The Ministry of Defence has once again confirmed that the Fleet Solid Support ships will, for the most part, be British built.

Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement, said:

“For the purposes of procurement the Fleet Solid Support ships are considered to be warships. This has significance in the procurement route we choose to adopt, and we are not pursuing an international competition. This does not preclude international bidders from participating if they can meet the UK’s national security requirements, for example through a close partnership with UK companies.”

The Ministry of Defence also said previously:

“A competition to build three Fleet Solid Support warships – which will launch in Spring 2021 – will help revitalise British shipbuilding by requiring a significant proportion of the build and assembly work to be carried out in the UK. International companies will be invited to work in collaboration with UK firms to feed in their skills and expertise, but the successful manufacturing team must be led by a British company. This will have a huge impact on the local economies across the UK where shipbuilding is a prominent feature.”

So, what does this mean? Well, it seems foreign companies are expected to be involved in the project, perhaps with some small level of building work done overseas, and their modules will be shipped to the UK to be integrated with the ships.

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

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?

Last 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.

£1.6bn Fleet Solid Support Ship project at 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 here.

Contracts have also been awarded to four consortia, which the Ministry of Defence insist “include significant UK involvement”, to develop their bids to build three new Fleet Solid Support ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

The Ministry of Defence said in a news release:

“The award of the Competitive Procurement Phase (CPP) design contracts, each initially worth around £5 million, means the Fleet Solid Support competition has successfully moved to the next stage. The contracts, negotiated with industry by Defence Equipment and Support, the procurement organisation for the Ministry of Defence, deliver on the UK Government’s promise to progress the design and build of the FSS ships to support the Royal Navy’s Carrier Task Groups. The final manufacture contract will be awarded to a UK company acting either solely or as part of a consortium.”

The four consortia awarded contracts are (in alphabetical order):

  • Larsen & Toubro, which includes UK company Leidos Innovations.
  • Serco /Damen, which includes UK company Serco.
  • Team Resolute, which includes UK companies Harland & Wolff and BMT.
  • Team UK, which includes UK companies Babcock and BAE Systems.

The Ministry of Defence also said in the aforementioned news release:

“The FSS competition remains on track to deliver the ships the Royal Fleet Auxiliary need to support the Royal Navy, whilst maximising the social value contribution shipbuilding can make in the UK, including encouraging investment in domestic shipyards, whilst balancing the need to deliver value for money. The commitment to this vital capability was outlined in the Defence Command Paper published earlier this year and is supported by the £24 billion uplift to the defence budget over the next four years. The FSS ships will increase the capability and development of the Carrier Strike Group to operate globally by replenishing its stores and ammunition.”

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Christopher Smith
Christopher Smith
1 month ago

When exactly will this order be placed ?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago

A very good question and one I can’t find an answer to.

I suspect that is classified on political grounds!

Cheers CR

DMJ
DMJ
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Or probably dependant on what the options are at the end of the current phase.

Giles Kirby
Giles Kirby
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Will keep an eye out in the Navy News!

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago

Indeed, too much talk and not enough action! This has been delayed, delayed and delayed again……somebody needs to take their head out of their backside and get on with it!!!!

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul42
DMJ
DMJ
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

And make a decision like Ajax?

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  DMJ

It doesn’t have to be as polar as that mate. These have been in the pipeline for quite a while now so I can understand the frustration to get them built. While they’re calling them warships for political reasons, they’re a lot less complex so once a design is selected they should be able to ‘knock them out’ reasonably quickly, they just need to pick a design.

DRS
DRS
1 month ago

As per monthy python “Just get on with it!”. I know we want to have some standard but boy do we take forever. Downselect a design and give it to two consortia to do and whichever executes better the first shop gets a third or even perhaps a fourth to do.

Why only 3 I thought we had 4 tankers so why not 4?

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
1 month ago
Reply to  DRS

A Fleet Solid Support Ship is a type of Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ship designed to supply solids (otherwise known as dry stores), such as ammunition, explosives and food to Royal Navy ships at sea.

Tankers are different. They supply liquid fuel.

I would like to see H&W in Belfast win this sort of work from the MoD

C S Morton
C S Morton
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

As an investor in H&W I also would like to see ‘H&W Belfast win this sort of work from the MoD’ – news hopefully this month.

Angus
Angus
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

H&W did a real job on the last Fleet Support Ship they build, Nothing worked and had to have special one of kit made for it to operate. We want a team that will follow the design and make them for the prices agreed and that actually work. Sorry H&W but you lost those skills a long long long time ago.

