The Royal Fleet Auxiliary will get three essential support ships from British-led Team Resolute, which includes BMT, Harland & Wolff, and Navantia UK, according to information released by the UK MoD on November 16, 2022. (RFA).
The £1.6 billion contract (before inflation) to manufacture the vessels providing munitions, stores, and provisions to the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, destroyers and frigates deployed at sea, is subject to HM Treasury and Ministerial approval.
Pledging to invest £77 million in shipyard infrastructure to support the British shipbuilding sector, they aim to create one of the most advanced yards in the UK, significant for future export and domestic shipbuilding and offshore opportunities.
The proposal pledges that the entire final assembly for all three ships will be completed at Harland & Wolff’s shipyard in Belfast, with the three 216-metre-long vessels – each the length of two Premier League football pitches – to be built to Bath-based BMT’s entirely British design.
Under the contract, the majority of the blocks and modules for the ships would be constructed at Harland & Wolff’s facilities in Belfast and Appledore, with components to be manufactured in their other delivery centres in Methil and Arnish.
This programme, which would also support a significant British-based supply chain, would be undertaken in collaboration with the internationally renowned shipbuilder, Navantia.
Build work would also take place at Navantia’s shipyard in Cadiz in Spain, in a collaboration that allows for key skills and technology transfer from a world-leading auxiliary shipbuilder.
The ships will be the second longest UK military vessels behind the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
They will have commonality with the RFA’s Tide class fleet tankers, also built to a British BMT design.
In the proposal, the majority of the three ships’ build would take place in the UK, and the contract will increase industrial productivity, and develop the domestic supply chain and workforce while improving the industry’s environmental sustainability.
Production is due to start in 2025 and all three support ships are expected to be operational by 2032.
The manufacturing contract is due to be awarded by DE&S by the first quarter of 2023, subject to the completion of a successful preferred bidder stage and final approvals.
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Source: Navy Recognition