The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced plans to procure two new floating docks along with associated infrastructure for Faslane, the primary hub for the UK’s nuclear deterrent and the home of the Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines.
This development comes as part of the Ministry’s Additional Fleet Time Docking Capability (AFTDC) programme, aimed at enhancing the maintenance capabilities of the Royal Navy’s submarine fleet.
The early engagement notice, released on 7 November, marks the beginning of a procurement process that has evolved from a thorough market engagement with various industry stakeholders.
The AFTDC Programme, as outlined in the MoD’s Prior Information Notice (PIN) published on 7 November 2023, details a strategic initiative to enhance the docking capabilities at HM Naval Base Clyde. The purpose of the notice is to invite industry participation in market engagement events, as part of the AFTDC Joint Project Team’s (JPT) efforts to procure two floating docks and associated infrastructure.
“The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (‘the Authority’) has initiated the Additional Fleet Time Docking Capability (AFTDC) Programme to procure two floating docks and associated infrastructure to be located at HM Naval Base Clyde. As the single integrated operating base for UK Royal Navy Submarines, HM Naval Base Clyde is the home of fleet time docking capability to support submarine availability. Following completion of a period of market engagement with industry, the Authority intends to formally commence a procurement for AFTDC.”
John Healey, the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, queried about the Ministry’s plans in relation to the National Audit Office (NAO) report titled “The Equipment Plan 2022 to 2032,” asking:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the report published by the NAO entitled The Equipment Plan 2022 to 2032, HC 907, published 29 November 2022, whether his Department plans to procure a submarine floating dock.”
In response, James Cartlidge, the Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, highlighted the department’s proactive approach in assessing its needs, stating:
“The Ministry of Defence has conducted an assessment on its docking needs. This assessment has identified that two floating docks are required to enhance the out of water maintenance capability and meet future demand for submarine maintenance at His Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde.”
He further added:
“Market engagement has recently commenced to better understand the delivery strategy required to procure floating docks and the associated infrastructure necessary to create an additional out of water maintenance capability.”