The Ministry of Defence has issued a ‘Request for Information’ to industry looking for British shipyards to participate in the Fleet Solid Support Ship programme.

The RFI states:

The Authority is interested in expressions of interest from UK shipyards who are capable of making a meaningful contribution to the manufacture of three (3) Fleet Solid Support (FSS) ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) and Royal Navy (RN) by 2032. In line with the Contract Notice for the FSS Procurement published on 21st May 2021, one of the Authority’s Procurement Objectives is that integration of all FSS ships and installation of sensitive systems subject to national security restrictions will be carried out in the UK.”

The request also states:

“The Procurement Kick-Off event will mark the start of the Competitive Procurement Phase (CPP) with Bidders and UK shipyards, and is scheduled to take place at the Aztec Hotel, Bristol on 1 September 2021. UK shipyards will be invited to attend from 12.00 midday for the networking segment of this Kick-Off Event.

The opportunity for UK shipyards to become involved formally in the Procurement will be via Bidders in the FSS Procurement, representatives of whom will be present at the Kick-Off event following the award of CPP Contracts. Agendas for the Kick-Off event will be provided as part of the formal invitation.”

What are the Fleet Solid Support Ships?

Earlier this year, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace launched a competition to build three new Fleet Solid Support Ships to provide vital support to Royal Navy operations across the world.

The vessels will provide munitions, food, stores and provisions to support the UK Carrier Strike Group at sea.

DE&S’ Director General Ships, Vice Admiral Chris Gardner, said previously:

“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. 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.”

 

A concept image.

 

What’s the status of the programme?

The Fleet Solid Support Ship project has been given an “amber/red” rating by the Infrastructure Project Authority, warning that the cancellation and resumption of the competition to build the vessels placed the £1.6bn project at significant risk.

The project was suspended in October 2019 following suggestions that efforts were being made to relaunch the project with a requirement that the ships be built in the UK. The competition was later relaunched, you can read more about this at the link below.

£1.6bn Fleet Solid Support Ship project at risk

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Pete
Pete
9 days ago

Great to see process get underway …again… but interesting that the focus appears to be on shipyards who can make a ‘meaningful contribution’ (which sounds like as part of a multi yard modular approach). Has the conceot and FEED design and marine architecture etc already been finalised or is that running in parallel? I would have thought the initial focus would be shortlisting lead contractors who can design, project manage and integrate multi other parties including various yards.

Pete
Pete
9 days ago
Reply to  Pete

…concept and FEED design…

AV
AV
9 days ago

Sounds to me this is moving towards the Tide type construction…ie overseas and fit out in the uk! ☹😤

Steve
Steve
9 days ago
Reply to  AV

At this stage, who really cares, we just need the ships. It’s not like this is an additional capability that non-essential and can wait whilst endless policitical deals are done and be used as an endless PR stunt for brexit.

AV
AV
9 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Disagree totally, these are the very ships that will help rebuild a national ship building capability…

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
9 days ago
Reply to  AV

Bucket of cold water truth time AV: The UK has a national ship building capacity but it is narrowly focussed primarily on complex warship construction for a single customer the UK MOD. Due to feast and famine when it comes to orders over the decades it has little to capacity to do anything else. In respect of commercial ship building three FSS will not be the catalyst that rebuilds that as a national industry especially those built using distributed construction. The shipping industry buys commercial ships from those yards that can supply them quickly and at the lowest price. A… Read more »

AV
AV
9 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

Good points but your post simply highlights the reality of the situation as is. I’m not for one moment suggesting that these 3 ships would suddenly change that but its got to start somewhere. Decades of decline from a once great shipbuilding nation needs refreshed thinking and a fundamental shift in attitude. The reality of where we are now shouldn’t be reason for more of the same.

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
9 days ago
Reply to  AV

Well I hate to break it to you but it was decades of decline from a large but deeply inefficient shipbuilding industry that relied upon a captive market. A fundamental shift in attitude won’t change the fact that a shipyard worker in the UK expects to be paid far more than one in Vietnam. I also beg to differ you very much did state that these 3 FSS would be the catalyst to rebuild UK commercial shipbuilding.

