"Full ahead both engines" is the order of the day at A&P Falmouth as the docks is on the crest of a wave.

A&P Defence division based at the yard and headed by managing director Gerald Pitts has a huge workload coordinating MOD/RFA work around the globe and here in Falmouth.

It has reported its busiest spring yet, delivering international projects for a number of Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Bay Class, Tide Class and HM Ships.

David McGinley, Managing Director of A&P Group said: “A&P Defence continues to perform well, supporting the RFA and the MoD to achieve efficiencies in through life support. A&P Defence is a key area of growth for the group and we look forward to further developing our markets here in the UK and abroad.”

The Falmouth facility is currently half way through a refit for RFA Argus as part of A&P Group‘s contract to provide maintenance support to a cluster of MoD vessels, which include RFA Argus and the RFA Bay Class vessels Mounts Bay, Cardigan Bay and Lyme Bay.

RFA Lyme Bay is in port for and Extended Annual Certification Period (ANCP) in preparation for her deployment east of Suez later in the year. During her stay the ship is being fitted with two Phalanx units and other weaponry.

The Phalanx Close-In Weapon System, a rapid-fire, radar and electro-optical guided gun, is designed to defeat anti-ship missiles and a range of surface threats. It features a 20mm gun capable of firing armour-piercing bullets at up to 4,500 rounds per minute.

The Ministry of Defence has ordered the upgraded Phalanx 1B systems, which are planned to be fitted onto RFA vessels, under a £40m contract with Raytheon.

Defence analysts are placing bets on Lyme Bay taking part in Exercise Saif Sareea 3 (Safe Sword) in Oman later this year when 4,500 UK military personnel will undertake training exercises.

The A&P Cluster team has overseen contract work on RFA Cardigan Bay in Bahrain and on RFA Mounts Bay at the Detyens yard in South Carolina. Whilst in refit Mounts Bay had improvements made to her exhaust gas system, which has resulted in a significant reduction in noise output which will be good news, when she eventually returns to Falmouth.

Gerald Pitts said: “A&P’s ability to manage a number of complex and international programmes of work simultaneously lies in the expertise of our team, the scale of our operations, facilities and infrastructure, our global reach, the detailed knowledge we have of the vessels and the partnered relationship we have established with Commercially Supported Shipping and The Ministry of Defence.

“We are very proud of this on-going partnership and pride ourselves on a collaborative way of working that delivers a low risk and cost-effective solution to the RFA, wherever its vessels are in the world. We understand the unique requirements of the RFA and are committed to ensuring the fleet is fit to fight, now and in the future.

“It’s been an especially busy period in Falmouth for defence work and with the imminent arrival of RFA Tideforce, it looks set to continue.”

Meanwhile RFA Argus continues with her massive multi-million pound refit in number 2 dry-dock. The hull has been water blasted back to bare metal allowing for a specialised paint system to be applied. Both her main engines have been overhauled along with auxiliary machinery.

The defence team is currently preparing for the arrival of RFA Tideforce, the final ship of the RFA’s fleet of four new Tide Class tankers, this Summer. The vessel will undergo a period of UK customisation followed by sea trials, as did its sister vessel RFA Tidespring. RFA Tiderace is undertaking capability trials and RFA Tidesurge is currently in Falmouth undergoing customisation work.

Britain's Royal Navy flagship of tomorrow the super aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth can now strike out across the Seven Seas after refuelling ‘on the go’ for the first time.

After a dry run earlier in the year the carrier successfully took on fuel last week in the North Atlantic, receiving ‘amber gold’ from RFA Tidespring, the first MARS tanker to be completed.

A&P Group was awarded the Ministry of Defence (MoD) UKCCATS contract to provide a period of UK customisation and equipment fit-outs for all four of the RFA’s new fleet of Tide Class tankers and co-ordinate full military Capability Assessment Trials, in 2015.

A&P is also preparing for the arrival of HMS Enterprise – a multi-role survey vessel and HMS Mersey – a River-class offshore patrol vessel, which are due later this year for scheduled maintenance on a contract awarded from BAE Systems.