Defence Management: "MoD Buys £452m MARS Tanker Ships"

MOD to order four new RFA tankers

Ministry of Defence said:
A new generation of 37,000-tonne tankers is to be ordered for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) to support future Royal Navy operations around the globe, the MOD has announced today.

Too late chum, Soleil beat you to the punch (as she did me - and I saw it nearly an hour ago). What stuns me , is why aren't these ships being built by Britain, I believe our leaders are stating we should be upping the ante on manufacturing - odd way of going about it IMHO ?
The reason is simple. Tankers are largely empty, coated steel structure, with some equipment on the weather deck and in the case of RFA huge amounts of accommodation, hangars etc back aft. No-one is more efficient in the world at churning out those sorts of ships than the Koreans. If you wanted to try and do that in the UK, you'd be looking at three-four times the price, if they could be slotted in in Govan (or potentially A&P Tyne).The real scandal is that it has taken approximately eight years and I suspect around £20M sunk costs to order four largish product carriers. Commercial shipping firms would have shot people for that sort of d1cking about. It took five years for people to understand a fairly simple concept - you can't get an "RFA-style" tanker on the commercial market, but if you pay someone to design it (well done this time BMT), a competent commercial yard will build it for you. The remaining three years have been spent bodging the tendering process.....However, good (if long overdue news) at last!
Glad to see they are being built in the far east. Im not saying this should always be the way (i live in Barrow) but sometimes the defence budget has to be for defence rather than job creation.


War Hero
Other problems included the fact that not one UK company bid to build it, and that the programme consistently failed to survive contact with the Planning Round. The need has been clear to the RN for years, but it was unable to make the case strongly enough at a time when funding for Iraq and Afghanistan was deemed higher priority.
Absolutely. Classic example, get through initial gate (6 yrs ago?) only to be told to deliver assessment phase with one-third of "planned" budget. Of course should never have needed as much as the planned element, but working in MoD to AMS adds so much more benefit...........


Lantern Swinger
Is story is a bit wrong? This link says BAE are lead contractor and are a partner to BMT Defence Services Ltd, who designed the vessels, and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd. (DSME) who are building them.

BAE Systems To Partner With BMT And DSME For MARS Fleet Tankers - BAE Systems

This press release is from Feb 08.

The BBC page says no 'final bids' from UK companies. Do they have their hands full with the QE carriers? The 2nd carrier began construction a week or so ago.
Are they stupid?

The tankers, which are due to enter service in 2016, will each measure 200m in length and replace models that date back to the 1970s.
Each will be able to fill the equivalent of two Olympic-sized swimming pools in an hour.
The Olympics are this year - no bloody use filling the swimming pools in 2016 (unless of course we have won the Worldwide Olympic Swimming Pool Filling Contract for the next couple of decades and no-one has told me).

On reflection, I may have got hold of the wrong end of the stick on this one.
The BBC page says no 'final bids' from UK companies. Do they have their hands full with the QE carriers? The 2nd carrier began construction a week or so ago.
That is a very good point; do we still have the capacity to build them? In due course, we will need yard space for the T23 replacement.

Labour's shadow defence secretary expressed disappointment at the deal going abroad.
It's no good Murphy huffing an puffing, the Koreans or many other foreign yards were always going to win on price anyway. His lot were lined up to do exactly the same.


War Hero
Sorry, but that just sounds like sour grapes - in other words the Italians put in a bid which wasnt compliant, didnt meet requirements, didnt come in as cheapest bidder and suddenly claim they were going to build in the UK. How wonderfully convenient.

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