RFA Tidespring, the first of four new MARS (Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability) tankers is currently fitting out at the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering yard at Okpo in South Korea. The tanker is expected in Falmouth next spring when she will start military customisation.

The vital customisation work being carried out 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.

The expertise of management and skill of the workforce at A&P Falmouth paid off when the Chancellor George Osborne announced that the A&P Group had won a major £15m contract to install high-end military capabilities in the four new tankers so that they are ready for operations by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

The four Tide-class tankers, Tidespring, Tiderace, Tidesurge and Tideforce, will enter service with the Royal Navy to boost its capabilities by delivering fuel, water, spare parts and other supplies.

A&P will support the four vessels as they go through their initial capability assessment trials.

The other ships will follow Tidespring at intervals. The tankers are planned to enter service from 2016 and A&P Group will provide through-life support to all four ships for a minimum of three years. The working life expectancy of the ships is 25 years.

An order worth £452m for the four vessels was placed in 2012. The ships were designed by BMT Defence Services.

The vessels are 201m long, with a beam of nearly 29m and displacing 37,000 tonnes. Under the Cluster Support Programme A&P Falmouth has a contract to provide maintenance to support 13 RN and RFA ships.