DSEI 2019

Solid support at sea [DSEI19D2]

11 September 2019

Spanish shipbuilder Navantia (Stand S9-270) and UK-based ship design and systems engineering house BMT (Stand S3-140) have unveiled their ship design proposal for the UK’s £1.5 billion Future Solid Support (FSS) competition.

Up to three FSS ships are planned to replace the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s (RFA’s) ageing solid support ships RFA Fort Austin, RFA Fort Rosalie and RFA Fort Victoria. The new capability is primarily required to deliver ammunition and stores at the necessary tempo and volume to support future carrier-based Maritime Task Groups.

FSS technical proposals were returned to the UK Ministry of Defence in July, with final commercial proposals submitted last week. A contract award is planned for mid-2020, with the first vessel due into service in 2026.

Navantia’s plan is to build and assemble the FSS ships at its Puerto Real shipyard near Cádiz in southwest Spain.

However, the company says it is keen to maximise UK industry involvement, and has set a target to place more than £400 million of work with the UK supply chain.

According to Navantia, its teaming with BMT − which is taking the role of technical partner for the FSS bid − is designed to capitalise on both companies’ capabilities and experience so as to assure low technical risk and on-schedule delivery. For example, Navantia has previously delivered the auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) vessel Cantabria to the Spanish Navy, and is currently completing the build of two similar AORs − the future HMAS Supply and the future HMAS Stalwart − for the Royal Australian Navy.

For its part, BMT has an established pedigree in the design of afloat support ships through its AEGIR family. Variants of AEGIR are in service with the UK (Tideclass tanker) and Norway (the logistic support vessel HNoMS Maud).

Navantia’s stand is hosting an interactive zone dedicated to the FSS bid. In addition, a supplier engagement event will run on 13 September in South Gallery suite SG3.

(320 words)