All of the UK’s major shipbuilders and repairers are on red alert as they await decisions from the Ministry of Defence on several projects running into billions of pounds.

The projects include the re-engining of the Type 45 destroyers and HMS Scott, along with the building of the Royal Navy’s Type 31 frigates and the announcement later this year on the FISS (Future in Service Support contract).

The A&P group will be hoping for part of the ten-year, £900 million pound FISS contract to refit and repair ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Gerald Pitts, managing director of the newly formed A&P Defence Division based at the docks, is the man spearheading all of the A&P Group bids.

This will be the largest contract in the history of the docks; one that requires in-depth preparation and costings expertise of the highest calibre if A&P is to be successful in winning part of the contract. But A&P Group will be up against some strong contenders which will probably include Babcock, Cammell Laird, BAE Systems, etc. An announcement is expected within the next two weeks on the HMS Scott contract.

Meanwhile all the big guns in the shipbuilding industry have their sights on the £ 1.25 billion project to build the Royal Navy’s Type 31 frigates.

Babcock International has joined forces with defence supplier Thales, and defence companies Harland and Wolff, BMT and Ferguson Marine, to form Team 31.

Industry giant BAE Systems, a major warship builder for several decades, has joined Cammell Laird in putting together a bid. This will see Babcock International and BAE Systems lined up for battle against each other.

Sir John Parker’s independent report into naval shipbuilding advises the government to spread the load of shipbuilding and ancillary work to yards and suppliers UK wide when it comes to building and repairing Royal Navy and RFA vessels.

In a letter to ministers Sir John wrote: “There is a vibrant UK shipbuilding, marine and defence supply chain which the MoD needs to harness. The MoD should seek to better understand the socio-economic benefit of awarding work to UK shipyards or UK suppliers in non-warship building and all ship outfitting procurement decisions.”

Whoever wins the Type 31 contract one thing is almost certain – other UK yards will be building modular sections for the frigates. Cammell Laird has said that it will use the yards of its partners A&P Falmouth and A&P Tyne for such modular construction.