AV
AV
8 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

Lol, this is the very attitude that’s got us to where we are!…tell that to the good people who build boaty mc boatface!..
Love splitting hairs with people that love splitting hairs but ‘help’ is not the same as ‘the’ catalyst. Trained welders, dock space (indeed yards themselves) and supply chains take time to build back up. That kind of build up takes decades, any orders are good orders and all ‘help’.

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
8 days ago
Reply to  AV

Boaty McBoatface is late, over budget and has had numerous defects. It would have been quicker and easier to go to a foreign yard for that contract. It is not about splitting hairs but rather simple reality of economics! You can build up supply chains and trained welders but that doesn’t mean there is a market for what they could make. The commercial shipping industry is ruthless about the bottom line and there is no way that the UK ship building industry can compete with yards in Asia on that. European shipyards are struggling and the 1000lb Gorilla in the… Read more »

AV
AV
8 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

Dont dispute anything your saying but simply we shouldn’t be basing a long term strategy on where we are now. Be that shipping, aerospace nor automotive industries.

Andy P
Andy P
8 days ago
Reply to  AV

I think that would require a massive culture shift AV and while I doubt many on here are against it, that doesn’t mean its likely to happen. Really not wanting to get into politics but can you see the current rulers being keen on forcing companies to ‘buy British’. While the alternative are unlikely to be in for a while, they don’t seem too likely to push it either.

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
8 days ago
Reply to  AV

I’m not against long term strategic planning or growth in the UK Shipbuilding industry but it needs to be realistic in scope. Ideally we need growth in niche areas of specialism and build upon that.

AV
AV
8 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

Yes get where you’re coming from. I just dont think there’s an easy route to specialism but nor do I think we’re ever going to be able to compete with say the South Koreans. I do however firmly believe in that one thing usually leads to another and that sometimes a less than ideal project can have significant benefits to an industry. Take the 2nd Rivers for example. No one in their right mind would commission a batch of those at that price point or specification but it was a necessary evil (albeit a contractual one) to get us forwards… Read more »

AV
AV
8 days ago
Reply to  AV

This spells it out clearer than I can ever convey. Cheers

Andy P
Andy P
8 days ago
Reply to  AV

No offence AV but the guy who has just bought H&W and Appledore has a vested interest in the UK placing orders in his yards so will be pushing for just that.

I’m all for more ship building in the UK but having another nose in the government spending trough maybe isn’t the best way to do it. You can’t blame him for wanting his share though.

Andy a
Andy a
8 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

The largest shipyards in the world include Fincantieri in Italy, Meyer Werft in Germany, STX Europe with locations in Finland and France, there not exactly going out of business. Even with EU rules about competition they find ways of fudging the rules for stategic industry, something we seem unable to do

AlexS
AlexS
8 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

By revenue 2019
1Hyundai Heavy IndustriesUSD 39.33 billionUlsan, South Korea
2STX Offshore & ShipbuildingUSD 16.96 billionChangwon, South Korea
3DSMEUSD 12.76 billionSouth Gyeongsang, South Korea
4Samsung Heavy IndustriesUSD 8.58 billionSamsung Town, Seoul, South Korea
5Sumitomo Heavy IndustriesUSD 6.59 billionTokyo, Japan
6FincantieriUSD 5.17 billionTrieste, Italy
7United Shipbuilding CorporationUSD 5.1 billionMoscow and Saint Petersburg, Russia
8CSSCUSD 29.79 billionHaidian District, Beijing, China
9Sembcorp MarineUSD 1.18 billionTanjong Kling Road, Singapore
10Tsuneishi ShipbuildingUSD 1.55 billionHiroshima, Japan

Other source
https://www.maritimemanual.com/shipbuilding-companies/

Andy a
Andy a
5 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Exactly there are several economies on par with ours there. If they can make it work why can’t we? Japan Italy, US has shipyards?
Unless it’s that before other governments are subsidising but we played by Eu rules, unlike some even in the eu

AlexS
AlexS
3 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

US do not have shipyards except those that work for Government so they are in same situation as UK – maybe even worse since they had to got a frigate from….. Italy Japan have and Italy have, but they are established, have a lot reputation. Fincantieri have in their books something like 40 cruise ships in project or being build. So unless UK shipyard have much less cost or have some brilliant idea they are dead in water. Less cost can be achieved by subsidies by taxpayer, but money that goes there do not go to other places where might… Read more »

Last edited 3 days ago by AlexS
Andy a
Andy a
3 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Hardly cos they launch enough hard ware to keep multiple yards going

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne
8 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

I think you have missed out that foreign shipbuilders like the Korea’s are being sanctioned by the WTO for illegal subsidies:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/02/03/business/japan-wto-south-korean-shipbuilding/

you also miss that net tax take from building in the UK.