Jon
Jon
1 month ago

Before the end of May ’23.

The most recent statement I can find is:

The project is on track to receive final manufacture tenders in July 2022. The Ministry of Defence expects to be able to award a manufacture contract for the FSS ships within two years of competition launch in May 2021.

As to why it’s expected to take up to 10 months to assess the tenders, I don’t know. If they’ve been keeping their eyes on the ball during the design process, there should be no surprises in the actual tender documents.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jon
Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

There is a train of thought that we don’t yet have enough qualified people across the various disciplines required to get this project started. We don’t yet have a design-why not? Can’t put out a tender to build something that doesn’t exist other than in a picture!! It wouldn’t surprise me if part of this build did go abroad, it’s not as if we haven’t had enough time to get all our ‘ducks in a row’ over the last decade or so. We have known about this requirement since we started out building the carriers, they are now in service,… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

i suppose it depends if the delay in procurement is around design expertise or a need for in year savings delaying procurement. Putting off a procurement process is a classic way of generating In year savings, even if the overall cost ends up greater in the end.

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Well yes, that could well be the reason, or part of!
Given that this is a critical capability, not only for CS, but for the RN as a whole, you would like to think that we would get on and get them designed/built.
Personally I don’t see money being the issue, not with the recent £24 billion uplift, no need for in year savings. Which arguably leaves us with a different issue/s. Given we haven’t even got a design out, it does make you wonder…….

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

You would think that a solid stores ship would not be that difficult, although it’s been a long time since we have built one so maybe that particular set of expertise is no longer easy to find ( I would image ships full of explosive stuff that needs to be moved around and safely offloaded is a bit specific and specialist ).

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I’m no expert, indeed far from it, but what I have noticed, despite all the good talk ref the NSBS, there are precious few actual designs being produced. Other then the very nice pictures from prospective bidders!!
A pretty picture isn’t a ship that can be built.
The FSSS competition was started in spring 21, we still don’t have a design, no sign of one anytime soon, something is amiss somewhere…..

johan
johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

Yeah, so Critical we haven’t done it for decades. that’s why there is a rush.
why no one will push the button.

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  johan

You can’t build something that hasn’t been designed yet, which is sort of my point.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

That could be a big issue if a design hasn’t been made by any of the 4 bids. I would of thought that weapons handling and storage would be possible as it would of had to be done for the carriers.
I also would of thought having a design would be a requirement to submitting a bid but I don’t know much about how the process works.

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I’ve no real idea either, but would have thought a very detailed design would be necessary for a bid to even get a look in!
By all accounts it’s not a simple process, lots of different conflicting requirements are needed, lots of different design skills by various people no doubt. Just strikes me as odd that after close to 18 months things are still pretty silent on the subject……..

Jon
Jon
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

None of the recent uplift was added to the procurement budget for ships.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jon
Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

Perhaps not directly, but there is a funding line for them, and the uplift eases pressures on the budget in general, so funding the requirement shouldn’t be a issue.

Martin
Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

10 months in the MOD is considered lightning fast.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

My thought exactly, stop talking polictics to see the daily express /mail readers and actually place an order and put money down .

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago

Hmm, still concerning that this project is on the amber / red list. Still there is no bad news – yet! I note that there does not appear to be any indication of when the CPP is due to complete or when the first drafts are required to be submitted. I always get a bit nervous when projects don’t come with an end date… I also see on Navy Lookout that RFA Argus will be extended beyond 2030, so will be 50 years old before being replaced by the MRSS, a project that, as far as I am aware, hasn’t… Read more »

Bill
Bill
1 month ago

If you’re still looking for the Brexit dividend, then here it is.

Jon
Jon
1 month ago

Nothing has happened. Nothing has changed.

Kevan Jones’s written question, which prompted this article — is the Fleet Solid Support Ship assessed to be a warship — was seemingly asking for reassurance that the build won’t go abroad. I have no idea why. Isn’t that question long since settled? it was one of a slew of questions on FSSS that gained no new information.

For example he also asked about the FSSS contract value. A question easily dodged by Quin, who answered the current design contract was about £20m and that there was no build contract as yet.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jon
Steve M
Steve M
1 month ago

Confused i thought they had scrapped FSSS & LSS and were going with MRSS?

