An interesting article was published recently in the Indian Edition of Business Standard that describes how the UK was seeking partnership with India for the design and build of the Type 26 Global Combat Ship
To quote some of the more interesting sections of the article;
Business Standard has learnt that a cash-strapped UK government has approached New Delhi to jointly design and build a next-generation frigate, designated the Global Combat Ship (GCS). While the UK had originally planned to build this alone (then designated the Type 26 frigate), shrinking defence budgets have forced it to seek international partners. And, India, along with other countries, including Brazil, has been invited into a consortium to design and build the GCS.
The UK is trying build a JSF type global warship building consortia that will edge out the other European competitors, recognising that the it needs to get back into the business of exporting warships as a means of reducing costs.
Senior Indian MoD officials say, off the record, that no decision is imminent on the British offer. But they admit the offer is attractive, since it would provide a learning opportunity for one of India’s big new private sector shipyards to gain experience in building frigates
India has little experience of building such complex vessels.
BAE Systems has described to Business Standard how Whitehall envisages the designing and building of the GCS. The countries that eventually form the consortium would join heads to frame broadly common specifications for the warship. Presently, the GCS is planned as a flexi-role frigate. This means each vessel could be optimised for any one of the three traditional frigate roles: anti-submarine, air defence or general-purpose. To cater for these different roles and the different requirements of participating countries, the basic GCS design would have 80 per cent commonality in design and components, with 20 per cent remaining flexible. Last year, the Type 26 frigate survived the ruthless spending cuts imposed in Britain’s Strategic Defence and Security Review. But now, with Whitehall having concluded it cannot go it alone, the partnership of countries like India is essential.
So where does this leave the UK shipbuilding industry?
Is this simply a sharing of intellectual property to lower costs or is it something more integrated, perhaps we might partner with India to build the basic building blocks and ship them to the UK for assembly and fit out.
Who knows what this will lead to but it will be interesting to see it unfold.