A marine engineering company in southwest England has been selected to customize four new military tankers being built in South Korea to support the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and other Royal Navy warships.
A deal awarding the work to A&P Marine’s facilities in Falmouth, Cornwall, to fit out the new 37,000-ton Tide-class tankers with UK-specific equipment is due to be announced in the next few weeks, a Defence Ministry source said.
A spokeswoman for the MoD confirmed an announcement will be made in the near future.
The tankers are being built by the South Korean shipyard DMSE using a design from the British company BMT Defence Services as part of the MoD’s Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability program.
A&P and BMT have worked together, most notably on the upgrade and life extension of the casualty receiving ship Argus, now in Sierre Leone as part of Britain’s effort to combat the Ebola disease.
Selection of BMT’s design, known as the Aegir, has proved a significant boost for the Bath, southwest England-based, naval and defense consultancy.
Norway has purchased a variant of the design for a new logistics and support vessel it is having built in South Korea; Australia and New Zealand are also interested in the design.
The £452 million (US $684 million) deal awarded by the British MoD in 2012 to buy the four tankers caused controversy in the media and elsewhere due to the fact the order had gone overseas.
The reality, though, was no British yard competed for the award, which in the final phases attracted only foreign bidders.
The value of the A&P deal is not yet known. At the time of the 2012 contract award, the MoD said £60 million of investment would be spent in the UK from customization, trials and specialist engineering support.