InfraStrata, the firm buying Harland and Wolff, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Navantia.

Navantia say that the agreement with InfraStrata at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast will allow them “to work on the Fleet Solid Support Ships and other offshore projects”.

Navantia are participating in this tender in partnership with BMT. The rationale for this, say Navantia, is that “BMT has proven naval design and engineering capability, including support ships for the UK (Tide Class) and Norwegian (HNoMS Maud) defence ministries, and as design partner in the Carrier Alliance”. The firm adds that “through the combined strengths of their partnership, the Navantia-BMT proposal assures low technical risk, budget viability and timely delivery”.

The design being offered by the Navantia team and pictured above originates with BMT. Read more about the Navantia and BMT teaming agreement here.

According to a press release from the firm:

“Navantia has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the British company InfraStrata that basically seeks collaboration in the program of the three Fleet Solid Support (FSS) vessels for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, as well as exploring opportunities for collaboration in other areas, especially in wind for the fields of the United Kingdom.

This MoU is the first step towards the next formalisation of a more specific Agreement between both parties under which the two companies will work together on the FSS project.”

John Wood, chief executive of Infrastrata, said:

“Navantia is world renowned for its shipbuilding capabilities and offshore infrastructure expertise and experience, and therefore has access to significant commercial opportunities in these sectors. The combination of Navantia’s footprint in these sectors and Harland & Wolff’s fabrication and other support capabilities offers the ideal commercial environment to bring large and challenging projects to successful fruition.”

According to Infrastrata the Spanish shipbuilder would be able to utilise the assets at the yard to support its tender for a £1.5 billion contract for the three new Fleet Solid Support ships. Navantia earlier said that its intention is to enlarge UK supply chain involvement.

The £1.5bn competition to build up to three Fleet Solid Support Ships for the Royal Navy was recently suspended.

Competing for the work was a British consortium consisting of companies Babcock, BAE Systems, Cammell Laird and Rolls-Royce (forming Team UK) and international bidders Fincantieri (Italy), Navantia (Spain), Japan Marine United Corporation, and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (South Korea).

Fincantieri and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering had already withdrawn, according to the Financial Times. This left only Team UK, Navantia and Japan Marine United Corporation.

The Ministry of Defence said in a statement:

“It is clear that the current approach will not deliver the requirement. We are now considering the most appropriate way forward for the procurement project.”

It is expected that the project will be restarted in early 2020. Navantia say that “during this transition period, and waiting for the new requirements for the FSS project to be published, Navantia continues working to better position itself in the reopening of the contest, where the English industry participation is predicted crucial”. Presumably, they mean British industry, given they’re teaming up with a shipyard in Belfast which is categorically not in England.

It has also been reported that some regard the suspension as a first step to reclassifying the vessels to be exempt from EU laws, allowing them to be built in the UK rather than overseas.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Good news for Northern Ireland and the UK. There should never be any alternative but a British yard unless there is a crisis situation and no capacity. Any other option simply delivers a killer blow to UK shipbuilding, and the opportunity to create excellence.


It would be if only navantia just want to sell some sort of intellectial property, but with the UK the opposite is noramlly the case. I don’t trust them. They built the Aus Supply ships on a slipway berth. What pre assembly on slipway berth techniques(i.E. fabriacation, with sub, unit, block all outfitted assembly) can they learn us in the UK?


Let’s hope we get 3 built in the uk, that’s allot of work. It was 12 New RFA tankers and solid suport ships that were originally planned or was it 14 the Royal Navy said it needed? Anyway with far less frigates and destroyers why bother with that many, maybe 7 total is a good number to save money running the 12/14.


