The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has updated its Maritime Support Delivery Framework (MSDF) contract with BAE Systems to include two of the British Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

BAE Systems will now have to extend its range of support services to the aircraft carriers under the newly amended deal, thereby covering all vessel classes homeported by the Royal Navy at Portsmouth Naval Base.

The modified agreement is worth roughly $69m and is set to continue until March 2019, with an option to be extended up to March 2020 at an additional contract value of £68.5m.

It also forms part of the new £1bn common support model (CSM) announced by UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon last week.

The CSM will offer a framework for comprehensive support under one single arrangement across the navy’s entire fleet of warships for the next several decades.

MoD procurement organisation Defence Equipment and Support chief of material (ships) Sir Simon Bollom said: “Our surface fleet is made up of some the most advanced and capable fighting ships in the world.

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“HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier, will join the fleet soon and the CSM will provide a framework that will deliver effective support to the Royal Navy’s warship fleet at home and around the globe.”

“The CSM will provide a framework that will deliver effective support to the Royal Navy’s warship fleet at home and around the globe.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived in Portsmouth in August and is scheduled to continue sea trials before being commissioned with the navy later this year.

HMS Prince of Wales is slated to arrive at its homeport in 2019 and will be commissioned in 2020.

BAE Systems was initially awarded a five-year, £600m MSDF contract in 2014 to support half of the Royal Navy’s surface fleet during both UK-based and global operations, in addition to the management of the Portsmouth naval base.

The MSDF contract covers the provision of several support services for the navy vessels, including technical services, maintenance, repair and upgrades to ensure that the ships meet their operational requirements.

Image: HMS Queen Elizabeth. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.