Kelvin Hughes Surveillance has secured an agreement to supply integrated bridge systems (IBS) and helicopter control radars for four fleet tankers being built for the UK Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA).
The ships are the first phase of the UK MOD’s Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) programme, commissioned to maintain the Royal Navy’s ability to refuel at sea and provide fuel to warships and task groups.
The MOD awarded a contract worth £452m for the four new RFA tankers, to be built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) in South Korea.
The Kelvin Hughes IBS is based on its state of the art solid state SharpEye™ radar sensor and Naval MantaDigital™ (NMD) display, bringing significant operational benefits such as a low integration risk, enhanced operational capability and reduced whole-life cost.
Kelvin Hughes’ scope of supply for the four RFA tankers will provide three distinct sub systems integrated within an IBS architecture, namely the navigation system, the command and control system and the helicopter control radar system.
Each shipset will consist of three SharpEye™ radars, accessed and controlled via multiple console mounted NMD tactical displays. The system will also include a suite of navigation sensors and other third party equipment.
Rohan Dearlove, head of business development for the naval market sector, said: “This contract continues Kelvin Hughes’ long standing relationship with the RFA and builds on an increasingly successful supplier relationship with DSME, with whom we have recently entered into another contract to supply SharpEye™ based systems for an ASEAN Navy.
“This contract represents the first implementation of SharpEye™ on a key UK maritime platform and demonstrates customer confidence in our solid state technology and the inherent benefits it brings”.
The RFA is now the twelfth Government sector maritime agency to select SharpEye™.
“The contract with DSME also demonstrates our growing naval business in the ASEAN region, where we are working with a number of prime contractors and end-users on major fighting ship and naval auxiliary programmes,” added Dearlove.
At over 200 metres long, the four tankers will support deployed amphibious, land and air forces close to the shore, will be able to operate helicopters and are planned to enter service from 2016, replacing existing RFA single hulled tankers.
The ships will carry fuel, stores and provide logistic support for maritime and expeditionary forces including Carrier Strike. The versatility of the tanker platform means that simultaneously it can refuel an aircraft carrier and destroyer whilst undertaking helicopter resupply of other vessels.
BMT Defence Services Limited have been sub-contracted by DSME to provide the initial tankerthe winning vessel design and will lead and coordinate the Kelvin Hughes work on the programme in the early stages.
Chris Trout the MARS Tanker Project Manager at BMT Defence Services, a subsidiary of BMT Group said that Kelvin Hughes had taken part in an extremely competitive tender process.
He added: “Kelvin Hughes has a long and proud tradition in supporting the RFA and BMT is looking forward to working with them in providing a first class ship for the RFA.”
Kelvin Hughes is contracted to supply the sub systems and supporting services at key milestones, with detailed engineering commencing immediately and equipment deliveries starting in 2014.
Source: Kelvin Hughes, September 18, 2012; Image: BMT