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Harland & Wolff starts shipyard revamp ahead of FSS construction

Work has begun revamping Harland & Wolff's yard in Belfast to support construction of a new class of three Fleet Solid Support ships for the UK Royal Navy. (Harland & Wolff)

Harland & Wolff has announced the start of work to upgrade the existing fabrication halls at its Belfast shipyard to support the construction of the UK Royal Navy's (RN's) future Fleet Solid Support (FSS) ships.

The three FSS vessels will be delivered under a GBP1.6 billion (USD1.94 billion) contract awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence to the Team Resolute consortium – led by prime contractor Navantia UK, a subsidiary of Spanish state-owned shipbuilder Navantia, and including Harland & Wolff and BMT – in January 2023.

Construction of the new ships is planned to begin in 2025, with final assembly of all three ships set to take place at Harland & Wolff's Belfast yard.

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, in southwest England. The Appledore shipyard will build the bow sections for the three ships, which will then be shipped to the Belfast facility for final assembly.

To this end, winning the FSS contract unlocked GBP77 million of investment in Harland & Wolff to upgrade both yards ahead of the start of FSS production.

Harland & Wolff said that improvements to the Belfast site are being undertaken by Cleary Contracting, which has been awarded a multimillion-pound contract to deliver the infrastructure upgrades over the next 18 months.

The improvements include a 5,000 m2 extension to the existing fabrication halls and will facilitate up to 16 m2

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