The UK Ministry of Defence’s contract tender for three new fleet auxiliaries was suspended last year over concerns from maritime unions and domestic shipbuilders about foreign bidders. The FSS project attracted interest from shipbuilders around the world but a review of the UK’s National Shipbuilding Strategy report recommended that UK-only competition should be considered for future defence-funded vessels. The UK shipbuilding advocacy group Keep Britain Afloat warned that after the completion of the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers, there will be a two-year gap in procurement before the next major naval vessel contract begins, putting about 40,000 jobs at risk. The group argues that the $1.7 billion contract for the FSS programme should stay within the UK, supporting yards and local economies around Britain.
The MoD is reopening the procurement process with a series of events to gauge bidder interest. Controversially, it has also left the door open to “international suppliers,” angering domestic shipbuilders once again, says The Maritime Executive, which you can read here.