A&P Falmouth is in the UK defence industry spotlight as the yard completes the first ever 'dazzle' paint scheme to a Royal Navy warship since World War Two.

The Royal Navy plan to paint all five of the River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) to make them distinctive from the rest of the Fleet. The dazzle paintwork of different shades of grey, white and black comprises of complex patterns of geometric shapes first devised in World War One.

Gerald Pitts, managing director of A&P Defence at A&P Falmouth, said: “This is a very special first for us and it’s been quite an experience to be involved in the reinstatement of such an iconic and historic paint scheme.

“This was the trial project before the rest of squadron’s vessels are given the same finish, so we did need to make a few modifications to the programme once work was underway. We completed on time and to our usual high standards and the end result is really quite impressive.”

A&P Falmouth’s team applied the new paint scheme after completing a 30 day long period of planned maintenance work on HMS Tamar last month. In total, the unusual brief took more than 2,500 hours to cover the vessel’s 2,200 sq.m surface area.

It also required additional fastidious preparation as A&P’s painters marked out the different colour sections.

A&P Defence has an ongoing support contract with BAE Systems for the maintenance and repair of batch one (HMS Tyne, HMS Mersey, HMS Severn) and the new batch two River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs - HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey) at A&P Falmouth.

HMS Tamar, which is affiliated to Truro, will deploy to the Asia-Pacific region in the near future.

Originally devised in World War One to confuse enemy submarine commanders, trying to calculate a vessels speed and orientation before attacking, the dazzle paint scheme was phased out in World War Two due to the improvement of radar and optical equipment.

HMS Tamar, the Royal Navy’s “greenest” ship which entered service last year, sports two rampant red lions on her superstructure making her easily identifiable from the rest of her class and other warships. The lions represent her affiliation to Devon and Cornwall.

Commander David Louis, commander of the Overseas Patrol Squadron, said the Navy had decided to give the River-class ships a distinct identity to recognise their extended missions.

The squadron’s vessels will be deployed for several years at a time, maintaining a forward presence in areas key to UK interests. HMS Forth is deployed to the Falklands, while Medway is in the Caribbean and Trent has recently commenced operations in the Mediterranean.

Commander Louis said: “Dazzle has much less military value in the 21st century although there is still value in littoral environments when viewed against the background of land.

"It is very much more about supporting the unique identity of the squadron within the Royal Navy as part of their forward presence mission.”