to high intensity warfare. It will also operate either the anti submarine version of the Merlin helicopter, or Lynx.

BAE Systems Type 45 managing director, Brian Phillipson, said the £1 billion contract will cover design and development of the class with an initial build of three ships.

As the prime contractor for the Type 45, BAE Systems is responsible to the Defense Procurement Agency for design, development, delivery and elements of support for the class of ships. BAE Systems will be the design authority for the entire ship, other than the Principal Anti-Air Missile System which was ordered by the Ministry of Defense last year under a separate contract. The company will be demonstrating value for money and competitiveness across all areas of the program.

The Type 45 'D' Class destroyer will introduce Integrated Electric Propulsion into the Royal Navy for the first time. Benefits include a reduction in costs through-life because of lower maintenance and fuel consumption costs. The propulsion system gives greater flexibility to ship's electrical distribution systems allowing for considerable growth in demand through life.

The Type 45 'D' Class program is breaking new ground in a number of areas. With an initial displacement of some 7200 tonnes, the new destroyers will be the largest to be built for the Royal Navy since the Second World War. Phillipson explained that the overall requirements for the ship include new standards of crew accommodations, a comprehensive range of fighting and command capabilities, and all electric propulsion. "With the defense environment now one of considerable uncertainty and tight budgets." he said, "we need a robust design which will last the ships for their lifetime, without the necessity for major structural rework in order to incorporate the changes of equipment which are bound to be needed as defence requirements change during the next 30 years."

An 'Incremental Acquisition Program', will allow new weapons systems to be fitted without the need for a substantial refit. The same approach is being adopted with design of the supporting systems (e.g. electrical power), with growth capacity and evolution options being built in - thus maximizing the availability of these ships throughout their lives.

The build strategy being adopted, said Phillipson, is based on the latest developments in advanced outfitting and modular construction techniques. "This will mean that, while the ships themselves will be assembled in the prime defense shipyards, some of the major components and blocks can be competed for by companies throughout the UK with the appropriate experience and facilities. This strategy will also mean that the ships should be substantially more cost effective than previous classes."

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