The Naval Design
Partnering Team

Delivering innovative design
solutions for the current
and future fleet



What is NDP?

The Naval Design Partnering Team is a unique consortium of Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the UK defence industry. It is set up within and led by the MOD Directorate of Ships in order to conduct all pre-concept and concept ship designs for the Royal Navy and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

The multi-industry participation capitalises on the wealth of naval capabilities available within the UK defence industry to provide adaptive and innovative design for the current and future fleet, offering:

  • Whole warship/auxiliary vessel concept design and feasibility studies
  • Feasibility studies into whole ship implications of major equipment upgrades, including combat systems
  • Ship life extension studies
  • Exploitation studies for new technologies and innovation into warship design
  • Small military craft design and assessment

Why NDP?

There are numerous advantages in choosing to work with the Naval Design Partnering Team:

Unprecedented level of access to MOD core subject matter knowledge in ship design

No requirement for commercial growth, thus independent and trustworthy

Access to multi-company design specialists in many disciplines

Holistic in its approach to design with ready access to all facets impacting design issues

Innovative in its approach to design, informed by the realities of shipbuilding and operability requirements

Part of UK MOD

Being part of the MOD allows NDP to take full advantage of the breadth of MOD capabilities and expertise, providing access to:

  • MOD funded research
  • Operational expertise
  • In service technical issue resolution
  • Training methodologies and techniques
  • Interoperability expertise
  • Expertise in Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
  • The Defence Concepts and Doctrine Centre

Design Portfolio

Current and Recent Projects

The NDP Team is able to conduct holistic ship concept design studies on the complete range of marine vessels from maritime interdiction craft to aircraft carriers. Examples of current and recent design studies include:

The Team

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the NDP Team and why is it necessary?

    The Naval Design Partnering Team consists of skilled specialists from the MOD and industry who carry out concept design work in response to MOD requirements for future Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels. The team also conducts through life capability insertion studies for the current fleet.

    The NDP multi-company construct is necessary to draw innovation from a wide base into future concept designs. It has been recognized that extra skills beyond those available within the MOD are required for the successful integration of concept studies. The multi-industry participation capitalises on the wealth of naval capabilities available within the UK defence industry, while being part of the MOD allows NDP to take full advantage of the breadth of MOD capabilities and expertise. The NDP construct also improves value for money and efficiency by having an operating model that allows rapid creation of projects or tasking of design teams under the NDP framework.

  • What programmes will the NDP Team cover?

    The NDP Team's remit covers naval surface vessels, including all their platform systems and future combat systems architecture. The team also has a role in more complex Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels. Submarines are covered by a separate team, NDP Submarines.

  • What does the MOD gain from the arrangement?

    The MOD gains high quality, innovative and integrated concept design work at good value for money that supports the development of world leading naval vessels. Furthermore, it maintains timely access to the necessary cutting edge skills and expertise.

  • What does industry gain from the arrangement?

    Companies benefit by more informed plans for employment of their resources and the opportunity both to grow skills against a more visible programme of future work and to take full advantage of the breadth of MOD capabilities and expertise.

  • Which companies participate?

    The NDP Team's industry element is made up of core member companies which have been selected for their breadth and depth in warship and combat systems concept design skills. The core members are: Babcock, BAE Systems, BMT Group, Finmeccanica, MBDA Missile Systems, QinetiQ and Thales. In addition, a large number of non-core companies are associated with NDP, and have been selected for their specialist skills, products or technologies.

  • How is the ship and system design work integrated with other acquisition activities?

    The NDP Team activity in support of a particular MOD maritime project is managed by the MOD project Chief Engineer, who is responsible for ensuring the delivery and integration of the engineering activities with the rest of the programme.

  • How does the NDP Team affect the design of major systems by suppliers?

    The NDP Team includes representatives from major suppliers where they can influence the overall concept design. From this involvement, major suppliers will also gain information to influence system design.

  • Who formally owns the ship design?

    The design up to the point where a build specification is produced is owned by the MOD. The MOD may choose to delegate certain design changes, but remains the owner of performance risk.

  • Who approves the design work conducted by the NDP Team?

    The Chief Engineer for the particular programme will approve the team's design work.

  • How will the NDP Team achieve innovation in ship design for the 21st century?

    The team brings together experts from across MOD and industry who work in a stimulating design environment which encourages free thinking. Corporately, Industry is incentivised to bring innovation into concept designs for future platform and mission system architectures and associated sensors to ensure cutting edge naval capability.

  • Can innovative ideas be presented from outside the NDP Team, eg for improved capability, reduced cost or more effective in-service management?

    The remit of the NDP Team is to bring in ideas from any quarter, including from outside the core members, for example from other areas of DE&S, MOD Centre or Naval Command Headquarters, or from non-core companies.

  • What are the commercial arrangements?

    The NDP Team's commercial model uses a Lead company – BMT Defence Services Ltd - as a single contractor with MOD. The other seven core companies are then subcontracted by BMT which was selected as Lead company by them, and acts on their behalf. Individual tasks are competed by the NDP core companies and placed under the overarching NDP contract. A wide range of non-core companies and organisations are also signed up to the NDP framework and their specific expertise is available and requested as necessary. A reachback mechanism is written into the governing contract to enable maximum use of expertise from within the partner companies. The NDP Team's funding covers core work, and additional work is taken on with funding from the sponsoring project. The multi-company construct and the flexible contract provide a high degree of technical expertise, innovation and responsiveness.

  • How are Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues managed?

    A multi-company contract means that management of IPR issues can be complex, but the principle is as follows. All outputs from the NDP Team fall into one of two categories: hull design or equipments. All outputs vest in the Crown. However, core companies all have a grant back licence for results relating to equipment. BAE Systems hold the grant back licence for results relating to hull design. Core companies are able to provide background information into a task by declaring it, and if necessary a special contractual arrangement is made to accommodate this.

  • What are the governance arrangements?

    The NDP Team is part of the MOD’s Directorate of Ships (D Ships), and is governed by the NDP Programme Board. All of the core companies are represented on the Board, which is chaired by the Head of Maritime Combat Systems within D Ships.

  • Does the NDP Team have any role outside specific programmes?

    The skills and expertise available within in the NDP Team help the development of a coherent and focused research and development programme, by influencing future research in the maritime domain and providing a conduit for pull through of these technologies onto future platforms.

  • What skills and breadth of role does the NDP Team have?

    The team has access to the full range of engineering and design skills across all platform and combat system disciplines to generate the complete concept solution, taking into account the interaction with other lines of development. The team ensures access to sufficient expertise to take account of procurement, manufacturing and through-life considerations in the concept design.


Get in touch

If you would like to talk to NDP about its services, projects or about getting involved, please contact us at the address below.

Building 210, The Close,

Bristol Business Park,

Coldharbour Lane,


BS16 1FJ

NDP Team Leader

Larry Fedrick

Email Larry

NDP Project Manager

Melissa Cottrell

Email Melissa

NDP Leadco Contract Manager

Richard Star

Email Richard