UK launches tender for 3 new Fleet Solid Support ships
On 21 May, UK’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace launched a competition to build three new Fleet Solid Support (FSS) ships to provide vital support to Royal Navy operations across the world.
As explained, these crucial Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels will provide munitions, food, stores and provisions to support carrier and amphibious based task groups at sea.
The competition is expected to help revitalise British shipbuilding by requiring a significant proportion of the build and assembly work to be carried out in the UK.
Designed to challenge the shipbuilding industry, Defence Equipment and Support have issued the contract notice inviting companies to register an interest in participating in the tender for the design and build of the ships, which will incorporate next-generation technology.
The successful bidder can work in partnership with international companies but would be required to integrate the ships in a UK shipyard.
This will be further supported by a refresh of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, to be published this summer setting out the UK government’s commitment to the UK shipbuilding enterprise and its supply chain.
“The launch of the Fleet Solid Support competition presents a really exciting opportunity for the shipbuilding industry to support the design and build of a new class of ship that will primarily resupply our Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers,” DE&S’ Director General Ships, Vice Admiral Chris Gardner, said.
“It is also another step in implementing the National Shipbuilding Strategy and increasing our domestic maritime construction capacity and capability alongside the Type 26 and Type 31 programmes already underway.”
“The FSS ships will join the QEC Task Group, carrying out replenishment at sea to supply stores and ammunition to sustain operations, which is essential to meeting the UK’s defence commitments. To do this the ships will be able to transfer loads of more than two tonnes at a time while at high speed.”
The manufacture contract award is expected to be made within two years, following approvals.