AlexS
AlexS
8 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

The biggest European shipbuilding company is not Damen, it is Fincantieri.

Last edited 8 days ago by AlexS
Andy a
Andy a
8 days ago
Reply to  AV

Think this disgusting attitude of “ship building industry is gone so it’s too late” is ridiculous. Also so what if U.K. workers are paid more? Usually when done abroad half of it needs correcting anyway. The major point previous governments have ignored on both sides is as long as we are less than double the price it’s better in the U.K. 1 it’s a national security issue, the 5 global economies abov us would never do this abroad or allow industries to fade for national security reasons. 2 it costs far more than they say to fix all the issues… Read more »

AV
AV
8 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

Exactly 👍….have you viewed the link I posted above…great read.

Andy a
Andy a
8 days ago
Reply to  AV

Just read mate👍

AV
AV
8 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

Nice one, sums it up better than anything I could possibly post. Plus highlights the benefit of MOD contracts to a resurgent commercial shipping sector. 100 vessels!…we could only dream!

AlexS
AlexS
8 days ago
Reply to  AV

How do you start an industry with no reputation of quality, time schedule commercial shipbuilding with high prices?

You don’t, unless heavily subsidised by British taxpayers.

Lee1
Lee1
7 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

There is a big difference to the financial viability of giving the contract to a UK yard and the ability or willingness of those yards to build such ships. You are correct that if the cost is a bit above foreign yards then it makes sense to build them here as the additional cost is balanced by tax takings etc. However we just do not have that sort of capacity and I suspect they would cost massively more than purchasing a hull from Korea. To the point where it is simply not viable for what ought to be reasonably cheap… Read more »

expat
expat
7 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

Andy from what I see people in this country are very quick to condemn the government for not buying British, but are more than happy to have German car parked outside. Pre covid we imported nearly £60b in value of vehicles. If 10% more people bought British made cars that’s £6b p.a. plus for the economy which makes a £1.5b ship building contract that will probably amount to less than £0.3b p.a look fairly insignificant. The success of our industries is far more in the hands of the ordinary people than the government imo. Successive governments have award every contract… Read more »

Lee1
Lee1
7 days ago
Reply to  AV

It can’t start with 3 ships. To have a national shipbuilding strategy we need more yards capable of building lots of ships. The promise of just 3 ships is not going to make companies take the risk of building all that infrastructure. If the promise was for 20-30 ships then it would be worth the effort and risk but that is not going to happen. There are plenty of shipyards all over the world that have perfected building these cheap commodity ships any UK yard looking to go into that market would be competing directly for their business and cheap… Read more »

JOHNT
JOHNT
8 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

Last time I checked only one small yard was left that was focused on commercial shipbuilding and that concentrated on small ferries for the Scottish islands.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
8 days ago
Reply to  JOHNT

And those orders come from the Scottish government🙈

AV
AV
8 days ago
Reply to  JOHNT

See above link, cheers.

John Clark
John Clark
9 days ago
Reply to  AV

I sort of agree with both of you, on one hand, absolutely, they need to be part of the UK shipbuilding strategy …. On the other, ask the RN and they will tell you they couldn’t give a rat’s ass who builds them, give us the bloody ships!!

George Parker
George Parker
8 days ago
Reply to  AV

AV. I’m with you. It is time for GB to launch a new ship building facility. Or at least revitalise an old one. Not modular construction, a covered single site full build location, with a skilled workforce. NOT a stunt. A much needed core industry.

AV
AV
8 days ago
Reply to  George Parker

👍

AV
AV
8 days ago
Reply to  George Parker

Evening George, think that’s what they’re trying to put back in place at H&W Belfast. If you’ve time please view my above link to this. Cheers

Lee1
Lee1
7 days ago
Reply to  George Parker

And who is going to do that? Are we talking about a government owned yard? What will it do in the large number of years between orders?

