UK announces contenders for Fleet Solid Support ship construction

The UK defense minister has announced the five contenders shortlisted to compete for the contract to build Fleet Solid Support ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

As outlined by Stuart Andrew, a British consortium of Babcock, BAE Systems, Cammell Laird and Rolls-Royce will be pitted against Italy’s Fincantieri, Spain’s Navantia, the Japan Marine United Corporation, and South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering.

The five companies, which were selected from eight interested firms, will now develop bids before a final decision is made regarding the winning bidder in 2020.

The Fleet Solid Support ships, up to three of which will be procured through international competition as they are not warships, will be fitted with specialist and classified equipment at a British shipyard before entering service with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary from 2026.

Shipyards across the United Kingdom will be able to bid for this work in 2022.

The FSS ships are to have a total cargo capacity of up to 7000 m3 and travel at a sustained speed of 18 knots without resupply. The platform must be capable of delivering non bulk logistic material whilst underway and making 12 knots through the water and transferring single loads of up to 5 tonnes.

The role of RFA Solid Support ships is to replenish surface warships and other auxiliaries with ammunition (ordnance, munitions and explosives), food and solid stores. As part of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the vessels will be civilian-manned and carry self-defense weapons only.