Home Europe UK MoD relaunches fleet solid support ship competition

UK MoD relaunches fleet solid support ship competition

Fleet Solid Support ship design
UK defense ministry file photo of an FSS design

The UK defense ministry has announced the launch of a competition to build three new fleet solid support (FSS) ships that would support Royal Navy operations.

These Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels will provide munitions, food, stores and provisions to support carrier and amphibious based task groups at sea. 

The announcement comes after the government announced last year it would relaunch the competition in the spring of 2021. The previous attempt to identify a preferred builder was cancelled in November 2019.

As previously specified, the government will invite international companies to tender but will require them to work with British-led teams, with a significant proportion of the build and assembly work to be carried out in the UK.

“As shipbuilding tsar, I am delighted to launch the competition for these crucial fleet solid support ships,” the UK defense secretary Ben Wallace said.

Designed to challenge the shipbuilding industry, Defence Equipment and Support have issued the contract notice inviting companies to register an interest in participating in the tender for the design and build of the ships, which will incorporate next-generation technology.

The successful bidder can work in partnership with international companies but would be required to integrate the ships in a UK shipyard, the government announcement said.

“The launch of the FSS 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,” DE&S’ director general ships, Vice Admiral Chris Gardner, said.

The defense ministry expects to award a construction contract within two years, following approvals.