Yeah. I’m not an expert but from looking at Wikipedia to contrast what the RFA might end up with vs the French replenishment capabilities ( there’s just no comparison even if the UK does end up with 4 x 39,000 tonne tankers (the Tides) and 3 x presumably at similar-sized FSS ships. Wikipedia lists the French replenishment fleet as consisting of 3 x 17,900 tonne Durance class replenishment oilers and nothing else (is that really correct?). I do really hope that the FSS build does stay at 3 though and not get cut to 2, a possibility muted when the… Read more »


Edit. I see that, again according to Wikipedia, the French Navy is planning to replace the 3 Durance class – “The Durance class will be replaced under the FLOTLOG project by four derivatives of Italy’s Vulcano Logistic Support Ship, to be delivered in 2022-29” ( Italy’s Vulcano class is a 27,200 tonne mixed fuel & dry stores vessel. Even after that evolution it still leaves the UK far ahead in terms of replenishment capabilities. (I’m not having a go at our French allies, I just always find them the most immediate interesting comparison in terms of a similar-sized economy that… Read more »


Yeah it’s interesting isn’t it, how can France get away with a tanker fleet half our size! Maybe because ours are used as part of nato all the time. France is listed as a more powerful millitary than the UK on almost every list, but I’m not so sure when you factor in all other assets ect.


Their carrier won’t be drinking tonnes of fuel every time it deploys and they only have 1 of them. That’s the main reason their refueling fleet is so much smaller. Its still surprising considering how active the French are in the South Pacific they must have refueling options ready out there.

James M

The issue with that is you still need to send tankers for their escorts and for the air wing (at least until we get nuclear-powered planes anyway)

They’re also severely lacking in StratAT, and heavy RW capabilities. It’s the entire reason that we’ve got Chinooks and C-17s in the region in Op NEWCOMBE – to support Op Barkhane.
IIRC they borrowed StratAT from basically everyone in NATO during Op Serval.


Ships that get used more often and that carry large loads do wear out sooner.


Never heard about a £2bn budget. Before it was £1bn, but is this net or gross?


Sorry, that was almost certainly me getting the number wrong. I just remember a press release that gave a definite budget with weasel wording about building at least 2 but hopefully 3 (or something like that). I think I meant to say £1bn. If it did end up only funding 2 ships and my nonsense (£2bn budget) was right then £1bn a ship is nuts. Clearly I mis-remembered and meant to say £1bn.


Very interesting, so could that be blocks built in Spain with final assembly in Belfast? It would solve the problem that H&W don’t have a covered Panel fabrication shop or a workforce with recent experience doing that side of things.

Glass Half Full

Or it could include blocks built in other UK yards, with or without Spanish block builds. If Navantia won the contract then it wouldn’t have to exclude Cammell Laird for example, just because they are part of a competing bid now. It might even include Appledore if the yard is successful in re-starting, in addition to other UK yards. Lots of possible block build “balls up in the air” wrt T31 and FSS build. The other strategic benefit for the UK would be having H&W being commercially viable while maintaining a dry dock large enough for the carriers. Even if… Read more »


Cue the SNP and the betrayal of Scottish shipyards in 10, 9, 8……..

Robert Stevenson

Nothing ever stops jimmy crankie from the snp will always moan, you should count yourselfs lucky she’s never of the news channel in Scotland

Steven Greenall

Good thing we wont have to listen to her for that much longer the scots will vote for independence next year and all the ship building and mod jobs will be brought back to england, i have never been anti Scottish but im that sick of the anti english snp i now think the sooner the scots go their own way the better, i know not all scots share the snp,s stance and the last referendum saw the remain vote win but i think the mood in Scotland is far more anti english now, but i also think a lot… Read more »


We are better off united, I think the media exaggerate the idea that Scottish people want independence.


The media is so dangerous.

Alan Reid

Steven, ” …… I think the mood in Scotland is far more anti-English now”. No – it’s not.
But based on your comments, it seems the mood in your own
front-room is certainly more anti-Scottish!

Steven Greenall

Im not anti Scottish no and i dont dislike the scottish people at all,but im sick of the snp,s constant anti english crap, if it was the other way around would,nt you be the same,so as i said earlier i just think we would be off without scotland now ,but i also think there should be a united ireland, and im not anti irish either

Andy P

Ah, right gotcha, so not anti Scottish etc but in an article that doesn’t even mention Scotland/The SNP/Scottish shipyards/Independence you still manage to latch onto a comment by someone and work yourself up over the Goddamn Jocks……

Its all sounding a bit “I’m not racist but…..”

Just with Jocks…..

