A&P Group has welcomed RFA Tidesurge, the third of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s fleet of four new Tide Class tankers, to its Falmouth facility.
A&P Group was awarded the Ministry of Defence (MOD) contract in 2015 to customise and fit-out all four of the RFA’s new fleet Tide Class tankers and co-ordinate full military Capability Assessment Trials to prepare the ships for operational service.
RFA Tidesurge and her three sister vessels (Tidespring, Tiderace and Tideforce) are part of the MOD’s Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) Tanker project and will maintain the Royal Navy’s ability to refuel at sea and support deployed amphibious, land and air forces close to the shore.
RFA Tidesurge, which weighs 39,000 tonnes, is 201 metres long and has a beam width of 29 metres, berthed alongside A&P’s County Wharf on Tuesday 27th March. RFA Tidesurge will now undergo a four-month programme of military customisation, armament and upgrades to UK MOD standards before undergoing sea trials following the in the footsteps of her sisters.
RFA Tidespring is now in service supporting the new Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers, along with the rest of the Royal Navy and RFA Fleet. RFA Tiderace, which is also currently docked at A&P Falmouth, is expected to enter service in early summer and Tidesurge will follow in autumn. The fourth and final Tide class tanker, RFA Tideforce is due to arrive at A&P Falmouth later this year.
Working with the ship’s designer BMT Defence, multiple UK industry contractors and the MOD’s Commercially Supported Shipping team, A&P Group made several visits to the vessels during construction to prepare 37 design specifications for military equipment upgrades including fabrication, pipework and system modifications. A&P Group is also providing Fleet Time Support for all four tankers, which involves the provision of global engineering and maintenance expertise from the moment of build completion throughout the vessel’s journey to the UK.
David McGinley, Managing Director of A&P Group said: “A&P Group was awarded the MARS Tanker contract in recognition of its facilities, infrastructure and workforce and it is testament to the expertise and relationships we have built working in the defence sector alongside the Ministry of Defence. RFA Tidesurge will now undergo the same programme of works as Tidespring and Tiderace and our team is delighted to welcome the vessel into A&P Falmouth.”
A&P Group also has a contract to support and maintain RFA ships at home and abroad. Under the Cluster Support Programme, A&P Group provides maintenance support to groups of MOD vessels, which include RFA Argus and the RFA Bay Class vessels Mounts Bay, Cardigan Bay and Lyme Bay.
A&P Group operates seven dry docks across four strategic locations in the UK and delivers global engineering excellence to the commercial shipping, marine, offshore wind, oil and gas, civil nuclear and defence industries. All facilities combine a rich heritage of marine engineering skills and experience, providing ship owners and energy companies with all the precision skills needed to complete the most demanding projects.