Mordaunt appears to have suggested that the new Fleet Solid Support Ship should be built in the UK.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt was speaking at the Royal United Services Institute today, where she said:

“It’s long order books and steady drum beats in our yards that strengthen our supply chain and bring down the overall cost of procurement. What is needed is a closer partnership with industry that gives them the confidence to invest and build and us the confidence that we can and must buy British.”

Jude Brimble, GMB National Secretary, said earlier regarding news the contracts could go to Spain:

“The Royal Fleet Auxiliary contracts are the key to unlocking the country’s massive shipbuilding potential. But Ministers refusal to put the UK’s interests first will mean that instead of a massive programme of shared economic and employment re-distribution, our firms will be competing against each other for slivers of complex warship work. 

It beggars belief that the Government wants to give this golden opportunity away to foreign competitors when working class communities up and down the country are crying out for decent work.”

Who is bidding?

It is hoped that the bid will be won by Team UK (a UK consortium consisting of Babcock International, BAE Systems, Cammell Laird and Rolls-Royce).

Overseas shipyards who have been invited to tender for the FSS programme include:

  • Fincantieri: 70% owned by Fintecna S.p.A the Italian owned investment agency
  • Navantia: 100% owned by the Spanish government
  • Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME): received a USD 6billion rescue package from the Korean Development Bank and Export-Import Bank of Korea

What’s next?

December of this year will see the formal issue of documentation inviting bids for the design and build contract and in 2020, the contract for design and build is to be awarded.