Theresa May hails multi-billion pound Australian warship contract after British firm pips EU rivals

Posted On: 
29th June 2018

Theresa May has heralded a British company winning a multi-billion pound contract to build Australian warships as an “enormous boost” to the UK.

Theresa May and Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull met at Chequers earlier this year

BAE Systems saw off competition from Spain and Italy to secure the £20bn deal to build a fleet of nine new navy frigates.

The project will secure more than 4,000 jobs based in Australia, however ministers believe it will also boost the UK export market, where British expertise and capabilities can be used.

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The design of the fleet will be based on Britain’s Type 26 Global Combat Ship - marking the first export of a British design for new-build frigates since the 1970s.

It comes after the Prime Minister personally lobbied Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull at Chequers earlier this year.

Number 10 said senior Cabinet ministers including Boris Johnson, Gavin Williamson and Liam Fox also headed down under during the lengthy bidding process to make the UK’s case.

Mrs May said the opportunity was a “perfect illustration” of Britain building on relationships with countries outside of Europe ahead of Brexit.

“The sheer scale and nature of this contract puts the UK at the very forefront of maritime design and engineering and demonstrates what can be achieved by UK industry and Government working hand-in-hand,” she said.

“We have always been clear that as we leave the EU we have an opportunity to build on our close relationships with allies like Australia.

“This deal is a perfect illustration that the Government is doing exactly that.

“And while this is an enormous boost for the UK economy, it will also cement our strategic partnership with one of our oldest and closest friends for decades to come.”

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said: “As an international economic department, we are excited for the opportunities this will bring to both our nations including increased data and information sharing, high-end technology transfer, and collaboration at the cutting-edge of maritime expertise. 

“We look forward to further discussion on future trade through our joint UK-Australia trade working group.”