10 Feb 2022

A&P Group UK and A&P Australia has simultaneously carried out the refits of two Bay Class vessels; RFA Cardigan Bay in the UK and HMAS Choules in Australia.

RFA Cardigan Bay has recently completed her refit at A&P Falmouth and resumed her MoD ‘Fleet Time’ schedule, whilst HMAS Choules continues a significant refit period at A&P Australia’s facility in Sydney.

The Bay Class are amphibious landing ships built for the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) during the 2000s. UK based A&P Group supports RFA Cardigan Bay, RFA Lyme’s Bay and RFA Mounts Bay as part of its Through Life Support (TLS) contract with the MoD.

HMAS Choules, formerly RFA Largs Bay, was purchased by the Royal Australian Navy in 2011. A&P Australia was incorporated in 2012 and has been supporting HMAS Choules since her arrival in Australia. In 2015, A&P Australia was awarded the In-Service Sustainment and Support Contract for HMAS Choules which was extended in 2019.

RFA Cardigan Bay has completed a significant mid-life refit at A&P Falmouth. The work included critical equipment and obsolescence upgrades and accommodation updates.

The vessel underwent a substantial docking period at the start of the refit carried out over 90 days including painting, hull access, stern/side ramp removal and significant work to the propulsion system. The remainder of the period was spent alongside A&P’s Falmouth facility and ensured the continued performance and availability of this RFA Bay Class vessel.

RFA Cardigan Bay’s refit was the second of three planned refits being delivered at A&P Falmouth for the Bay Class vessels with RFA Mounts Bay completed prior and RFA Lyme Bay scheduled for 2022.

Since 2019, A&P Australia has been tasked as the principal systems integrator for the HMAS Choules Capability Assurance Project (CAP). The project involves the design and installation of over 80 engineering changes across 44 capability enhancement areas to assure the capability and supportability of HMAS Choules until her planned withdrawal date early next decade.

The CAP has been integrated with sustainment and has been delivered progressively through a number of maintenance periods, however, this current refit is the major upgrade window and is acting as a mid-life upgrade for the platform.

Refit Period 21 is spanning over 300 days at an estimated production cost of $90m and is being delivered by a 500-strong daily workforce from over 50 suppliers.

The Refit Period includes a major system renewals programme which includes the Dry Exhaust, HVAC, Ballast Water Treatment, numerous auxiliary and mission system upgrades and enhancements, as well as a major sustainment package for hull and tank preservation, structural and machinery repairs and planned maintenance across all fitted equipment, including main engines, power generation, propulsion and auxiliary systems.

David McGinley, Chief Executive Officer of Cammell Laird Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders Ltd, Atlantic & Peninsula Marine Services, said: “A&P Group and A&P Australia are proud of their continued support of the LSD (A) Bay Class of vessels on behalf of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Royal Australian Navy.

“Our relationship is built on a long-standing relationship with the MoD and the Royal Australian Navy, which sees us provide global maintenance support to these vessels.

“As competitive and commercial ship repair facilities, we continue to provide the MoD and Royal Australian Navy with significant efficiency gains and cost savings, maintaining the highest levels of vessel availability to the MoD and Royal Australian Navy and Australia Defence.”

RFA Cardigan Bay2