Steven Greenall

No your totally wrong I’m not racist at all never have been never will be,but i believe the united kingdom will eventually break up and i dont think its a bad thing,each country should stand on its own two feet,run its own affairs,not be governed by anyone else and not rely on anyone else

Andy P

Totally missed my point but I’m not surprised. I mention racism even as an analogy but WOOOOAHHHH !!!! “I’m not racist, honest”

If I get you right then you’re not for alliances or the like, just countries standing on their own two feet, no need for NATO or economic alliances or the like… Real avant garde thinking there Steven Greenall.


The Country is the UK and we are trying to do this by leaving the vile empire known as eu. Do you think the UK the most successful Nation State the world has ever seen, cannot stand up on it’s own two feet anymore?


The Country is the UK and we are trying to do this by leaving the vile empire known as eu. Do you think the UK the most successful Nation State the world has ever seen, cannot stand up on it’s own two feet anymore?


Speak for yourself mate, I’m British to the core and believe passionately in these islands as a United Kingdom. We would all be diminished if the separatists get their way. The SNP do not represent a majority view.

Andy P

Loving that despite absolutely zero/zilch/nada mention of Scotland in the article some still manage to work themselves into a fury over Wee jimmy. Then picking up the ball and running with it into a full anti-Jock jizz-inducing frenzy. Despite accepting that “not all scots share the snp,s stance and the last referendum saw the remain vote win”…….

Its a good job we’re all open minded and frightfully sophisticated on here eh ? No axes to grind, no sirree….

Need a facepalm gif really.

The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos chicken

I Did a bit of digging and have confirmed what we suspected all along ……you are an snp paid up party member and were seen leaving the party conference in Aberdeen on 15th October!

If this is aimed at me mate, I can assure you I’m no fan of the SNP, equally when the ‘bashing’ goes past the party and becomes a bit of an anti Jock rant (especially on an article that has sod all to do with Scotland) I do get a bit fed up with it. It happens fairly often on here sadly.

I know life is simpler if you can just have goodies and baddies so I’f I’m not with you I must be against you but I find that a bit childish to be honest.

The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos chicken

No no not at all my man , my response was clicked onto mr Stevie g or at least I thought I did. I at no time have ever insinuated you are an snp party member. It is mr g who is within that category. Apologies for any confusion.

No probs mate, the posts do get a bit mixed up on here sometimes and the post you were replying to a a few up.

andy reeves

do they have colour television in scotland yet?or is it like the rest of scotland, black and white, and powered by steam

Baz hoops

I don’t think that anybody in scotland can say it’s a betrayal of there yards ,they have all ready been given all the naval orders what about all the other uk yards.

Andy P

At least give them a chance to get all shouty about it before saying they’re going to get all shouty about it. You’ve maybe noticed but there’s an election going on and RFA’s has slipped waaaayyyy down the stuff to get all shouty about, even for the SNP. I’m just looking forward to next March when it will be open season on Alec Salmond. From what I hear, lots of anecdotal stuff that he’s been a bit ‘handsy’ for a long while. All you cats who are desperate to have a pop at all things Jock will have a field… Read more »


They will be built in Spain & the final rivet in Belfast


My thought exactly


I don’t care where they are built as long as they get built and an order actually gets placed.

What I am curious about is the upto 3 part, what is the number conditional on? Either we have a need for 3 or we don’t.


You should care where they are built. It has huge implications for the future.


British Shipyards, as we know, have always been a breeding ground for militancy, that’s why we haven’t built civilian vessels since the dismal, militant 70s. Jeremy Corbyn’s support for Cammell Lairds to go on strike this year, was just another reminder of Far Left lunacy and its disposition to industrial suicide. Only happy to report that common sense won the day at Lairds, with the workers and management deciding to collectively negotiate the (disputed) interim 12 week period between contracts. Democratic Unions are the voice of the working man, Militant Unions are the Grim Reapers of British Industry. Let’s hope… Read more »


Ah yes I remember the glorious days of the 70s in the shipyards when a man was employed to carry non existent rivets round the yard .
Or the the panel welding team for the port side going on strike because the starboard side panel welders had done some welding on the port side .
Or the best job going shop steward spending your day in the pub whilst be paid by the ship yard.
Weak management, union militancy and political interference destroyed ship building in this country.


No deal!


Given H&W haven’t done such work in quite some time and the workforce is tiny (circa 150) at this stage along with the lack of investment I can’t see how this could be viable without massive external investment and costs added on to the project.

