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Harland & Wolff signs subcontract with Navantia UK for FSS

While some of the building work for the new FSS vessels will take place at Navantia's shipyard in Cadiz, Spain, the majority of the blocks and modules will be built at Harland & Wolff's facilities in Belfast and Appledore. (Team Resolute)

Belfast-based shipbuilder Harland & Wolff has signed a manufacturing subcontract with Navantia UK for work to be delivered under the UK Royal Navy's (RN's) Fleet Solid Support Ship (FSS) programme.

The manufacturing subcontract, announced by Harland & Wolff on 1 February, is worth an estimated GBP700–800 million (USD862–985 million) through the life of the programme, amounting to around half the value of the total FSS contract.

The Team Resolute consortium – led by prime contractor Navantia UK, a subsidiary of Spanish state-owned shipbuilder Navantia, and including Harland & Wolff and BMT – was awarded a GBP1.6 billion contract to deliver the three-ship FSS programme on 18 January 2023 after being selected as the preferred bidder in November 2022.

Construction on the new ships is planned to begin in 2025, and all three ships are expected to be operational by 2032.

Harland & Wolff said its scope of work would commence this year and continue through to 2031. Work would include some of the block construction – including β€˜mega blocks' that incorporate several standard-sized blocks – and the procurement of some of the equipment to be installed on the vessels in Belfast.

The bow sections for the three ships will be built at Harland & Wolff's Appledore shipyard in southwest England, before being shipped to the Belfast facility where final assembly of all three ships will take place. Appledore has previous experience building the bow sections of the RN's two Queen Elizabeth-class carriers.

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