Belfast/Bristol, October 11th 2023– Team Resolute, a consortium comprising Navantia UK, BMT and Harland & Wolff, have encouraged businesses across the United Kingdom, in particular SMEs, to get involved in the £1.6 billion Fleet Solid Support (FSS) programme that will deliver three Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships for the UK Ministry of Defence.

In close cooperation with the Society of Maritime Industries (SMI) and the Aerospace Defence and Security trade association (ADS), Team Resolute hosted two events at which senior representatives from the companies, as well as representatives from the National Shipbuilding Office (NSO) and Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), guided interested companies through the procedures, requirements and timings involved in the construction of the three ships.

A total 150 companies attended the meetings, including SMEs. Supported by Belfast Council, the first event took place in Belfast, home of the Harland & Wolff shipyard where the three ships will be integrated.  The second “Meet the Buyer” event took place in Bristol on the of 5th October.

RAdm Rex Cox, CEO of the National Shipbuilding Office, said: “This engagement by Team Resolute with UK SMEs and supply chain companies, on the £1.6 billion Fleet Solid Support (FSS) programme is a critical process in successfully delivering this key National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh pipeline capability for the Royal Navy. A healthy supply chain and ecosystem of SMEs is vital for shipyards to deliver on key government contracts. Opportunities like FSS can be genuinely transformative for UK shipyards and the wider enterprise, and the NSO is committed to ensuring these contracts help to grow the capacity, capability and sustainability of the whole UK shipbuilding sector.”

“These events demonstrate Team Resolute’s commitment to the delivery of the Fleet Solid Support Programme and recognise the importance of SMEs to the UK economy and their contribution both locally and nationally. The FSS programme will provide the Royal Fleet Auxiliary the necessary capability to support Royal Navy Globally but it is also focused in boosting industrial capacities across the UK, preserving and renewing a shipbuilding legacy, a robust supply chain and high skilled jobs”, said Sir Alan Massey, non-executive Chairman, Navantia UK.

Simon Gould, FSS Programme Director, BMT said:  BMT is delighted to support the ‘Meet the Buyer’ events and to engage with potential suppliers to FSS. From a ship design perspective, we are excited to see the range of skills, equipment and services on offer and the potential the programme provides to build a lasting legacy for ship design and ship building in the UK.”

Michael Court, FSS Programme Director, Harland & Wolff said: “We’re delighted to be bringing sustained shipbuilding back to Belfast and helping to deliver the UK’s National Shipbuilding Strategy. This programme is not only benefiting Team Resolute and Harland & Wolff but also the maritime supply chain across the UK. With some 800 jobs expected across the supply chain – in addition to the 1,200 UK shipyard jobs in Belfast and Appledore – this is a true national endeavour and we’re delighted to be working with companies across the country to deliver critical UK capability on time and on budget. The relationships formed through this programme will be invaluable as we look to build upon this programme with future work across both the defence and commercial markets.”

Tom Chant, CEO Society of Maritime Industries said: ‘We are delighted to be facilitating these events together with our fellow trade organisation ADS for Team Resolute. The Fleet Solid Support programme is an important programme for the UK maritime enterprise and we are proud to strongly support Team Resolute in its delivery.’

The event in Belfast was opened by Ron McDowell, Deputy Chair of City Growth and Regeneration Committee of Belfast City Council, who stressed the importance of shipbuilding for the city and stated that “this event recognises Team Resolute’s commitment to supporting small and medium-sized enterprises to form part of the Fleet Solid Support programme delivery and reinforces their commitment to social value, leading to real benefit for both residents and businesses”.

“It is fantastic that the FSS Programme is bringing ship building back to Belfast. We congratulate Team Resolute on being awarded the MOD contract and great to have this engagement with the outstanding supply chain in the region. This programme is excellent for Belfast, the community, and Northern Ireland”, said Dr Leslie Orr, Director ADS Northern Ireland.