UK — Defence Equipment Minister develops ties with South Korea

Min­is­ter for Defence Equip­ment, Sup­port and Tech­nol­o­gy, Peter Luff, has vis­it­ed the Repub­lic of Korea to help devel­op the defence indus­tri­al rela­tion­ship between the UK and the East Asian coun­try.

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Peter Luff at a press con­fer­ence in Seoul [Pic­ture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
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“This con­tract shows that Defence is — and will remain — a vibrant and suc­cess­ful sec­tor in the UK.”
Peter Luff

As part of his vis­it, Mr Luff trav­elled to the dock­yards of Dae­woo Ship­build­ing and Marine Engi­neer­ing (DSME) near Busan on Mon­day for a tour of where the UK’s four new Mil­i­tary Afloat Reach and Sus­tain­abil­i­ty (MARS) tankers will be built.

The MOD announced in Feb­ru­ary this year that it had ordered a new gen­er­a­tion of 37,000-tonne tankers for the Roy­al Fleet Aux­il­iary (RFA) to sup­port future Roy­al Navy oper­a­tions around the globe.

The MARS tankers will main­tain the Roy­al Navy’s abil­i­ty to refu­el at sea and will pro­vide fuel to war­ships and task groups.

They will sup­port deployed amphibi­ous, land and air forces close to the shore, will be able to oper­ate heli­copters, and are planned to enter ser­vice from 2016, replac­ing exist­ing RFA sin­gle-hulled tankers.

At over 200 metres long, the four tankers will be approx­i­mate­ly the same length as 14 dou­ble-deck­er bus­es, and be able to pump enough fuel to fill two Olympic-sized swim­ming pools an hour.

The £452m con­tract with DSME guar­an­tees that the tax­pay­er will get best val­ue for mon­ey from this pro­gramme, while the RFA will get the capa­bil­i­ties they require.

The glob­al com­pe­ti­tion attract­ed bid­ders from around the world and con­firms that the Government’s pol­i­cy of open com­pe­ti­tion, as out­lined in the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty through Tech­nol­o­gy White Paper ear­li­er this year, is the right one.

UK com­pa­nies will how­ev­er ben­e­fit from £150m of asso­ci­at­ed con­tracts com­pris­ing: £90m on UK con­tracts for the pro­vi­sion of key equip­ment, sys­tems, design and sup­port ser­vices (the win­ning design is being pro­vid­ed by UK com­pa­ny BMT Defence Ser­vices); and a £60m invest­ment in the UK in rela­tion to cus­tomi­sa­tion, tri­als and spe­cial­ist engi­neer­ing sup­port.

Mark­ing the 62nd anniver­sary of the Kore­an War begin­ning, Mr Luff laid a wreath at the UK mon­u­ment at the UN Memo­r­i­al Ceme­tery in Busan on Mon­day. The ceme­tery was estab­lished in 1955 to hon­our the ser­vice and sac­ri­fice of UN forces, includ­ing the 1,078 UK per­son­nel who lost their lives dur­ing the three-year con­flict.

And today, at a press con­fer­ence in the British Embassy, Mr Luff wel­comed the announce­ment of a new con­tract for the sup­ply of Rolls-Royce’s MT30 gas tur­bine to pow­er a new FFX frigate for the Repub­lic of Korea’s Navy. This is the first order for the MT30 in Asia.

Wel­com­ing the con­tract Mr Luff said:

“I am delight­ed to be in the Repub­lic of Korea for the announce­ment of this impor­tant con­tract. Rolls-Royce is a world-renowned com­pa­ny and a long-estab­lished sup­pli­er to the UK and Armed Forces around the world, with an excel­lent aero­space and mar­itime pedi­gree.

“Its MT30 engine is a tes­ta­ment to British design and engi­neer­ing skills and has already been select­ed to be fit­ted to our Queen Eliz­a­beth Class air­craft car­ri­ers.

“As the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter made clear dur­ing his vis­it to Seoul in March, the MT30 offer­ing enjoys the full sup­port of the British Gov­ern­ment.

“This con­tract shows that Defence is — and will remain — a vibrant and suc­cess­ful sec­tor in the UK.”

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK