The RFA flotilla is a civilian manned fleet of ships. Its main task is to support the Royal Navy at sea with fuel, stores and ammunition. The RFA also supplies ships for aviation support, amphibious support, forward repair facilities and secure sea transport for the MOD.
The planned future Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) capability which seeks to provide the Royal Navy with the ability to operate away from the UK for protracted periods of time. MARS vessels are planned to replace many of the existing RFA fleet following their progressive retirement from service. MARS currently consists of 3 types of vessel:
Fleet Solid Support (FSS); and
Amphibious Combat Support (AFS(A)).
While the total MARS capability is designed to meet the future needs of the Royal Navy, the three classes are planned to be procured incrementally, concentrating initially on the double hulled Tankers that are required in order to comply with International Maritime environmental standards. The MARS capability is currently in the early stages of the procurement cycle.
Barrow's expertise could make a major contribution to the planned delivery of the proposed MARS fleet.
This expertise stems from delivering HMS Ocean (helicopter carrier), HMS Albion,HMS Bulwark and RFA, AO, Wave Knight Below you will find a description of the ships likely to be required.
MARS delivery should be programmed so as to even out troughs in the Future Aircraft Carrier and other UK shipbuilding programmes so as to help sustain UK warship building skills and capabilities.
The Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) project will provide the future Royal Navy with the ability to operate away from the UK for protracted periods of time.
MARS vessels will replace many of the existing Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) fleet following their progressive retirement from service in the latter part of this decade. The project is in the early stages of its Assessment Phase.
General Characteristics / Technical Performance
It is too early to say what the specifications might be, or how the capability might be provided, but MARS platforms are currently expected to provide three core capabilities to deployed joint forces:
Bulk Consumables (BC) â€“ the provision of fuel, oils, lubricants, ammunition, food, water and stores to embarked forces.
Joint Sea Based Logistics (JSBL) â€“ the provision of logistic support from afloat to joint forces ashore, including supporting air formations.
Forward Aviation Support (FAS) â€“ the provision of support to maritime rotary wing operations.