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Parker report seeks shake up in U.K. naval shipbuilding

Written by Nick Blenkey
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BAE proposals for new Type 31 frigate include this variant

NOVEMBER 29, 2016 — The U.K. Government has now published an indepent report on naval shipbuilding undertaken by Sir John Parker, a British businessman who has chaired five FTSE 500 companies — and who started his career in 1958, at age 17, by joining shipbuilder Harland and Wolff as an apprentice naval architect .

In a summary of the findings of his report, Sir John says that the procurement of naval ships takes too long from concept to delivery compared withother complex industries.

“Despite many good professionals at the Ministry of Defence (MOD),” he says, procurement of Royal Navy ships is affected by “a lack of pace with time scale and cost impacted by a non-assured capital budget (I.e. subject to annual change)” and by “lack of a governance system that grips design and specification to budget and time to contract” among other things.

In addition, naval ships are not designed to be export friendly.

Sir John says “there is a renaissance in shipbuilding in commercial U.K. shipyards, fueled by an entrepreneurial attitude and an enthusiasm to embrace change with flexible skilled labor practices and the ability to manage fluctuating workloads. In sum, there is a vibrant U.K. shipbuilding, marine and defence supply chain sector which the MOD should seek to harness.”

The report makes a large number of recommendations — including proposals for using the new “more affordable” Type 31 general purpose frigate program to kick start the desired changes.

Welcoming the report on behalf of the government, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said that the government would publish a full response, and implementation plan in spring 2017.

You can read the report HERE


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