As part of the MARS project, in early 2012 the UK MoD announced a £432
million contract to build four new 37,000 ton tankers, each over 200
metres in length.
With the first vessels entering service in 2016, these tankers will
maintain the RFA’s ability to refuel Royal Navy ships at sea for the
next 25 years. MARS tankers will be capable of supporting all types
of maritime and expeditionary operations and will be compatible with
the aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
The MARS vessels that will replace the existing Royal Fleet
Auxiliary (RFA) single hulled tankers will enter service at yearly
intervals following the introduction into service of the first
vessel in 2016.
Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) is the
Government’s preferred bidder for the contract. UK companies will
however benefit from £150 million of associated contracts.