Tide-class MARS tankers

A&P Group has been awarded a £15m contract by the UK Ministry of Defence to add high-end military capabilities to four new Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) tankers.

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said that the contract will create new jobs in Falmouth, UK, and provide job security to many others.

He said: "It is only because we have a long-term economic plan that we are able to make these big investment decisions here in the south-west to help the region develop and maintain its position as a world-class hub for defence and cyber security services."

Called MARS, the four Tide-class tankers are being built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, and will replace the existing fleet of single-hulled tankers.

The tankers, consisting of Tidespring, Tiderace, Tidesurge and Tideforce, will deliver fuel, water, spare parts and other supplies.

The first 37,000t tanker is expected to be delivered in October, with the final vessel set for delivery by April 2017.

"This investment will provide the RFA with a world-class tanker capability."

Upon being commissioned, they will support deployed amphibious, land and air forces near to the shore and future integration of upgrades and new technology.

UK Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne said: "The vital customisation work being done in the UK on the Tide-class tankers will enhance these vessels with state of the art equipment, including communications systems, ballistic protection and upgrading to allow [a] quick fit of self-defensive weapons.

"This investment will provide the RFA with a world-class tanker capability, which in turn will benefit the Royal Navy by supporting its current and future warships on operations around the globe, including the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers."

Image: An illustration of Tide-class MARS tankers. Photo: courtesy of BMT Defence Services.