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Egypt buys former UK solid support ships Fort Austin and Fort Rosalie

RFA solid support ships
Photo: UK defense ministry

Egypt has emerged as the buyer of two former Royal Navy solid support ships, according to a UK defense ministry announcement from October 29.

The sale of Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships, Fort Austin and Fort Rosalie, marks the UK’s first sale of military vessels to Egypt in more than 30 years.

Both Royal Navy Solid Support Ships were released from service earlier this year. Their new lease of life could also support UK jobs, with negotiations under way for refurbishment work on the vessels before they are exported.

“Fort Austin and Fort Rosalie played an important role in sustaining our naval fleet for decades and I thank all involved in their essential work,” UK defense procurement minister Jeremy Quin, said.

“As we nod to the past service of these ships, we can also look forward to the exciting future of welcoming our new Fleet Solid Support ships.”

Royal Navy file photo of RFA Fort Austin

Fort Austin and Fort Rosalie have helped to ensure navy personnel all over the world have the food, ammunition and explosives they need to carry out vital operations.

The sister ships have two flight decks, which means that in addition to traditional replenishment at sea they are also able to use helicopters to offload supplies.

“Fort Austin and Fort Rosalie have both served the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Royal Navy and many of our allies with distinction, across the globe both at peacetime and during conflict,” Vice Admiral Chris Gardner, DE&S Director General Ships, said.

“Their sale to the Egyptian Navy – the first sale of UK military vessels to this partner in more than 30 years – represents both an investment in a UK partner nation and an opportunity to continue supporting our industry partners who will prepare these vessels to hand over, which is central to the successful National Shipbuilding Strategy.”

Fort Austin and Fort Rosalie will be replaced by the Fleet Solid Support (FSS) ships, which will form part of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group.

At the end of August, four consortia successful at the pre-qualifying stage for the FSS build were awarded Competitive Procurement Phase contracts to enable designs to be matured.

The consortia are 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; and Team UK, which includes UK companies Babcock and BAE Systems.