Photo credit: Harland & Wolff

Belfast-based historic shipyard Harland & Wolff has now formally signed the manufacturing subcontract with Navantia UK in relation to the £1.6 billion FSS warship programme.

With the contract signed, Harland & Wolff will be responsible for delivering works worth around £700 million to £800 million, through the life of the programme.

Beginning in 2023, the construction will last seven years, and create long-term employment and opportunity until 2031.

In addition to the procurement of a number of items of equipment to be installed on each vessel in Belfast, Harland & Wolff will also be in charge of fabricating a variety of blocks, including some mega blocks.

With this project it is estimated that the company will provide employment, to over 1,200 personnel (900 in Belfast and 300 in Appledore), and over 100 graduates and apprentices, in Belfast and Appledore, generating substantial social value across the UK.

Furthermore, the National Shipbuilding Strategy was put into place by the UK government to increase productivity in UK shipbuilding and fabrication, decrease waste, and accelerate the move toward Net Zero.

According to this plan, Harland & Wolff has been collaborating with multiple partners to maximize investments in the shipyard, in order to meet these objectives, and complete projects on schedule and within budget. The company will be receiving a significant proportion of the investment required for the recapitalisation plan from the project directly.

Further, there may be opportunities to access other external funding such as new technology grants, and carbon reduction grants, that the company will be working through over the next twelve months, in order to maximise funding and optimise the Group’s capital stack.

John Wood, Group Chief Executive Officer, Harland & Wolff comments: “The addition of this Programme moves us materially closer to our target of £1bn of contracted backlog of work by the end of 2023, enabling us to take long-term decisions and continue to invest in our facilities to ensure that we are at the forefront of the development of state-of-the-art marine fabrication facilities in the UK. We can now commence work on the programme with the initial focus being on completing the recapitalisation plan over the next two years in preparedness for the start of production in 2025.”

As the company states, “all three bow sections for this program will be fabricated in Appledore before being shipped to Belfast, because of Appledore’s expertise in the fabrication of the bow sections for the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales.”

Full scale fabrication is due to commence in 2025, with the vessels due to be delivered to meet the Ministry Of Defence’s objective to bring three ships into service by 2032.