RobW
RobW
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve M

LSS has been scrapped. The MRSS is slated to replace the Albions, Bays and Argus, while also undertaking the role envisaged for LSS. The FSSS is still going ahead as it’s a separate requirement.

Val
Val
1 month ago

I would suggest that any modules built by foreign firms be taken out here in the UK. This would bring the latest knowledge for us to learn, keep taxes here in the UK and help build a longer term future as a Civitas report touches on. The facility could be a number of places. But one obvious facility will be Pallion ship factory. https://www.pallionshipyard.uk

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Val

Very interesting: thank you for posting that link. I’d no idea that still existed.

Is the shed(s) high enough to fully assemble these kind of vessels and is it long enough? These are big beasts at 30-40kt? Most older facilities were pitched at the 10-20kt bracket.

Problem isn’t the shed TBH it is the lack of skilled labour or all the automated plate line, automated sandblasting, automated coating, QA, etc, etc

These are big and very complex builds as they have to carry a lot of munitions.

JohninMK
JohninMK
1 month ago

Looking at the consortia it seems to me as if there could be Grade 1 weasel words at play here allowing the ship to be built elsewhere with fit out being the UK part.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Grade 1 weasel words you say, talking of which, any condemnation of that murderous little turd Putin yet……?

We’re all still waiting.

Val
Val
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Which would gain the UK nothing in building experience and a massive amount of tax lost and would be the most expensive option.

Posse Comitatus
Posse Comitatus
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Weasel words huh ??

Well, you’d know all about those.

johan
johan
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

The Strong Rumor is that all the mentioned bidders, will source Hulls from a outsourced location. and then completed within the UK. H&W Haven’t built a ship in decades and make Ferguson marine look a better option.

Sean
Sean
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

You’re the expert on “weasel words”…

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Oh dear very apt terminology my little troll. We have been reading your weasel words for many months now.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

New question for you which is easier to answer but still requires you to clarify your cowardly position. Is this (in our eyes and pretty much every democratic countries eyes) illegal invasion of Ukraine by Putin an invasion or a special operation? Surely that’s easier to answer, than your lack of condemnation of this invasion. So invasion or special operation?

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

And the digital tumble weed bounces past Airborne, the silence from the Kremlin basement is deafening…..🤣🤣

Dern
Dern
30 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

I mean, you know all about being a weasel.
Where is that condemnation eh?

Val
Val
1 month ago

It would only be sections as stated above, but hull blocks is possible. Pallion is not quite long enough (there is a possible b it of room for extension) or high enough for these 40,000 ton ships to be built while there. The whole point for Pallion is to get those panel lines and train new people. This project would be a catalyst for this. We should not be embarrassed in learning from others. The Japanese and Koreans learnt from us years ago. To build a new Pallion today would you back 200 million pounds.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Val

Ultimately block building at remote locations and moving the blocks is horribly inefficient and expensive. We need a site large enough for the panel line to be next to the block fabrication facilities which is next to the assembly hall/dry dock. Wether the assembly hall is a dry dock or not is immaterial in these days of computer controlled load shifters on wheels. The big problem I see with the Pallion yard site is that there is no parking and any expansion has been cut off by the dual carriageway. The more pressing thing is to safegauard a couple of… Read more »

Val
Val
1 month ago

It was only a few years ago BAE had ambitions of constructing a dry dock ship factory at Scotstoun and if I had a choice of the two be it a load out ship factory or dry dock ship factory, I know which one I would go for. That said, there are certain advantages with both. The load out factory does allow for extremely large blocks to be moved about on the same level etc. One investment for Pallion would be panel lines near the building dock. The block building in separate areas being more expensive completely rules out building… Read more »

Ianb
Ianb
1 month ago

I completely agree with you on the last point. With so many warships being built in Scotland, it would be a good idea to pitch these buildings in rUK. Time to restart shipbuilding at one of the other locations. Not only is that fair, but it also helps with speeding processes up and can help re-energise areas that need the work.

Sean
Sean
1 month ago

The SNP won’t.

Peter tattersll
Peter tattersll
1 month ago

We don’t need all singing all dancing gear up against Russian rust or Chinese rubbish keep that in mind .

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago

Just get them built, to spec, by the lowest bidder. I thought our yards were full of priority RN orders for the foreseeable future?

Sounds like more political spin to piss more of the defence budget against the wall. They will end up double the price and take twice as long.

If UK yards have the capacity, then let them bid on a level playing field.

