An influential parliamentary committee has hit out at the UK government's decision to open the procurement of up to three new solid support ships to international competition.
In a letter to defence procurement minister Stuart Andrew, Dr Julian Lewis, chairman of the House of Commons Defence Committee (HCDC), said the decision not to classify the planned Fleet Solid Support (FSS) vessels as warships was "difficult to understand" and "perverse" given the Ministry of Defence's (MoD's) own characterisation of the ships as important enablers for naval task groups.
Forming the second component of the wider Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability programme, and endorsed as part of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the FSS capability is primarily required to deliver ammunition and stores at the necessary tempo and volume to support future carrier-based Maritime Task Groups.
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