Steve
Steve
8 days ago
Reply to  AV

The issue with the national ship building capability is too small orders that are constantly delayed. Yet another massively delayed order of 2 ships is not going to rebuild anything. The industry needed to learn to stand on its own two legs and not rely on government orders, which it failed to do decades ago whilst foreign yards did and now get the orders as they have the experience and facilities for commercial construction.

AV
AV
8 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Please check out the link posted above, great read and clearly shows the difference a couple of hulls could make. Cheers

Steve
Steve
8 days ago
Reply to  AV

I haven’t had a chance to read the link fully, but its an interview with the head of a ship building firm, who is clearly biased towards ensuring the money goes his way. I would rather an independent review that shows that public money spent propping up the ship building industry was good value for money for the tax payer. I would like someone to explain to me what the national defence arguement is, considering most of our military gear is now brought and made overseas and couldn’t be domesticated in the event of a war. Even the stuff we… Read more »

AV
AV
8 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I think if you read the link you’ll get a better perspective…great overview of a military/commercial private venture direction..

Lee1
Lee1
7 days ago
Reply to  AV

How is that going to happen if no UK shipyard wants to build them? (As was the case in the original bidding process)

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
9 days ago
Reply to  AV

Hi AV, I think it is more likely to be assembly and fit out in the UK as a minimum with the possibility of some modules being built overseas i.e. by Navantia in Spain. I suspect the reason for this is the recent takeover by Navantia of Harland & Wolf and Appledore. Navantia have been pushing a technology transfer element as H&F in particular have been out of the big ship construction business for quite sometime I believe. As such there is the possibility of a reasonable competition between Navantia and Cammell Laird could lead to a pretty respectable outcome… Read more »

AV
AV
9 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Yes agree …would be sensible and balanced whilst H&W investment would be industry driven.
We just need a steady turn towards a larger established domestic workforce and capability.
This isn’t going to happen overnight as quite frankly the capability simply isn’t there at the moment to pick up all these projects.

AV
AV
9 days ago
Reply to  AV

*capacity

AV
AV
8 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Dont think Navantia have taken over H&W. They simply have an agreement in place with the owners Infrastrata to use the sites. Cheers

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
8 days ago
Reply to  AV

Hi AV,

Thanks for the correction, I believe you are right.

Cheers CR

Lee1
Lee1
7 days ago
Reply to  AV

Which was the original plan anyway…

James H
James H
9 days ago

Which shipyards have the capacity for this or will it be like the carriers and many yards build pieces to spread the work?
What’s the most realistic options.

Dern
Dern
9 days ago
Reply to  James H

H&W Belfast and CL are the two realistically available yards with the space to build FSS.

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
9 days ago
Reply to  James H

None have the capacity or the appropriate experience, which is why wording about “meaningful contribution to the manufacture” have slipped into the RFI.

James H
James H
9 days ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

So constructed probably in Spain in modules then assembled here and call it British built?

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
8 days ago
Reply to  James H

Maybe, there are a number of possibilities.

Steve R
Steve R
9 days ago

I noticed it specifically states three ships, not 2-3 as before. Sounds hopeful we’ll actually get 3 then.

Andy P
Andy P
9 days ago
Reply to  Steve R

3 ships is great but I had hoped we’d be looking at getting them sooner than 2032.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
9 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Hi Andy P,

I agree. However I read that to be the delivery of all 3 vessels by 2032 so a replacement for Fort Victoria in 8ish years time being optimistic. 11 years to run a restarted competition undertake at least the detailed design and build of 3 ships is pretty good by resent standards.

We’ll see.

Cheers CR

Andy P
Andy P
9 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Rereading it, I think you’ve got the right of it CR, it does seem to be for the 3 of them and that does seem a realistic timescale (to this amateur anyway).

It won’t be long before we’re ranting about them not having any Seaceptor fitted and not enough 57 mil bofors etc.  😂 

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
9 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

I suspect they will have the capability to carry Phalanx… oh and a few machine guns.

Just to help it along  😂  😂 

Cheers CR

Andy P
Andy P
9 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

 😂  ….. its an outrage !  😡 

John Clark
John Clark
8 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

I’m not an unreasonable man, but I would hope for a “fitted for, but not with” magazine and structural well for a single triple 12″ naval gun turret with a vertical launch cruise missile silo built on top and direct energy weapons mounted on the sides….

