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Made in UK Policy for Support Ships


British government altered the status of support ships. They will be considered as a warship. Previously the Government had argued that the new Fleet Solid Support Ships were not warships and as such, were eligible for international tendering rather than being restricted to British shipyards.

The £1.5bn competition to build up to three Fleet Solid Support Ships was suspended last year and an update was due this autumn.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told the Commons “I intend to announce the procurement timetable for these warships in due course, aftermarket testing has completed”.

According to government policy, ‘warships’ must be built inside the United Kingdom.

According to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea article 29: “For the purposes of this Convention, “warship” means a ship belonging to the armed forces of a State bearing the external marks distinguishing such ships of its nationality, under the command of an officer duly commissioned by the government of the State and whose name appears in the appropriate service list or its equivalent, and manned by a crew which is under regular armed forces discipline.”


British National Shipbuilding Strategy defines warships as solely destroyers, frigates and aircraft carriers.

“It is not a warship by definition, for the simple reason that the definition is based on the UK’s requirement to retain the ability to design, build and integrate frigates, destroyers and aircraft carriers for reasons of national security, ensuring that the complex nature of the construct is an important part of it from the very beginning. We will continue to have this argument—unions are coming to meet me very soon to discuss it.”

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