Shipbuilding announcements at DSEI 2023

FSS evolved design unveiled at DSEI and new advanced corvette from Saab and Babcock.

Anita Hawser
13 September 2023
New evolved Fleet Solid Support Ship design unveiled by Team Resolute at DSEI 2023


Saab and Babcock are to explore the design of a new advanced corvette of around 100 metres.

Both companies signed a cooperation agreement at DSEI 2023 in London. The joint development will benefit from Saab’s expertise in naval Combat Management Systems and composite structures, and Babcock’s expertise in platform design and integration to create a new class-leading capability. 

The new corvette will be a highly capable and adaptable surface combatant aimed at meeting the needs of international customers. Babcock and Saab intend to jointly market the new design to worldwide export markets. 

“We have complementary capabilities and resources, including expertise, technologies and market presence that can enhance our competitive advantage when combined,” said Micael Johansson, president and CEO of Saab. 

“By combining our capabilities and resources, we recognise the potential to leverage each other's strengths.”

Babcock CEO David Lockwood said, “This is the beginning of an exciting new relationship between Babcock and Saab. It recognises the potential to jointly offer a wider range of integrated solutions to international customers and builds on the strong cultural and technical links between the two Groups.”

By combining technology capabilities and expertise to drive technological advancements Saab and Babcock will stay at the forefront of their industries.


Fleet Solid Support ship design unveiled at DSEI

In more shipbuilding news from DSEI, Team Resolute, a consortium of Navantia UK, BMT and Harland & Wolff, unveiled its evolved design for the Fleet Solid Support ship.

The progress towards a mature design is a key part of the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) £1.6 billion 'Manufacture Contract’ for three Fleet Solid Support (FSS) ships that will provide the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) with a capability to support global operations for the Royal Navy.  

“This is an important milestone for this critical programme for the Royal Navy,” said Navantia UK’s chairman, Vice Admiral (Retd) Sir Alan Massey, KCB, CBE. “It demonstrates how successfully Team Resolute is working together in boosting UK maritime capabilities, providing an evolved cutting-edge design, transferring knowledge and laying the foundation for the modernisation of Harland & Wolff’s shipyards.” 

The evolved design of the FSS ship draws inspiration from BMT's experience across a spectrum of naval programmes — including the QEC, Tide Class, Norwegian Logistics Support Vessel, and Type 31 Frigate.

The progressive approach to the design provides a pathway for the introduction of new technologies and the incorporation of energy-saving and emission-reducing technologies and future fuels that will contribute to carbon reduction.

BMT CEO, Sarah Kenny OBE, said the MoD’s investment brings significant social and economic value to the UK enabling BMT to create 120 high-skilled jobs at its Bristol, Bath, Weymouth, Fareham, Glasgow, and Southampton sites, meeting the government’s “Refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy” objectives.

Harland & Wolff Group CEO, John Wood said Team Resolute progress on FSS is already re-establishing a skills base for UK shipbuilding in Northern Ireland. The transfer of knowledge from Spanish shipbuilder Navantia concerning programme management, procurement and cutting-edge shipyard technologies is well underway, he says.

“With planning permission approved, works are due to start on recapitalisation of Belfast, creating the UK’s most technologically advanced shipyard, meaning FSS is providing a foundation on which to complete for decades to come.”