The 98-metre-long, adaptable offshore patrol vessel – the size of Large Ben – will act as a ‘mom ship’, working distant and autonomous offboard techniques for underwater surveillance and seabed warfare, important to U.Okay. nationwide safety. The vessel will likely be formally handed over to regulate of the RFA within the subsequent few days, a number of months forward of schedule – following an acceleration of the acquisition introduced by the Defence Secretary in November 2022. Shortly after arriving at Cammell Laird, the ship will likely be repainted and have essential army gear put in, earlier than taking over its function as the primary of two Multi-Function Ocean Surveillance (MROS) ships, operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) later this 12 months. The vessel is because of enter operational service in Summer season this 12 months, with the programme for the acquisition of a second ship presently in idea section.

Head of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Commodore David Eagles RFA, stated:”That is a completely new mission for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary – and one we relish. We’ve got been entrusted with supporting a key operation to safeguard the UK’s infrastructure, safety and prosperity and that fills all of us within the RFA with satisfaction. These are actually thrilling instances.”


Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, stated:”The primary of two devoted subsea surveillance ships will be a part of the fleet this Summer season, bolstering our capabilities and safety towards threats posed now and into the long run. It’s paramount at a time after we face Putin’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine, that we prioritise capabilities that can defend our essential nationwide infrastructure.”

The vessel – presently named ‘Topaz Tangaroa’, however on account of be renamed because it joins the RFA fleet – was chosen to satisfy the necessities of the Royal Navy, having been constructed 4 years in the past to help a mixture of underwater operations, together with work on oil rigs, building, upkeep and inspection work, in addition to autonomous submarine operations. The 6,000-tonne vessel is supplied with a helipad, crane, and expansive working deck and encompasses a ‘moon pool’ – a big entry level within the underside of the hull by way of which submersible capabilities might be launched. The vessel, will likely be crewed by round two-dozen RFA sailors, whereas round 60 Royal Navy specialists will function the undersea surveillance techniques and different survey and warfare techniques when embarked.

The primary MROSS vessel, RFA Proteus, is a ready-built industrial vessel which has undergone conversion, while the second vessel will likely be purpose-built within the UK. As such, the 2 vessels are more likely to have completely different designs and traits. Proteus was inbuilt Norway in 2019 and will likely be outfitted to function autonomous submersibles. She has diesel-electric propulsion with highly effective twin bow thrusters to “maintain a exact stationary place when working over subsea installations”. She can also be outfitted with a moon pool, allowing a sheltered means for robotic submersibles to be launched or recovered in excessive sea states. The ship is 98.1 metres-long with a flight deck, heavy responsibility crane and 1,000 sq. meters of cargo house. She has a displacement of 6,000 tonnes and will likely be crewed by round tow dozen RFA sailors and as much as 60 Royal Navy specialists.