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New Royal Navy Tankers to be Built in South Korea

and the value of the contract is close to $1 billion.

Interestingly the ships will be built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) in South Korea rather then in a British yard. It is uncommon for a country like Britain to do this but price is becoming a major factor in such contracts and presumably the Daewoo bid was much lower then any competing ones. British companies will get support contracts such as those for design as well as test support.

DSME is one of the largest shipbuilders in South Korea and was recently awarded a contract for submarines to be delivered to Indonesia. It has great experience building cargo vessels, oil platforms and support ships. The RFA tankers will be similar to many commercial ships and other then unique Royal Navy communications equipment and defensive systems will have little or no military specific hardware.

The U.S. Navy has started buying Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) from Australian shipbuilder Austal but it is through their U.S. subsidiary and the ships are built in Mobile, AL. The Royal Navy could have pursued this course as well but it seems for auxiliaries the desire to make them at home is overshadowed by the need to keep costs down. This may portend more contracts like this for not only Great Britain but other Western countries as they look to spend their shrinking supply of defense dollars.

Photo from Official U.S. Navy Imagery’s flickr Photostream.

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