The British MoD has announced that the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Argus is to be upgraded with state of the art medical equipment in refit worth over £23m.

Work to prepare the ship for providing hospital facilities to troops in war zones began at A&P Group’s Falmouth facility this week. This is the first ship out of five to begin the refit process through the contract handed out by the MoD to A&P Group in June 2008.

Argus, which can accommodate up to 100 casualties, will receive new medical equipment including CT scanning equipment used to assess casualties by 3D X-ray imagery, as well as new sterilising kit.

MoD defence equipment and support director of afloat support, Commodore Dave Preston said refitting the ship was crucial providing troop support.

“The medical support Argus can provide troops on operations is a crucial capability that can make all the difference when time is of the,” he said.

The ship will also be fitted to be more environmentally friendly through the installation of a bioreactor that uses microbial action to process sewage as well as refrigeration and air conditioning plants that use more environmentally friendly refrigerant gases.

The accommodation and mess facilities will also be modernised, to improve living standards for both crew and patients.

A flight deck more than two thirds of the ships length can accommodate all Royal Navy’s helicopters and the ship is also capable of fulfilling additional roles such as a providing logistics and transporting large quantities of goods.

By Daniel Garrun.