The U.K. Ministry of Defence will launch a competition to build three new vessels for the Royal Navy next year.
Vital warships providing supplies and technical support to the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers will made by British-led teams, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced today.
A competition to build three Fleet Solid Support vessels – which will be launched by DE&S 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, the MoD said in a release.
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.
The Defence Secretary confirmed the news ahead of his speech at the Atlantic Future Forum on October 21, where UK and US leaders gathered on HMS Queen Elizabeth docked in Portsmouth to discuss co-operation across trade, defence and security.
Fleet Solid Support Ship Competition
The Fleet Solid Support ship competition will build on the success of the Type 31 programme, which is being overseen by DE&S and will be built primarily in Scotland. That frigate build is expected to support 1,250 highly-skilled jobs and 150 apprenticeships across the country.
The warships will incorporate next-generation technology with a purpose-built design and will eventually support HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales as part of the Carrier Strike Group, which will undertake its first operational deployment next year.
Just this week, the UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Australia to continue building and delivering the next generation of frigates together. The Type 26 frigate programme consists of eight ships and will sustain 1,700 jobs in Scotland, and 4,000 jobs across the wider maritime supply chain until 2035.