BMT Defence Services, a subsidiary of BMT Group, has announced that it has been confirmed as a sub-contractor for the Royal Navy’s MARS (military afloat reach and sustainability) tanker project, supported by sister companies, BMT Reliability Consultants and BMT Isis. The four new logistic support vessels will be built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME), to be operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA).

The MARS tanker build contract is worth an approximate £452m, with UK-based firms benefiting from associated contracts including the provision of key systems and equipment. Three of BMT Group’s defence subsidiaries will work together with DSME to deliver the project.

Having developed the winning AEGIR® vessel design under its own R&D funding, Bath-based BMT Defence Services will lead and coordinate the BMT work, and make a central contribution that includes the delivery of the complete basic ship design which will lead to plan approval. Through its extensive experience of working with the UK MoD, BMT Defence Services is uniquely positioned to provide a range of project management services to the prime contractor, DSME, which will include requirements analysis and acceptance planning, oversight of specific UK factory trials and technical documentation support.

BMT Reliability Consultants, based in Fareham, will assist in the development of a robust and cost effective integrated logistics support solution for the vessels. It will apply its extensive experience and understanding of UK MoD and Royal Fleet Auxiliary / Royal Navy practices and procedures and provide specialist services including the management, assessment and optimisation of the supportability, availability and reliability of the vessels.

BMT Isis will provide assurances that the ships are safe in accordance with MoD standards, as well as UK and international legislation through the production of a whole ship safety case for the MARS tankers. As well as developing a comprehensive hazard log covering all aspects of ship operation, BMT Isis will conduct a comprehensive environmental assessment of the ships including an inventory of hazardous materials. This essential contribution will both reduce project and regulatory risk and help the MoD to maximise the versatility of the vessels in performing its global role.

David Rainford, sector director for defence at BMT Group said, "BMT’s involvement in this project reinforces our world-class reputation in design and engineering, not just through the winning design, but the vital support we’ll continue to provide throughout the project. This is a great achievement and reinforces the significant role SMEs will play in powering the UK economy out of current difficulties. Despite the current austere outlook for UK defence spending we believe the future is bright for BMT and UK design and knowledge businesses with strong opportunities for growth – the very definition of a British success."