Royal Navy Buys Three Fleet Support Ships in $2B Deal

The UK government has awarded a 1.6 billion-pound ($1.97 billion) contract to build and deliver three fleet support ships to the Royal Navy.

The British-led consortium BMT, Harland and Wolff, and Navantia UK will deliver the ships to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary by 2032.

A support ship provides “ammunition, spare parts, replacement jet engines, food, and provisions to sustain large-scale naval operations hundreds or thousands of miles from the UK,” the navy wrote in a statement.

RFA Fort Victoria Replacement

The first vessel will be delivered by 2028, replacing the over three-decade-old RFA Fort Victoria, Rear Admiral Paul Marshall said at a Commons Defence Select Committee hearing in July.

The 216-meter (708 feet) ships are expected to displace around 35,000 tons, sharing common systems, equipment, and features with the in-service Tide-class tankers.

As part of the contract, the consortium will spend 77 million pounds ($95 million) at Harland & Wolff’s Belfast and Appledore shipyards and 21 million pounds ($25.9 million) on skills and technology transfer from Navantia.

Royal Navy support ship
A graphic of the new support ship at sea. Image: Royal Navy

To Generate Hundreds of Jobs

The project will generate hundreds of jobs in the UK, including 1,200 at the shipyards, hundreds of opportunities for graduates and apprentices, and an expected 800 jobs across the UK supply chain.

 “This contract is a significant boost to the UK’s historic shipbuilding industry, balancing shipbuilding across the Union,” Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.

“Creating jobs and prosperity, Team Resolute is bringing shipbuilding back to Belfast, developing a modern, resilient and thriving shipbuilding industry that will support naval and commercial shipbuilding into the future.”

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