Following the announcement in November 2022 that the Team Resolute consortium was the preferred bidder, today the MoD signed the contract to build the 3 ships.
To accompany the announcement a few further images of the vessel have been released. The design was developed by UK naval architecture house BMT and has many common systems, equipment and features as the Tide-class tankers already in service. The 216m-long vessel has just 3 RAS rigs, RASCO sited amidships and container handling capabilities forward. The ships will be capable of 19kts and will have 9,000 sq m of cargo space for stores.
The RAS rigs on the port side will not both align with the rigs fitted on the starboard side of the aircraft carriers (accessed through the two hangar doors) as the Heavy RAS and simultaneous replenishment requirement was removed from the original specification as a cost-saving measure.
Team Resolute say they will invest £77 million in shipyard infrastructure at Harland & Wolff in Belfast and at Appledore. A further £21 million worth of skills and technology transfer will come from Navantia in Spain. The programme will create 1,200 UK shipyard jobs, around 800 further jobs across the UK supply chain as well as graduate and apprentice opportunities. FSS will be the first naval vessels built in Belfast since RFA Fort Victoria was completed in 1993. Construction will begin in 2025 and all three support ships are expected to be operational by 2032.