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Royal Navy to build three support ships for its aircraft carriers


A new batch of vessels forming naval sidearm of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary are required to supply both UK’s aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. A £1 billion contract is to be won by companies for the building and procurement of three new support ships for the Royal Navy.


Royal Navy to build three support ships for its aircraft carriers The HMS Queen Elizabeth (Picture source : Royal Navy)


In this competition, Spanish shipyards appear to be favourite to win the contract. This observation has brought fear amongst the UK’s senior defense ranks. The project may indeed slip through the fingers of Britain’s shipyards and instead be picked up by foreign firms, chiefly in Spain. Meanwhile, both Plymouth and Portsmouth have already declared an interest in the mega money development.

"These are highly complex ships carrying quantities of munitions, so they have to be very powerfully built, and be able to be in a war zone and yet the government are choosing to probably allow them to be built in Spain" Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said.

This conflict occurs as tensions already exist between Spain and the UK, since February 28 when OPV Infanta Cristina prowled British territory around the Rock (shadowed by the HMS Sabre for two hours). Ten days before this event, another Spanish warship with its guns manned ordered commercial ships to leave the territory.

Ex-Gibraltar resident Stephen Sedgwick told The News: "If Britain awards this contract to Spain it will be a kick in the teeth for British industry and an even bigger one for Gibraltar. "It will send a clear message to Spain that shows Britain really doesn’t care what they do, how many times they infringe on British waters or threaten Gibraltar – they will still get multi-million pound contracts to build RFA ships helping the Royal Navy."

Yet, as the stores-carrying Solid Support Ships come under the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, they don’t have to be built in the UK, unlike warships, and can be constructed at a lower cost overseas. Therefore, the UK could prefer Spain to build those.