Trevor
Trevor
8 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

I think you forgot the phased array radar and ABM capability…. 😀 

John Clark
John Clark
8 days ago
Reply to  Trevor

Now that’s just unreasonable Trevor, let’s keep it to realistic requirements 🤣🤣

Trevor
Trevor
8 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

OK John, I was trying to cover for potential difficulties in supplying your triple 12″ turret. If I recall corectly, the RN last specified guns of that calibre in 1909 (and never as a triple) so retained stocks might be a problem. Big guns were always the critical long lead item anyway and I kinda doubt anybody knows how to make them any more.

Andy P
Andy P
8 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Anything less is a dereliction of duty by The Pusser, heads should roll…..

Now where do we stand with the helo facilities ?????  🤔 

I’m leaning towards a hanger that can accommodate 4 Chinooks. Plus a shitload of assorted drones natch.  😉 

Ron
Ron
8 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Andy P, and why not. Fort Vic was designed to carry Sea Wolf, but it was never fitted. Support ships will operate sometimes alone as they will need to go to a port somewhere for reloading of stores. So a good self defence system is needed, either that or they will need a frigate escort. So a fit of 12 Sea Ceptors or a Sea RAM would be a good idea plus two Phalanx would give the FSS a good all round anti air ability. I know if I was an enemy commander I would take out the supply ships… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
8 days ago
Reply to  Ron

Uh huh and every manjack of us on here agrees with you what then ????

I’m with CR, it will have 1 or 2 (sometimes) phalanx and maybe a couple of 30mm or the like. Now that we have the 40 and 57mm’s I would be happy to have either (or both) of these, same with a short range anti air/missile system but if it doesn’t I’ll not be taking it personally.

Its funny though how its always the bangsticks and missiles (or lack of) that seem to upset folk the most, not the speed/range/ECM capability etc.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
7 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

And for a supply ship speed, range and ECM, etc. might be the more useful as you may well ‘hear’ the enemy approaching and be able to avoid contact in the first place…

Just a thought…

Cheers CR

Viceroy
Viceroy
9 days ago

Looks like good news. Was a bit concerned by the idea of the MRSS that seemed to be floating around. Do we think that three ships means rule of three or perhaps two operational simultaneously?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
9 days ago
Reply to  Viceroy

Hi Viceroy,

Probably 2 available most of the time, but that does not mean actually at sea. Basically, anything between 48hours and a couple of weeks at normal peace time tier 1 readiness means that if you need them in a rush then they can be brought forward quickly. Sorry if you already knew this.

Cheers CR

Viceroy
Viceroy
9 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Thanks for the reply. One in maintenance or refit, one working up and one at sea at all times? Presumably aligned with QEC operational tempo? I’m also wondering about FSS requirements for the planned LRGs, particularly the East of Suez one.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
9 days ago
Reply to  Viceroy

Hi Viceroy, Pretty much yes, although ‘maintenance’ does not necessarily mean a lower readiness as this is often carried out by the crew with support from the dockyard. The work undertaken is such that you can quickly put the ship back together can get out to sea within 48 to 72 hours. Gunbuster, who has actual experience in this field, gave a very could explanation of the difference between maintenance alongside and a full on refit. Unfortunately, in my exprience the word refit is often used to describe a maintenance period… Confusing, eh! Certainly had me fooled 🙂 As for… Read more »

Dern
Dern
9 days ago
Reply to  Viceroy

MRSS is still floating around, but it’s not designed to be a FSS replacement project (in fact it’s not meant to carry dry stores at all AFAIK), it’s a Hydrographic survey ship/Bay/Albion replacement IIRC.

Paul.P
Paul.P
9 days ago

So I interpret ‘meaningful contribution’ to mean build modules and/or assemble and/ or fit out.
Navantia design > H&W > Cammell Laird > Appledore?

Last edited 9 days ago by Paul.P
ChariotRider
ChariotRider
9 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Hi Paul.P,

I’d add BMT to the list on the design side. Babcock might pile in on the build side as there is little or nothing in the big dry docks at Rosyth at the moment I believe.

However, I think that BAE Systems have the T26 and submarine programme and Babcock the T31 so there may be a desire to spread the treasure around the country a bit. Big programmes like this are as much about politics as capability, which is fair enough given that tax payers across the country are footing the bill.