Last edited 1 month ago by John Clark
Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

I would think there is spare capacity at govan and Scotstoun to build and fit out 3 FSS ships by 2032. The current build rate for type 26 is very slow. Or they can make sections and put it together somewhere else. Also rosyth has the drydock used to build the carriers along with another couple. Out of the 4 options I put my money on project U.K. the Babcock and BAE. I don’t know what the other 3 options can offer or when they last built a large complex ship. Is it really essential that these ships don’t carry… Read more »

Val
Val
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

And if the lowest bidder is from a state back firm abroad with a bid 100 or 300 million pounds less, is that the cheapest or best value?

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Val

It’s not that simple though Val, it will end up being a billion pounds more and years late….

The Armed forces scream for kit and the Mod provide it in the absolutely slowest and most expensive way possible, it’s how we manage to have a comparatively healthy defence budget, but insufficient numbers of old obsolete equipment that has to be maintained in service years after it should of been withdrawn.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Hence the T31 project which separates platform costs and simplified the process so large affordable warships can be bought.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago

Absolutely, the T31 is an excellent example of well thought out procurement.

But as a UK build only warship, not a direct comparison.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Well let’s hope T31 goes to plan.

No reason the methodology can’t be copied across.

Val
Val
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

The Armed Forces do scream out for equipment and MoD build policy does no favours for UK shipbuilding (apart from shareholders). Can you please inform me how these ships will cost a billion pounds more and years late. Yes, we are living in a strange period with frightening inflation with billions wasted on rubbish in the past few years. A new design can be a few percent over inflation costs, but just a comparison to the Forts or Waves does compare favourably for the UK. Don’t forget, the Tides were late and expensive with no value to the UK tax… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Val

Here’s the thing, UK build costs are always way more expensive than South Korean etc build commercial ships, with their huge workforce and massive factory shipyards

I fully appreciate the value for money, re cash going back to the UK treasury with UK builds, but that still means the ‘finite’ defence budget takes the financial hit, even if the UK treasury gains.

It’s the same argument re Blackhawks or AW149.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

That depends on the degree of automation in the yard.

Then the real cost starts to be more about energy and materials.

Steel prices in the UK are double what they were pre BREXIT. Why? World prices are not double? Energy costs are not all of the reason.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago

This is the core issue I suppose, as I mentioned, arguments about the value to the UK economy of domestic production are totally separate from the defence budget.

The defence budget takes the hit.

Off the shelf AH64E and the well thought out T31 show the first green shoots of a possible sensible procurement policy…

Long standing money draining projects like Ajax, show how we can get it so very wrong!

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

I agree.

TBH there is a lot more good procurement that goes on day in day out. It is only the stuff ups that hit the headlines as the media love negativity.

Take, for instance, NLAWS was brought in roughly on time and roughly on budget and appears to work as advertised. It has been thoroughly tested!

– Sea Ceptor
– Artisan

Also spring to mind as RN, quiet, success stories.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago

Good points and credit we’re it’s due….

Grant
Grant
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

In the case of the FSS though a COTS solution is not available. Whilst lots of navy’s have oilers (like the Tides) none have an equivalent ship to the FSS. The closest is the US Lewis and Clark’s but they are massive and not compliant with latest legislation. As such the FSS will be a clean sheet design and that’s where the cost and risk is.

They should of kept all the forts, yet another stupid decision that probably saved enough money to keep Whitehall in paperclips for a day or two.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Grant

While I quite understand it’s not exactly a COTS type option, it’s not a hugely complex warship either.

Put the requirement out to the ship yards and let the market come up with costed designs, cultimating in a fixed price (and time penalty) contract.

Not rocket science…..

Grant
Grant
30 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Handling munitions safely is quite complex…. And of course a Government procurement takes two years usually anyway!

I do wonder if an interim solution could be found more quickly. Something with a flat deck to enable VERTREP… obviously very inefficient but we only need a back up for when Fort Victoria is in refit until these ships can be built

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago

The Chinese ships have, mostly, been built this century. They may not be brilliant but could well be a lot better than the Russian rust buckets.

The biggest problem for the Chinese is that a lot of their defence tech is modelled on the Russian rubbish and now they have had a wake up call to tell them how bad it is. They might well make improvements as they are not stupid.

Most Russian ships were built last century and a lot are 50 years old.

