The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a £1.6bn contract to a British-led consortium for the construction of future Fleet Solid Support (FSS) vessels.
Also called Team Resolute, the consortium includes BMT, Harland & Wolff and Navantia UK.
The companies will work to deliver a total of three FSS ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) by 2032.
Around £77m from the total contract amount will be invested for infrastructure upliftment at Harland & Wolff’s shipyards in Belfast and Appledore, UK. This work will create around 900 jobs alone at Belfast shipyard.
The contract also marks the re-start of shipbuilding activities in Belfast, where majority of blocks and modules for FSS fleet will be built.
Some part of the work will also be carried out at Navantia’s shipyard in Cadiz, Spain, while the final integration process for the three FSS ships will be held at Harland & Wolff’s Belfast shipyard.
Besides, around £21m will be spared for the purpose of skills and technology transfer from Navantia UK.
Associated production work will commence in 2025, while the yard enhancement and recapitalisation work expected to begin with immediate effect.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Creating jobs and prosperity, Team Resolute is bringing shipbuilding back to Belfast, developing a modern, resilient and thriving shipbuilding industry that will support naval and commercial shipbuilding into future.”
Once delivered, FSS ships will be deployed to support carrier and amphibious task groups by transporting ammunition, spare parts, food, replacement jet engines to the British destroyer, aircraft carriers and frigates operating at sea across the globe.
The new vessels are being constructed to replace RFA Fort Victoria-class, a three-decade old solitary class that offers capabilities of both stores ship and fleet tanker.