Navantia inks subcontract with Harland & Wolff for UK’s FSS warship program

UK shipbuilder Harland & Wolff has signed a subcontract with Spanish shipbuilder Navantia for UK’s £1.6 billion FSS warship program.

Harland & Wolff

Under the terms of the Subcontract, Harland & Wolff will be responsible for delivering works worth around £700 million to £800 million through the life of the program.

Credit: Harland & Wolff

The work will last seven years and will begin in 2023. Harland & Wolff will be responsible for the fabrication of various blocks including some mega blocks (i.e., a block incorporating several standard sized blocks) as well as the procurement of a number of items of equipment to be installed on each vessel in Belfast.

Given Appledore’s experience in the fabrication of the bow sections for the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers – HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales, all three bow sections for this program will be fabricated in Appledore prior to being transported to Belfast.

All three vessels will have all the blocks assembled, consolidated, fully integrated and commissioned before proceeding to sea trials from the Belfast facility, marking a return to shipbuilding in Belfast after over twenty years.

Full-scale fabrication is due to start in 2025 with the vessels due to be delivered to meet the Ministry Of Defence’s objective to bring three ships into service by 2032.

The Belfast and Appledore facilities will benefit from a £77 million capital investment program during the next 24 months.

In Belfast, an extension to the fabrication halls will be undertaken to facilitate a highly dynamic material and sub-structure production flow along with a highly efficient manufacturing and production process. Investments will be made in technologically advanced robotic and autonomous equipment that includes material movement, marking, plate cutting, panel lines and robotic welding. In addition, new larger paint buildings will be constructed to facilitate larger and more efficient block painting.

Meanwgile, Appledore will benefit from upgrades to the shipyard roof along with investments in additional automated machinery that includes the relocation of the existing micro panel line from Belfast.

The partnership with Navantia will further lead to a transfer of technology over the next seven years. Pre-planning applications have already been submitted and demolition works are expected to start shortly in Belfast, with the new facility coming to life over the next two years.

The UK government has implemented the National Shipbuilding Strategy to improve productivity rates in UK shipbuilding & fabrication, reduce waste and to drive the transition to Net Zero.

In collaboration with its partners in Team Resolute, Navantia and BMT, Harland & Wolff will continue to engage as a team in future phases of this program as well as on other opportunities in the UK and globally.

John Wood, Group Chief Executive Officer, Harland & Wolff commented: “I am delighted that we have formally signed the subcontract with Navantia, a very significant project that will provide substantial revenue for the business for the next seven years. We can now commence work on the programme with the initial focus being on completing the recapitalisation plan over the next two years in preparedness for the start of production in 2025. As the final strategic piece in the carrier strike force, I look forward to working closely with our partners in Team Resolute over the coming years…”

To remind, last month, Team Resolute, comprising BMT, Harland & Wolff and Navantia UK, signed a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to build three support ships for the Royal Navy.

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