Cheers CR

Paul.P
Paul.P
8 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Hi CR, good spot, I think BMT did the design for the Tides so they must be in contention.
It’s good to see this project moving forwards and encouraging the way they have framed the process; similar to the T31 RFI process but with ‘ contribution’ making an assumption of split site build. Basically show us what you can do.

DJE
DJE
8 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

BMT are partnered with Navantia. I believe the plan is to build the first hull in Spain then the next two in H&W. Staff from H&W will be trained in Spain then go back to H&W to outfit and build ships 2 and 3. That way skills are relearned and expanded, H&W gets work, Navantia gets a look-in on UK business and the ship building load is spread around the UK. Sounds like a good plan.

Paul.P
Paul.P
7 days ago
Reply to  DJE

Wow! Sounds like they have their ducks in a row as the saying goes..

AV
AV
8 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

What’s the plan for Rosyth docks post carriers?…not even sure they’ve bid for the carrier dry dock maintenance contract.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
9 days ago

To paraphrase an old saying ” a week is a long time in shipbuilding”. Last week these ships were under threat. Now, apparently they never were.

David Steeper
David Steeper
8 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Always take a news headline with a large pinch of salt. Same happened with Tempest.

Steve
Steve
9 days ago

So if i get this right we now only have 1 solid stores ship supporting the fleet? the other two Forts laid up and won’t get extra capacity for probably min 5 years? so much for global 🙁 need to refit another Fort so we can actually support both carriers and have 1 available 365

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
9 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Hi Steve, Yup, one solid store ship. So yeh are ability to support a CSG on our own is limited by that ship’s availability. However, we are still better off than the French Navy that only has one carrier, one of our carriers can at least pull alongside an allied store ship to resupply while we regenerate the FSS capability. When the CDG is in refit that’s a big and predictable hole in French capability. Certianly, we should have had this capability sorted by now, its not as if the MoD / previous governments did not know this was coming.… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
9 days ago
Reply to  Steve

The poor state of the RFA, seriously impeads and threatens the sovereign CVS capability….

We’ve allowed the once hugely impressive RFA to run into the ground over the last 30 years.

The RFA needs a ground up recapitalisation programme, with immediate effect, to match the Royal Navy recap programme.

RobW
RobW
8 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Isn’t that already happening though?

4 x tides
3 x FSS
5/6 x MRSS (allegedly)

Pretty impressive rebuild if it is done right.

Peter S
Peter S
9 days ago

” Networking segment of this Kick off event”. FFS who writes this crap? At least for once we were spared ” world leading” and ” global Britain”.
Sort of good news, though I still don’t understand why it has taken so long to get to this stage.

Andy P
Andy P
9 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

I tend to skim these statements, they’re total bollox business speak and it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re designed to put people off reading them. I tend to read the comments by people who have taken the time to ‘desconstruct’ them. The alternative is those who utter such drivel genuinely think people are impressed by it… No ! Shirley not  😮 

Peter S
Peter S
9 days ago

Does anyone know why these ships are so expensive? They are not going to be full of high end sensors and weapons and we are told that steel is cheap.
I know RFA Victoria went way over budget to>£200m back in 1993 but that was partly because of the rebuild costs after the IRA bombing.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
9 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Hi Peter, With regards to cost I think they are going to be pretty big. This article on Navy Lookout from 2017 suggested 30,000tons and I think there will be some level of automated cargo handling system (although I vaguely remember reading that a QEC type handling system will not now be specified). I also think that they have a higher level of damage control fitted than would be expected on a purely merchant spec’ed ship. I know that they will be built to merchant standards with defence standards applied in specific areas. For example, there will obviously be a… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
8 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Thanks for the info. I tried to access the Gov site detailing the specification but couldn’t. I presume that they will be double hulled like the Tides?
Given the size of the carriers and the likelihood they will mostly operate with an air group well below capacity, are they less dependent on resupply than previous UK carriers?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
7 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Hi Peter, While I was still in the business I was involved in responding to a number of RFI’s. They are very very boring things to fill out. The RFI will describe what information that MoD is looking for and consists of a standard questionaire to establish the basic capabilities and financial viability of the enterprise. As such it will likely not include a detailed specification of the platform to be built as it is unnecessary for this exercise. Rather they will ask about the yards fabrication capabilities, for example, areas of particular expertise and recent projects with some kind… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
9 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

HI Peter,

Just replied to your post with regards to the cost, but it is ‘awaiting approval’..?

