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Scottish shipyards seek more clarity over future naval ship orders

The decision to award the FSS programme to the international consortium ‘Team Resolute' is seen an example of a shift in the UK government's approach to warship procurement. (Team Resolute)

A UK parliamentary select committee has said that the lack of certainty across the whole of the government's 30-year shipbuilding pipeline could jeopardise the future prosperity of Scottish naval shipyards.

Published on 27 January, the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee (SAC) report, Defence in Scotland: military shipbuilding , said that Scottish shipyards needed a more dependable drumbeat of orders in order to invest and grow.

While the SAC report acknowledged recent successes for the Scottish military shipbuilding sector, such as the contract awards for the Type 26 anti-submarine warfare frigates and the Type 31 general-purpose frigates, it noted that the UK government's approach to procuring warships has shifted in recent years, and it was no longer a given that warships would be designed and built fully in the UK.

According to the report, the competition to build the UK Royal Navy's (RN's) Fleet Solid Support (FSS) ships was viewed as an important test of how the UK government would approach naval procurement in the future.

In November 2022, ‘Team Resolute', a Spanish/UK consortium led by Navantia UK, a subsidiary of Spanish state-owned Navantia, was selected over a rival bid from Team UK to deliver three FSS ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Under Team Resolute's proposal, the ships will be partially built in Spain, whereas the offer from Team UK supported a full onshore build.

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