The UK Ministry of Defence has launched a £1.6 bn competition to acquire three new Fleet Solid Support ships that will keep the Royal Navy two new aircraft carriers stocked with supplies while at sea.
The competition marks the UK’s second attempt at the programme to acquire the new Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships that have consistently drawn criticism for the UK government’s plans to allow foreign shipyards to participate in the work.
Under the competition, the UK wants the three ships delivered by 2032. High-level requirements for the competition include a ship design that ‘minimises whole-life cost’ and meets sustainability objectives.
The National Maritime SME Maritime Working Group which helps drive trade and growth for maritime SMEs operating within the UK will continue lobbying government to ensure that products and services used on the builds are ‘sourced, serviced or produced in the UK under the UK Quality Mark of Excellence.