Famous UK shipbuilder Harland and Wolff has announced it has signed a teaming agreement with Spain’s Navantia in a bid to secure a contract for the construction of the new Fleet Solid Support (FSS) ships.
Under the terms of this agreement, both parties will come together on an exclusive basis to jointly bid for the FSS program. The companies expects tender details for the program to be released by the UK defense ministry in the forthcoming months.
The new entity will be named Team Resolute, and will look for opportunities beyond FSS, within the UK defense sector, including modernizations and retrofits.
The FSS program will likely consist of at least two vessels with the possibility of a third vessel. Navantia and Harland and Wolff will bring in engineering company BMT for work on the design of the vessels should they be awarded the contract.
Navantia has also committed to provide technology and know-how transfer to Harland & Wolff, including upskilling of the workforce.
Great Britain is expected to soon restart the competition for the construction of the 40,000-ton vessels that would support the deployments of Royal Navy warships, including the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
The first tender was scrapped in November last year due to unsuccessful negotiations with shipbuilders, according to the UK defense ministry. The government’s decision to open the procurement to international competition was also a contested one, causing industry and unions to urge the government to include support vessels in the list of surface combatants that are exclusively British-built.