A&P Falmouth has welcomed Australian Defence Minister Jason Clare MP and Australia’s Chief of Navy Ray Griggs to the docks to inspect the RFA Largs Bay, which has been bought by the Australian Navy.
The RFA Largs Bay is currently at A&P Falmouth undergoing a major refit before it is handed over to the Australian Navy in October. It is the second ship in its class to undergo the refit. Work includes maintenance to the main engines, propulsion systems and painting the hull, along with major modifications and upgrades.
Gerald Pitts, A&P’s Cluster Director, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Australian Minister and colleagues to Falmouth. It gave us an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of our joint working arrangements with the Ministry of Defence.
“Building on the successful first of class refit on the Mounts Bay in 2010, the sister vessel to Largs Bay, we are delighted to undertake this project on behalf of the Australian Navy.
“Work is currently on schedule and the refit will be completed in time for the ship to be handed over in the autumn.”
A&P, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2010, has a contract with the MOD to provide upkeep support to Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships. The partnership has led to a more economical approach to ship repair and maintenance throughout the RFA flotilla.
The new approach is estimated to deliver millions of pounds of savings to the MOD over 30 years on the previous arrangements, which saw individual contracts competed for as and when they were required.
Peter Child, Managing Director of A&P Falmouth, said: “The contract guarantees the company – and it’s highly skilled employees – with vital security for the future.
“We provide great value for money, as we proved last year with the RFA Mounts Bay, which was the first ship in its class to undergo a major refit.
“We have a worldwide reputation for excellence and efficiency and continue to increase our resources and invest in our skills base.”
Former Royal Navy and RFA vessels are in considerable demand as a cost effective alternative to new build options. The A&P Group has a good record of regenerating UK MoD vessels and has a specialist team of experts available, not only to regenerate the ships but also to install new equipment and train personnel in its safe and effective operation.
Mr Child said: “As the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary accepts new warships and auxiliaries into the fleet, older ships that still have a service life are potentially very attractive assets for overseas navies.
“Warship regeneration is a complex and demanding requirement and A&P Group has responded to this new business stream by becoming a major provider to the UK MoD and overseas navies in the past three years by returning these ships to service with the new owners.”