A contract was let this week for more project definition work on the troubled Anglo-French-Italian Project Horizon frigate.
The value of the contract between Project Horizon’s joint project office and the Horizon prime contractor the International Joint Venture Company (IJVC) was not revealed.
The deal covers the outline design of the ship and its combat system, the selection of combat system equipment and sub-systems and of marine engineering subcontractors. The work will last six to nine months, and will lead to a contract being let early next year to design and build the first frigates.
The £8bn Horizon project will officially see replacements for 22 warships in the British, French and Italian navies, though the numbers are likely to be fewer.
Horizon is already running at least two years late, and has been criticised as too expensive by a UK industry think-tank.
The IJVC’s major shareholders are GEC Marine, supported by British Aerospace and Vosper Thornycroft for the UK, DCNI for France and the Orrizonte consortium of Italy’s Fincantieri and Finmeccanica.