Spanish shipbuilder, Navantia has entered into an exclusive agreement with Belfast, Northern Ireland-based Harland & Wolff shipyard to jointly bid for three Fleet Solid Support (FSS) ships for the British Royal Navy’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA).
This agreement represents the first opportunity within the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Navantia and Harland & Wolff’s parent company InfraStrata in November 2019, under which other collaboration channels are being explored in the United Kingdom, both in the military area of new constructions and in modernizations, as well as fixed and floating offshore wind farms.
The United Kingdom and its companies closely collaborate with Navantia, both in the military and civilian areas, having participated in some of Navantia’s major programs. In the wind energy area, Navantia has supplied the United Kingdom in the last 4 years with 66 jackets, 11 floating units and 1 substation, for 4 different wind farms.
The team from Navantia and Harland & Wolff, together with the English engineering BMT, will thus begin to work on the 3-ship FSS program, which, according to official sources from the British Ministry of Defense, will resume in the last quarter of 2020, after being suspended. last November. This team will enter the competition under the commercial name of “Team Resolute”, a name with a long tradition in the United Kingdom: several ships and submarines of the Royal Navy have taken this name, which also corresponds to that of the vessel that ran aground in the Arctic ice in 1854, from which wood comes from the oval office desk in the White House.
During this transition period, and pending the publication of the new requirements for the FSS project, “Team Resolute” will continue to work to better position itself in the reopening of the competition, where the participation of the British industry is expected to be crucial.
Abel Méndez, Director of Defense and International Security at Navantia stated that “the turn Harland & Wolff has taken under the new management makes it a forward-looking shipyard, agile and prepared to face challenges. We are excited about this new collaboration and the opportunities it will bring for both parties. ”
John Wood, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of InfraStrata, parent company of the Harland & Wolff shipyard since December 2019, stated after this memorandum: “We have always carefully selected our partners. At Navantia, we see a long-term partner. I am delighted to have signed this agreement with Navantia. This alliance has the potential to break the current duopoly in the shipbuilding sector in the United Kingdom, making the defense sector competitive, resulting in better use of taxpayer contributions, and ensuring punctual delivery of units. ”
Additionally, Navantia and Harland & Wolff are exploring other opportunities beyond the defense sector and new constructions and modernizations, such as in the area of fixed and floating substructures (jackets) for offshore wind, focused on specific projects in UK waters that they will benefit from the strengths of manufacturing, assembly, lifting capacity and ample storage spaces that both companies have.
Founded in 1861, Harland & Wolff was Belfast’s main industrial hub. This shipyard is known for the construction of the Titanic, having two of the largest gantry cranes in Europe, called Samson and Goliath, in addition to a dry dock which, together with the Navantia in Puerto Real, are the two largest in Europe. The shipyard, with a record of success in the maritime and energy sectors, was seriously affected by the oil crisis in the North Sea, having taken a new direction since its reorganization in 2019 that combines civil and military activity with the support and the transfer of technology from Navantia.