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Great week for the RFA : new ships

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Old 20th January 2023, 08:04
purser52 United Kingdom purser52 is offline
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Great week for the RFA : new ships

The Ministry of Defence made two major announcements concerning the RFA this week.

Firstly came an announcement about the purchase of two commercial ships for conversion to RFAs, the first of which will arrive on Merseyside later this week for handover. The 6,000 tonne MV Topaz Tangaroa was built as a subsea operations vessel will enter service in the Summer as a subsea protection ship, a new role for the RFA. She features a flight deck, an expansive working deck, a large crane and a “moon pool”. She will be renamed RFA Proteus and be crewed by an RFA crew of 26 and 60 RN personnel who will operate the undersea surveillance systems. Later this year the RFA will take delivery of MV Island Crown for conversion to a mother ship for mine countermeasures vessels including autonomous ships. She is slightly smaller than Topaz Tangaroa and is currently an accommodation vessel in the offshore industry.

Later in the week it was confirmed that the order for the three new Solid Support Ships had been placed with Team Resolute. The majority of the construction will take place at the Harland and Wolff facilities in Belfast and at the Appledore Yard with some construction also at the Navantia facility in Spain. The ships will feature a large flight deck and hanger, container handling facilities and three RAS rigs. They will be 216m in length and be capable of 19 knots in service. Construction will start in 2025 and all three ships are expected to be in service by 2032.
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Old 20th January 2023, 23:30
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Tomvart United Kingdom Tomvart is offline
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All great news however the FSS project is still fraught with potential pitfalls - I think the biggest risk I can foresee (and it surely must be No1 on the MODS project risk spreadsheet) must be H&W recruitment of all the specialists needed to build such ships - and the fact that they haven't built a military ship since RFA Fort Victoria - way back in the late 80's.

I truly hope that its a success, and starts a resurrection of UK shipbuilding, I'm sure it will be of huge benefit to both Belfast and Appledore shipyards and the associated local supply industries.
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Old 21st January 2023, 07:48
Engine Serang Northern Ireland Engine Serang is offline
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It certainly has risk written large, can you take a guy off the street and tell him that he is boring out a sterntube tomorrow?
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Old 4th September 2023, 21:02
NickNZ New Zealand NickNZ is offline
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New ships in less than 4 years

I see the French have just taken delivery of a 46,000 ton replenishment vessel, which handles ammunition, fuel, and solid stores.
Based on an Italian design, it has taken less than 4 years to build, and is now undergoing first of class trials.
Perhaps we should bite the bullet, and ask for them to build our urgently needed new solid stores ships, or get copies of these versatile vessels.
The ‘old’ Wave Class can then be sold on. Quite who decided to order 6 oilers in the first place bemuses me. Too many oilers, and not enough solid stores ships!
Heck, even consider altering the Waves to Soild Stores?
If we buy the French vessels, at least we wouldn’t have to pay for untutored builders, or run the risk of having to pay the builders if they suffer from poor workmanship ( as the carrier builders have asked).
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Old 5th September 2023, 12:27
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Varley Isle of Man Varley is offline
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Whatever we commission, if it cannot be built in GB, then they should be built in the far east (Korea is friendly as is Japan although both now express their expertise in their rising prices) but 4 years to build what is in all effects a cargo ship? ludicrous. Don't be misled by CalMac's misfortunes.

Even then they are GB built they would be unlikely to be as well found as an HHI built vessel (for instance), not that that should steer governments away from spending only within their own borders. Mr. Heath's one right policy wimpishly instituted ('buy British tea shirts and carrier bags'), Mrs T's only wrong one.
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Old 5th September 2023, 17:35
NickNZ New Zealand NickNZ is offline
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Originally Posted by Varley View Post
Whatever we commission, if it cannot be built in GB, then they should be built in the far east (Korea is friendly as is Japan although both now express their expertise in their rising prices) but 4 years to build what is in all effects a cargo ship? ludicrous. Don't be misled by CalMac's misfortunes.

Even then they are GB built they would be unlikely to be as well found as an HHI built vessel (for instance), not that that should steer governments away from spending only within their own borders. Mr. Heath's one right policy wimpishly instituted ('buy British tea shirts and carrier bags'), Mrs T's only wrong one.
I have to agree, the Koreans have proved themselves with the Tide Class.
Unfortunately, British ‘shipbuilders’ have proven (once again) to be their own worst enemies. Not only demanding, but then, when faults with workmanship, expect the British taxpayer to pay them to put it right. Also wanting to be paid to improve their facilities.
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