And of course the minor fact of what happened the last time a RFA was built in Belfast…


Time for a rethink on these me thinks £1.5bn for three ships is too much. We can buy 6 Float on Float off vessels commercially and then build mega modules to provide the load. This gives the UK scale and flexibility for the same price. Alternatively we can buy 4 Karel Doormans for this price, An SSS should come in around £300m max, and we need to be far more inventive in our solutions for support ships generally. We have the hull form already (Tide/Aegir) so are halfway there and we have a long term requirement for 16 hulls on… Read more »


Really don’t get your KD obsession. It is basically a small LPH merged with a sealift ship and with some refuelling capacity. We have 2 massive carriers, so hardly need or could fill the helo capacity, and even a cursory look at the number of rigs shows it can’t restore or refuel much beyond a frigate. If you are a very small navy, with 2 LPDs that provide landing craft and troop accommodation – and need something which can refuel accompanying pair of FFDD/OPVs, provide a big boost in helo numbers plus the lane meterage for vehicles that your LPDs… Read more »


Your argument doesn’t stack up I’m afraid We don’t need massive tankers for QEC as we have the tides A KD is better than a bay hands down and better than the forts and can lap replace the albions and argus If we don’t need the capability of these vessels then that is fine but as a replacement for a number of vessels that keep getting mothballed I think the KD class or similar is perfect What I am not suggesting is it replacing FFT’s. but for solid stores and all the other platforms I think it is better than… Read more »


Saying something doesn’t stack up without even addressing a single point is hardly an argument! Better than a Bay at what? It doesn’t have a dock, has massive hangarage that we don’t need and a small tanking ability we don’t need either. It has a lot of sealift which we have a fair amount of already and isn’t a priority (RoRos/Bays). The Bays provide troop accommodation and some additional landing craft/mexeflote (latter of which KD also doesn’t have) – all of which we do need. What would be good is to build a permanent hangar structure on the back of… Read more »


Hi Pigeon, A KD is better than a bay in the capability it brings, it does have command capabilities, it also has 2x LCVP’s and can accommodate up to 350 troops if required, then you add in the medical and aviation capabilities and it is clearly much better. Add on top the stores capability and you have something special I think and hence why I keep pushing it. Unfortunately the UK really can’t afford to have specific hulls now and I would remind you that the Albion class was almost retired this year due to lack of use and cost… Read more »

andy reeves

if they make a good job of it, give them a contract for a second batch of the t31

andy reeves

sheer arrogance, they should be on their knees thanking the great gods of westminster defense, contract awarding the contracts they have the performance and productivity of the clyde yards is an embarrassment, the notion of u.k dogma of warships will only be built in the u.k, is abject nonsense anywhere that can produce, faster cheaper(making the budget go further) vessels should be carefully and given due consideration. i don’t see articles about chinese or american ship being glued together, so why do we accept it from the clyde


Indeed Andy

The key question is how those ships could even leave the yards with these faults.

These ships help protect us and the people building them should have pride in their work. I suspect the individuals involved are still working in the yard and have not been fired as they should have been.

Could be wrong, but doubt it

700 Glengarried Men

Agreed it is embarrassing that ships left the yard with faults ,but let’s keep the head here bad workmen are every where , covering botch jobs , unwilling to take the time to do it right first time. Individual s are at fault here not BAE or sabotage by Scots Hope ALL the work remains in British yards would like to see it using British made steel , Andy R the lowest price is not always the cheapest long term, keeping skills and employment in our towns and cities will payoff long term. Hope to return to the day when… Read more »


Now come on, the ships were not glued together with 2 part araldite adesive glue, but that maybe the future with more development?


You don’t see articles from US or China, because any smaller issues, they keep it quiet.


The UK is not all of a sudden gluing metal ships together with adhesive. GRP use certain glues. If you were to visit VT’s Portsmouth facility in 2006 with the bow section of HMS Daring in the hall, you would see a few quality control chalk marks saying grind out and do again, or words to the effect (VT’s Portsmouth had a automated panel line, but did not have panel lines for welding curved panels or have a unit panel line be it for curved structures or 3d units, so I assume was all done with other means of welding,… Read more »