Martin
Martin
1 month ago

Time to just order these things from a foreign yard and be done with it. We ordered the Tide class from South Korea and these are not really much different. A British design built in a foreign yard. If we had been in a better place and Babcock was not building the T31 and T32 then we could have built them at Rosyth. Getting BAE involved will be a disaster and trying to reactivate yards in either Harland and Wolf or Cammell Laird to just build 3 ships will be even more disastrous for the RN budget and the local… Read more »

Jon
Jon
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

Why do you think Rosyth would be that much better than Lairds? I don’t think there has even been a warship built from scratch in Rosyth before now. The MoD took a punt on Babcock, who had also never built a warship from scratch. Taking a punt on Laird’s would arguably be far less risky, involving management from both BAES and Babcock. Also there’s relatively recent experience of block construction for the carriers and the construction/assembly of RRS Attenborough. I think the contract would have to be even more watertight than the ships. As for H&W, that would be a… Read more »

Ianb
Ianb
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

Why not build them in Belfast, just as with Scotland, make it crystal clear, they and future projects, only get built if N.I is part of the United Kingdom. If it leaves, the yards get stripped along with the contracts and future orders.

Martin
Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

Rosyth managed to build the two most complicated surface warships in the nations history without incident and is now knocking out a pretty high standard frigate at an amazing cost. Could Cammel laird do the same, maybe do we have time and money to risk on FSS, no. It’s too late in the game for CL.

Jon
Jon
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

The same firms whom you decry in Team UK, built those carriers (with a fair extra chunk from Thales). Rosyth assembled modules built elsewhere, including Birkenhead and Govan. Yes, the Type 31 story seems to be a real success so far and hats off to Babcock for that. But it’s still the case that to date not a single warship has been built start to finish at Rosyth. I think we can afford to give Laird’s a chance as it’s the only way we can grow the industrial capacity we need. No matter where they are built, the biggest risk… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Jon
Steve M
Steve M
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

If they do the 3 FSSS and 6 MRSS it makes sense? plus get it up for the new ‘National’ Flagship white elephant

Jonno
Jonno
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve M

I think the point of a National Flag Ship would be that it restarts high end merchant passenger ship construction and fit out. At present there is no UK yard building cruise or private motor yachts. The later are the preserve of the Italian German and Dutch yards and require high end fit out which can be very profitable. We used to be The nation for this stuff. Personally I would rebuild Britannia with all new machinery and services etc, This is done all the time in the real world of a niche market and would be a lot less… Read more »

Val
Val
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

The ship build alone for those ships was 550 million pounds net! Plus 160 million pounds gross UK content. No fitting out took place in the UK as most out fitting/fitting out takes place during build. Those tides were not cheap, or value to the UK taxpayer and late. As one minister said, they got away with it. Flippant comments of build abroad and be done with it do not help.

johan
johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Val

Tides YET NO UK YARD BID. so getting away with it or waiting for one to say ok we will do it.

Grant
Grant
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

They are massively different to the tides….

Nick B
Nick B
1 month ago

BAE Systems and Babcock calling their joint venture “Team UK” is a genius stroke given the furore over build location.

Martin
Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick B

It’s going to be team screw the UK. Defence contractors always do this. Team up to remove competition then double the price. It’s taken the UK years to get Babcock in the warship game as a real alternative to BAE and now they will let BAE poison the well again.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

What a load of rubbish, would you like to give even one example.

Martin
Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

ULA would be the classic example in the USA. The only two launch providers merge then prices sky rocket. One day space X shows up and ULA price dramatically drop. In the UK it would be BAE marine systems. Aircraft manufacturer acquires every naval ship builder in the UK and suddenly we can’t build a frigate for less than £1 billion and OPV that cost £50 million suddenly become £250 million. Then Babcock shows up and we can get 5,000t frigates for £250 million. Clearly that’s simplistic but I think it demonstrates the point of basic competition on prices. If… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

Clean sheet of paper thinking can be very refreshing.

Thinking can get stuck in a rut of one of my hate phrases “we know that…..x costs y”, really?

BTW I don’t think you can compare T26 and T31 as T26 has a lot more weapons and systems fit.

Martin
Martin
1 month ago

For sure, however I don’t think we would be getting anything like T31 from BAE at anything close to £250 million.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

Not if T31 hadn’t come to pass.

Now it is a thing, it will have caused a lot of pencil sharpening at BAE.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

What nonsense, no disrespect meant. Firstly space launch vehicles have nothing to do with the UK. Secondly, your ship building theses is comparing specialist AAD and ASD with general purpose frigates and secondly, even if this point was well founded, we would see all other comparable specialist vessels of world navies significantly cheaper, which they are not.

