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DSME wins £452m MARS Tanker competition

Posted 22 February 2012 · Add Comment

Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) announced today that it is the preferred bidder for the Royal Navy's MARS (Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability) Tanker. DSME and partners will provide the specialised design and build of four new logistic support vessels, to be operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA).

The contract will be worth an approximate £452 million, with a significant proportion going to sub-contractors and partners. As part of the RFA’s fleet, the MARS Tankers will offer logistical support to the Royal Navy by providing fuel, food and fresh water to naval vessels at sea. The vessels will each be just over 200 metres in length, 28 metres in beam, and have a displacement of over 37,000 tonnes. Each will be able to carry the equivalent volume of more than 7 Olympic-sized swimming pools of fuel cargo. This new addition to the fleet is due to be in service with the RFA from 2016 onwards.

The winning bid combines outstanding shipbuilding quality and superior technology from DSME with naval design expertise from Bath-based BMT Defence Services with their AEGIR® vessel design. These Naval Auxiliaries will exploit the economic efficiencies of the world’s premier shipbuilder, whilst retaining UK capability, knowledge and skills in naval ship design and engineering.

DSME is the world's pre-eminent specialised shipbuilder with a proven record of delivery spanning both complex commercial and military ships. From commercial tankers and offshore platforms, to destroyers and submarines, DSME is recognised as a world leader in the construction of technically demanding vessels. The commercial build and outfitting practices adopted for the MARS Tanker, will deliver an efficient, high quality build process.

With the RFA Flotilla providing ever greater support to Royal Navy operations as well as providing a visible UK military presence across the globe, the BMT-AEGIR® platform design has been specially optimised for the requirements of the Royal Navy and RFA. It utilises a hull design that meets the latest marine pollution regulations and adopts design principles that are common with the latest Royal Navy platforms. DSME and its partners have refined this design in conjunction with many equipment suppliers.

Sang-Tae Nam, President and CEO of DSME said: “DSME is especially proud to have won this important contract from the UK MOD, it shows a level of confidence in our ability to build ships to time, cost and performance. This significant win in the UK, coupled with our recent Indonesian submarine order, helps to further broaden our international business credentials. Exporting these MARS Tankers to the UK adds to our already strong and competitive portfolio, and we have no doubt that the great and longstanding relationship between DSME and BMT will be strengthened by this success.

Muir Macdonald, Managing Director of BMT Defence Services said: “We, and our partners DSME, are delighted with this result against such strong international competition and are looking forward to reinforcing our partnership with this joint success.  I know we shall very much enjoy working closely with the MOD to now deliver these ships that are such an important addition to the RFA fleet.  It will be a privilege to work with a shipbuilder with the reputation and capabilities of DSME; it gives BMT a massive boost in further proving our design and engineering expertise.

“The global market for auxiliary vessels will remain strong over the next couple of decades and the selection of our AEGIR® design puts Britain in pole-position for championing our design and know-how around the world.”

Chief Defence Materiel, Defence Equipment and Support, Bernard Gray said: “After an open, fair and rigorous competition involving bidders from around the world, DSME emerged as the preferred bidder. The DSME solution offers the best operational capability for the Royal Navy at the lowest whole life cost. A foreign build offers best value for money for Defence, whilst the UK SME Company BMT Defence Services -AEGIR® design ensures our ability to meet international maritime obligations and provides the means for the Royal Navy to operate worldwide.”

UK companies will benefit from £150m of associated contracts comprising:

• £90m on UK contracts for the provision of key equipment, systems, design and support services. The winning design is being provided by UK company BMT Defence Services

• £60m investment in the UK from customisation, trials and specialist engineering support.

The tankers are part of a multi-billion pound investment programme for the Royal Navy, which includes Type 45 destroyers, Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers and Astute Class attack submarines, employing thousands of people in the UK.

Minister for defence equipment support and technology, Peter Luff said: “Over the next decade, the Government will be investing billions of pounds in our Maritime capabilities to ensure that our Royal Navy remains a formidable fighting force. This project will inject up to £150 million into UK industry and support and maintenance will also be carried out in the UK. The Government remains committed to building complex warships in UK shipyards.”  

Commodore Bill Walworth, head of the RFA, said: “We are delighted the RFA will be able to operate these world class vessels. These fleet replenishment tankers will be flexible ships, able to operate with the Royal Navy and Armed Forces in conflict, and are designed to allow for upgrades and emerging technologies meaning that they have been designed with the future in mind.   

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