The arrival at the docks of the third Tide class tanker RFA Tidesurge from Korean shipbuilders is an important milestone for the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) as the programme of military customisation continues apace preparing these new tankers for service with the Fleet and supporting the two new super carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

Minister for Defence Procurement Guto Bebb said: “The arrival of RFA Tidesurge in Cornwall marks another key milestone in the Tide Class programme. Tidesurge will soon join her sister ships in providing the integral support which powers our warships and helps our Royal Navy maintain a truly global presence.”

While in Falmouth RFA Tidesurge will be fitted with UK specific armour, self-defence weaponry and communications systems, with the total UK work content, including A&P, in the Tide Class programme worth around £150 million and sustaining further jobs at 27 UK-based companies.

A&P Group was awarded the Ministry of Defence (MOD) contract in 2015 to customise and fit-out all four of the RFA’s new fleet Tide Class tankers and co-ordinate full military Capability Assessment Trials to prepare the ships for operational service.

RFA Tidesurge and her three sister vessels (Tidespring, Tiderace and Tideforce) are part of the MOD’s Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) Tanker project and will maintain the Royal Navy’s ability to refuel at sea and support deployed amphibious, land and air forces close to the shore.

With Tiderace almost finished her customisation programme RFA Tidesurge will now undergo her four-month programme with armament and upgrades to UK MOD standards before undergoing sea trials following in the footsteps of her sister ships.

RFA Tidespring is now fully operational acting as the FOST (Flag Officer Sea Training) tanker refueling and exercising with British and foreign naval vessels off the south coast. The 37,000-ton tanker will take part Exercise Joint Warrior off the Scottish coast next month.

RFA Tiderace, which is also currently docked at A&P Falmouth, is expected to enter service in early summer and Tidesurge will follow in autumn. The fourth and final Tide class tanker, RFA Tideforce is due to arrive at A&P Falmouth later this year.

Working with the ship’s designer BMT Defence, multiple UK industry contractors and the MOD’s Commercially Supported Shipping team, A&P Group made several visits to the vessels during construction to prepare 37 design specifications for military equipment upgrades including fabrication, pipework and system modifications. A&P Group is also providing Fleet Time Support for all four tankers, which involves the provision of global engineering and maintenance expertise from the moment of build completion throughout the vessel’s journey to the UK.

David McGinley, Managing Director of A&P Group said: “A&P Group was awarded the MARS Tanker contract in recognition of its facilities, infrastructure and workforce and it is testament to the expertise and relationships we have built working in the defence sector alongside the Ministry of Defence. RFA Tidesurge will now undergo the same programme of works as Tidespring and Tiderace and our team is delighted to welcome the vessel into A&P Falmouth.”

A&P Group also has a contract to support and maintain RFA ships at home and abroad. Under the Cluster Support Programme, A&P Group provides maintenance support to groups of MOD vessels, which include RFA Argus and the RFA Bay Class vessels Mounts Bay, Cardigan Bay and Lyme Bay.