LONDON - Defence Company BAE Systems is to build three ships for Britain's navy in a deal worth 348 million ($584 million, 436 million euros), the contractor said on Tuesday.
BAE said the three 'Offshore Patrol Vessels' would be used to combat terrorism, piracy and smuggling in the waters around Britain as well as protecting the country's interests abroad. The 90-metre (295 feet) vessels will be built at the contractor's facilities in the Scottish city of Glasgow.
"This is a significant contract award which marks the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for the UK shipbuilding sector," said Mick Ord, managing director at BAE Systems naval ships.
The design is an adaptation of an existing class of ship used by Thailand and the Brazilian navy, which used them to provide security during the 2014 World Cup, according to the company.
BAE described the ships as "globally deployable and capable of ocean patrol" as they will have a maximum speed of 24 knots, a range of 5,500 nautical miles and a flight deck capable of landing large Merlin helicopters. Building is due to start in October with the first ship scheduled to be delivered in 2017.