BMT Defence Services Ltd, a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, recently completed the Future OMAR (Operational Maintenance and Repair) Capability Options Study for the Future Business Group (FBG) of the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).

A key element of the current OMAR capability, the Forward Repair Ship RFA DILIGENCE, is due to leave service in 2014. The Directorate of Equipment Capability Expeditionary Logistics Support (DEC ELS) wished to examine a wide range of options for how the capability will be delivered after that date. The BMT study assisted DEC ELS in this task by exploring the benefits and shortfalls of acquiring the capability via a range of costed options.

“We’ve carried out concept, options and capability studies for the MoD’s Future Business Group before and we were pleased to be able to use our experience and expertise again, this time in the OMAR study,” says Alex Aitken, BMT Defence Services’ OMAR Project Manager and a Senior Naval Architect at the company.

OMAR options

As part of the study, BMT examined the MoD’s existing OMAR capability, which is delivered by RFA Diligence, Marine Salvage Units operated by the SALMO (Salvage & Marine Operations) Integrated Project Team, and by Royal Navy Forward Support Units supporting the Mine Countermeasures fleet.

Against this background and with input from the OMAR stakeholders and subject matter experts from the Royal Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and commercial shipping, BMT mapped the likely shape of future OMAR capability.

From this, BMT generated a number of concept options comprising a mix of new builds, conversions, charters and modular solutions, each with different cost profiles. BMT also considered using the vessels both exclusively for OMAR and making them dual-role.

Other concept options included procurement strategies based on MoD ownership and private finance, while the process also compared capabilities, validating the results in a subsequent stakeholder forum, and examined risks to the project and fleet.

In addition, using its in-house whole-life estimation expertise, BMT modelled and compared costs and spending over the future OMAR capability’s lifespan.

“It was good to be involved with this project at an early stage,” says Alex Aitken. “BMT works well as a Tier Zero contractor and it’s important we’re involved early on when we can use our knowledge and experience working closely with the MoD to help shape the future fleet.”

BMT’s OMAR experience

BMT’s OMAR study for the Future Business Group builds on previous experience in this field. BMT conducted its own internally funded research and development on forward repair ship capabilities and presented a paper on the results of this study at the World Maritime Conference in 2006. In 2005 it undertook a feasibility study for a ship owner to convert a cable layer into a forward repair ship.