A&P Group’s Falmouth operation, which provides global support for a cluster of four frontline Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels, welcomed Minister of Defence for Procurement Harriett Baldwin and local MP Sarah Newton on a tour of the region last week.
The ministerial visit came as A&P Group prepares for the arrival of RFA Tidespring – the first of four brand new Tide class fleet tankers, which will undergo UK customization at the Falmouth facility.
A&P Group’s longstanding relationship with the Ministry of Defence is founded on the cluster contract, which provides global support for the RFA Argus, RFA Cardigan Bay, RFA Mounts Bay and RFA Lyme Bay from Falmouth.
The cluster contract covers the maintenance, emergency repair, project management, design engineering and spares supply needed to keep these vessels safe, legal and operational and includes the deployment of highly trained engineers to repair and maintain vessels while they are ‘in theatre’ in some of the world’s most conflict ridden areas.
The ministerial visit included a tour of the Falmouth facility and provided the perfect opportunity to showcase the South West’s highly skilled shipbuilding and marine heritage. Gerald Pitts, managing director of A&P Group in Falmouth, led the tour. He said: “We were delighted to welcome Harriett Baldwin Minister of Defence for Procurement and local MP Sarah Newton to our facility in Falmouth.
“A&P Group has been successfully supporting the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) with the ‘Through Life Support’ Cluster Contract since 2008. Under the contract, A&P works in partnership with the MoD to maintain four RFA ships and provide operational support to the vessels on deployment overseas. The service provided by A&P has resulted in improved operational availability for the RFA vessels together with significant financial savings for the MoD.
“The contract has underpinned the continued success of A&P, paving the way for further MoD contracts including the MARS Tanker contract – which will see A&P Falmouth complete the customisation and Contractor Acceptance Trials of four new tankers. It was a pleasure to showcase A&P Group’s capabilities and demonstrate the importance of these contracts to the minister and highlight the wider economic benefits the contracts deliver to the South West region.”
Harriett Baldwin, Minister for Defence Procurement said on her website: “It was fantastic to visit Sarah in Falmouth and see first-hand the region’s proud heritage of skilled shipbuilders and marine engineers. The Government is committed to helping this vibrant industry grow even stronger in Falmouth and across the UK, while also making sure our Armed Forces have the equipment they need to keep our country safe.
“A rising defence budget, combined with recommendations from Sir John Parker’s national shipbuilding strategy, mean more regional prosperity and highly skilled jobs across the UK, including the potential of more work for shipyards in Devon and Cornwall.”
Sarah Newton, MP for Truro and Falmouth, said: “Helping secure Ministry of Defence (MoD) contracts for Falmouth continues to be an important part of my job as local MP. I want to build on our success and help secure new contracts for more vessels. The Government is investing in new ships which is why I invited the Minister making these decisions to see the excellent workforce and quality work undertaken in Falmouth.”