In 2019, the Fleet Solid Support ship competition was suspended to ensure that “requirements could be met” and a “value for money solution found”.
The suspension raised hope from trade unions that the competition could be restarted and involve only UK shipyards.
In September last year, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace stated the vessels were “warships”, effectively confirming they would be built in the United Kingdom as the United Kingdom has a policy of not building warships outside of the UK.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
“Shipbuilding has historically been a British success story, and I am determined to revitalise this amazing industry as part of this Government’s commitment to build back better. 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.”
The Ministry of Defence also said at the time that the competition to build the three Fleet Solid Support warships will help “revitalise British shipbuilding by requiring a significant proportion of the build and assembly work to be carried out in the UK”.
The ‘Spring 2021’ restart date was reconfirmed this week.
Stephen Morgan, Shadow Defence Minister, asked via a Parliamentary written question.
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 30 November 2020 to Question 120779 on Fleet Solid Support Ships, what recent assessment he has made of whether that target will be met.”
Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, responded:
“It remains our intention to commence the Fleet Solid Support ship competition during spring 2021.”
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