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Govan wet basin to host 170m warship assembly hall

July 26 2022

Govan wet basin to host 170m warship assembly hall

BAE Systems will host a live consultation later this afternoon on plans to infill a wet basin at Govan to permit the erection of a 170m long shipbuilding assembly hall.

As part of the defence contractor's 23-hectare surface ships campus at Govan Road, the work will permit the construction of ships longer than 75m fully under cover. This will allow Ministry of Defence orders to be fulfilled in a climate-controlled environment with dedicated on-site offices and amenities.

In a consultation statement, BAE Systems wrote: "This site allows BAE Systems to deliver the scale of shipbuilding hall required, together with a direct route to water. In addition, this allows the required building to be located at the heart of their existing campus, away from the more sensitive riverside area, where previous proposals were focused.

"The proposed shipbuilding hall will occupy part of the existing shipyard wet basin and will provide accommodation to allow for at least two ships to be built simultaneously under cover and in single hull format. This will remove the need for the outdoor assembly of ships as is currently the case."

Measuring 170m long, 81m wide and 49m tall the hall, designed by Arch Henderson, will be subject to a planning application over the summer with the expectation that work could commence in January. 

The assembly hall will employ roof mounted photovoltaics, rainwater harvesting and heat recovery from mechanical plant
The assembly hall will employ roof mounted photovoltaics, rainwater harvesting and heat recovery from mechanical plant
The wet basin will be sealed off and infilled, retaining access to the Clyde with a 54m roller shutter door
The wet basin will be sealed off and infilled, retaining access to the Clyde with a 54m roller shutter door


Fat Bloke on Tour
#1 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 26 Jul 2022 at 11:10 AM
Better late than never -- 25 years too late to be exact.

I think someone should tell BAe Systems that 170M won't cut it in the 2030's. Steel is cheap and simple is the way forward rather than the quarts into a pint pot design vibe of today's T45's and T26's.

Getting the ship into the water would appear to be the missing link in this plan. In the absence of a shiplift in any plans it would appear that a transfer to a submersible barge would be the way they are planning to go. Could get messy in a narrow river -- there were reasons why the existing slipways pointed downstream.

They should go for a big plain shed -- 200M plus x 90M -- so that they have growth potential.

The RN will soon be needing auxiliaries and amphibious ships of that scale and it would be a shame to build them elsewhere.

Re-profiling the riverbank would be a small price to pay for a much more capable yard.
#2 Posted by Mark on 26 Jul 2022 at 13:18 PM
Fat Block on Tour - perhaps BAE are happy to leave auxiliaries and amphibious ships to the Koreans, or Babcock at Rosyth? Warships tend to be built to higher spec and are higher margin, from what I've read, whereas auxiliaries are basically built to merchant marine standards. Suspect that BAE will go wherever the higher profits lie.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#3 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 26 Jul 2022 at 13:38 PM
Govan has had a good track record building larger naval vessels -- HMS Ocean being the prime example. Plus it is a lot of work to giveaway when the Clyde could be doing with the experience of building a wider range of ships in a much more efficient manner.

One high end warship every two years is not a viable business -- the Clyde needs more work and that includes exports. If they don't come then you aren't good enough.

They are currently very poor one club golfers.

Plus their build quality needs to improve -- HMS Forth with its glued on rivet heads is a shame that will never go away.

Bert McDuff
#4 Posted by Bert McDuff on 27 Jul 2022 at 13:51 PM
Fat Bloke on tour, rather than spout your baseless opinion of what should be built, perhaps it's a better idea to familiarise yourself with the plans for the yard over the next 15 years and consider whether the building planned is suitable to meet that.

The sticking point for what can be built on the Clyde isn't what's available to bid for, it's what can fit into the footprint (Inc the new building) and what staff are available for hire to do the job. There's a serious shortage of skilled labour on the Clyde

Forth may have been a shame, but a lot of change has happened since.

As for launch, submersible barge is the plan. As it has been, successfully, for over a decade.

P.s I doubt naval ships are going to get any simpler any time soon.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#5 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 27 Jul 2022 at 16:21 PM
Govan footprint -- I give you HMS Anson (32) which was built on the site back in the day. Plus HMS Africa that was promised -- 275M now that would have been a challenge.

Skilled labour -- Maybe HR should look beyond their current friends and family policy. Other yards in Europe don't seem to have the same shortages.

15 year plans -- How many have their been since the Millennium? Three and counting if you include the Frigate Factory?

Naval ships becoming simpler -- you will get there eventually as the current increasing complexity will collapse under the weight of its own absurdity. Others are moving in that direction and I hope BAe won't be their usual tail end charlies.
The Big Man
#6 Posted by The Big Man on 16 Jan 2023 at 15:33 PM
They cleared a full site at Scotstoun back in 2014 to build a frigate factory. The cost was in the region of £200 million. BAE binned it when the MOD would not stump up most of the cash for the development. After the first Type 45 was built undercover and launched in Scotstoun. They moved the other T45 build to Govan and the current T26. Restriction at Scotstoun was head room when launched meaning some of the super structure had to be left off and fitted later. Moving to Govan meant transferring blocks to an open berth. That has proved disastrous with our weather. Now the plan is a new ship build hall at Govan. This still means transferring to a barge and a float off. Then towing the ship to Scotstoun to be outfitted. The Scotstoun plan was far better, with the ability to remove the dock gate of the new facility and flood to float off. In this way shafts and props could be fitted and ship could move to outfitting without the use of tugs. All superstructure could also be fitted prior to flooding the dock. Again BAE make the wrong decisions. If they had started the work back in 2015 on the Scotstoun site they would already have the facility.

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