Last edited 1 month ago by OkamsRazor
Coll
Coll
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick B

It does come across more like Team Scotland.

Just Me
Just Me
1 month ago

To be built by Team Never Be Built in my Lifetime

JohnM
JohnM
1 month ago

Can’t believe there is so much hassle over the requirement for RFA support ships. How hard can it be? We’re a maritime nation allegedly – so embarrassing.

Coll
Coll
1 month ago

When the MOD says built, what they really mean is assembled in Britain?

Last edited 1 month ago by Coll
DC647
DC647
1 month ago

Hope they get built other than in Scotland the rest of the UK need to hold onto its ship building workforce and not just to pacify the SNP.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago

It’s good the see the affirmation of UK ‘for the most part’ build. Why not the whole thing? Let’s face facts. After Brexit, Covid and Ukraine we need to support UK industry and rebuild key sectors bottom up to create good quality jobs, if necessary through government policy. Ajax needs to work or be replaced by a UK built vehicle. Ditto for Warrior. Given the urgency Boxer is probably the way to go. As the Americans say, we need to hustle.

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul.P
Ianb
Ianb
1 month ago

Ah, have we progressed on from “talk about the project” stage 14 to stage 15?

They will be impressive once the project has moved on to pre-screening candidates. I’m due to retire in 20 years, so there’s an inside chance the government would have moved towards having the metal cut!

Or am I jaded and sceptical?

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago

Thank goodness for that. Now get them built ASAP. We have one ageing ship for the role at the moment.

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
1 month ago

Just at thought, we have Scotland as the centre of excellence for the building of our Frigate force and we have the NW of England as the centre for our Submarine building so why not have Belfast as the centre for building our RFA’s we could also look at the NE of England as the centre for building any other Naval projects such as the replacements for the LPDs and any other naval project that dose not fall into the list above. With having these centres we could get rid of the concept of bidding for individual projects from the… Read more »

Martin
Martin
1 month ago

The major issue is workforce. Part of the reason aircraft carrier alliance worked so well and why Babcock was able to go from ship repair to build is the proximity of Rosyth with yards on the Clyde it’s less than a 1 hour drive. Anywhere else in the country involves moving families and hiring massive work forces from scratch. It will take decades and there is no time left. We need FSSS in the water now. Longer term the RN can only support two surface and one sub surface yard. No point in adding a third unless its got the… Read more »

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

I agree, that is why we need inward investment in our ship building industry to put in place the capability to be able to build vessels at short notice that along with a long term naval construction plan and refit plan. If we can get the construction of major vessels down to 5 years per vessel as they do in Europe/Asia and North America we can then be seen as a viable option for foriegn vessels to be built in the UK. I know the government would rather donate their gonads to science than invest in upskilling people and the… Read more »

Dern
Dern
30 days ago

Don’t forget Camell Laird as well, it’ll probably come down to a choice between them and H&W Belfast. (Or one Gets FSS and the other gets the National Flagship as a consolation prize?)

Alexander
Alexander
1 month ago

We ever gonna get these things?

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
1 month ago

It’s government policy… drag it out, save a few theoretical quid on a spreadsheet, then eventually say yes, to seemingly give the armed forces what they need. Thing is though… they need it NOW.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago

Whatever previous factors on build / assembly were, we now have no logical choice but to keep them sovereign. No good putting in a commercial order to a foreign manufacturer e.g. as we did successfully with the Tides in a lower threat scenario.
Cannot await our turn for essential vessels to be built whilst an easily envisaged foe threatens conflict. In any case, the state that builds could as like as not requisition them for their own defence / support, as we did when constructing vessels for foreign navies in our heyday.

Danny Stewart
Danny Stewart
1 month ago

Hopefully Harland & Wolff will win a major slice of the pie in winning the contract

Peter tattersll
Peter tattersll
30 days ago

H W can’t build worse than Russian & Chinese quality impossible..

Ken C
Ken C
30 days ago

I’ve been a avid reader of this site for a few years now as well as NavyLookout and Warships IFR – first may I say how much I enjoy the banter which takes place and the level of knowledge around these topics is truly impressive. This is my first ever post – so be gentle… The subject of these Solid Support Ships simply makes my blood boil! Is it military, is it not?? To me they are custom tankers fitted out for a specific purpose which is to work for the new QEC Carriers.. The hulls must be basically tanker… Read more »