Royal Navy’s Fleet Solid Support ships to be built by UK-led teams

Vital warships providing supplies and technical support to the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers will be built by British-led teams, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has announced.

Fleet Solid Support Ships will eventually replace the Fort Rosalie-class of replenishment ships. US Navy photo of Fort Rosalie

A competition to build three Fleet Solid Support (FSS) warships – which will launch in Spring 2021 – will help revitalise British shipbuilding by requiring a significant proportion of the build and assembly work to be carried out in the UK.

According to the new decision, international companies will be invited to work in collaboration with UK firms to feed in their skills and expertise, but the successful manufacturing team must be led by a British company.

As explained, this will have a huge impact on the local economies across the UK where shipbuilding is a prominent feature.

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“The Fleet Solid Support warships competition will be the genesis of a great UK shipbuilding industry, and allow us to develop the skills and expertise for the shipyards of tomorrow,” Wallace pointed out.

The Fleet Solid Support ship competition will build on the success of the Type 31 programme, which will be built primarily in Scotland and is expected to support 1250 highly skilled jobs and 150 apprenticeships across the country.

The warships will incorporate next-generation technology with a purpose-built design and will eventually support HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales as part of the Carrier Strike Group, which will undertake its first operational deployment next year.

Just this week, the UK signed a memorandum of understanding with Australia to continue building and delivering the next generation of frigates together. The Type 26 frigate programme consists of eight ships and will sustain 1,700 jobs in Scotland and 4,000 jobs across the wider maritime supply chain until 2035.