Cheers CR

John Raho
John Raho
9 days ago

Should Scotland’s shipyards be excluded until after any referendum. They may become a foreign country.

Rob
Rob
8 days ago

With the Scottish yards full and with an impending referendum on Scottish independence coming along the road the MOD would be wise to build capacity in other areas of the union. These builds should be used to resurrect ship building, in blocks, in Northern Ireland, the north east, north west and south of England.

AV
AV
8 days ago
Reply to  Rob

Spot on!…

Sean
Sean
8 days ago
Reply to  Rob

There’s no impending legal referendum, and the Catalans can tell you what happens when you hold an illegal one 🤷‍♂️

Andy P
Andy P
8 days ago
Reply to  Rob

and with an impending referendum on Scottish independence coming along the road”

Did I miss something on the news this morning ????

Neville FISHER
Neville FISHER
8 days ago
Reply to  Rob

Absolutley correct. I recall the problems of kick starting our submarine manufacturing for B2TC (ASTUTE class). Though skills may be different to shipbuilding we perhaps need to consider whether it is possible to somehow integrate the building of ships and submarines to maintain a UK manufacturing ‘drum beat’. It would make sense to ensure that we have commonality by using ‘Open Systems’ on the electronic side. Might we consider using submarine nuclear reactors in large surface vessels – greener, saves having vessels tied alongside when we cannot afford the fuel, etc., though I accept other limitations. With the exception of… Read more »

Last edited 8 days ago by Neville FISHER
Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
8 days ago

If this is about starting a ship building industry it has to been at the correct sites and will be government funded for a while as I doubt the uk can compete on all but highly specialist ships. Call it rebuilding the rfa etc, For area Glasgow and rosyth are only an hour away from each other by land so skills can be shared. Northern Ireland again is not that far away from Glasgow by sea. So first thought has to be, how and where can we build ships that are in demand and are we able to compete in… Read more »

Leslie Leveson
Leslie Leveson
8 days ago

British shipbuilders are one of the best or the best in the world as history will define
It is a good policy to utilise the skills which this country has in building
We need to build these as Commander Rasputin is expanding its naval fleets and also the Chinese Dragon spreading too.
The Royal Navy should have had a increase in fleet capacity years back down to previous cut backs.
This is welcome news and long may it continue
Stabilty one day Instability the next day.

AlexS
AlexS
8 days ago
Reply to  Leslie Leveson

There are no world commercial shipbuilding of note in Great Britain, same more or less in USA. Major UK and US shipbuilders are not on free world market, they basically just build warships for the government.

peter french
peter french
8 days ago

AS i recall this build was put out to tender some two or three years ago and no British yard was interestered Yet the howls from the Unions ignored that fact .
Also it appears that we could not compete on price with Korea et al
So the same matters today and Tax payers will have to sub the extra for a Brtish build

AlexS
AlexS
8 days ago
Reply to  peter french

GDP PPP per capita
United Kingdom 2020 44,916.2
Korea 2020 43,124.3

It is not like they have very cheap salaries…

Peter S
Peter S
8 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

We don’t pay on the basis of PPP but on the value of nominal currencies. Korean wages are significantly lower than in the UK. That’s why Korean built ships are cheaper. It’s also why Denmark had the hulls of their Iver Huitfeldt frigates built in Estonia and Lithuania.

AlexS
AlexS
6 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

That is correct but the wages are not significantly lower without PPP. about 4/5.

Barry Charles Searle
Barry Charles Searle
8 days ago

All New build ships for the Royal Navy must be built in a U.K. shipyards

James Fennell
James Fennell
12 seconds ago

To be optimistic is seems that there is an attempt to decouple the design and build contracts – a bit like with the carriers. Design went to Thales, but the ACA was formed to build the ships under the leadership of BAe (the losing design authority). So maybe the winning design will then be rolled into an ACA type contract for the winning builders – ensuring the work is spread around the UK shipyards. H&W, Babcock Rosyth have yards that could carry out final assembly of large vessels (H&W will need investment), but many others could and should build blocks.