RFA Cardigan Bay at sunset 02052021 CREDIT ROYAL NAVY
Sea vessels

Competition Launched To Build New Fleet Solid Support Ships

The Defence Secretary has launched the competition for companies to build vessels that will support task groups around the world.

RFA Cardigan Bay at sunset 02052021 CREDIT ROYAL NAVY

A competition has been launched to build new Fleet Solid Support (FSS) ships, which will support Royal Navy operations across the globe.

Launched by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, the competition seeks three new Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels to provide essentials such as munitions, food and provisions to task groups at sea.

Mr Wallace said the vessels embody the UK's "commitment to a truly global presence".

"The competition reaffirms our dedication to invest in shipbuilding and support jobs across the UK maritime industry," he added.

Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) are inviting companies to register an interest in participating in the design and construction of the ships.

The winning bidder will have the opportunity to collaborate with international companies but will be required to integrate the ships in a UK shipyard.

DE&S director general ships, Vice Admiral Chris Gardner, said the launch of the Fleet Solid Support competition represents "another step in implementing the National Shipbuilding Strategy".

HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales at sea together pic 4 200521 CREDIT Crown Copyright
The FSS ships will support Royal Navy operations around the world (Picture: Crown Copyright).

He said: "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."

Interested companies can register their interest to receive a pre-qualification questionnaire and successful respondents will be invited to tender for competitive procurement contracts.

The manufacture contract award is expected to be made within two years, following approvals.

In November, the Prime Minister promised billions of pounds of extra defence spending to "restore Britain’s position as the foremost naval power in Europe".

Boris Johnson set out a £16.5bn increase in funding to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) over the following four years, stating the boost would result in a "renaissance of British shipbuilding" across the country.

The funding announcement marked the first phase of the Government's Integrated Review of the UK's foreign, defence, development and security policy, with the report's publication followed soon after by the Defence Command Paper.

Cover image: Royal Navy.