Bay class auxiliary RFA Lyme Bay is completing the final stages of her Extended Annual Certification Period in A&P’s Falmouth Dockyard ahead of her deployment to the Middle East later this year where she is expected to relieve sister ship RFA Cardigan Bay and participate in the major Safe Sword exercise off Oman.
Part of the process will also see the vessel be reequipped with two Phalanx close-in weapon systems and other weaponry to ensure she is well prepared for a potentially hostile environment. Like her sister ships. RFA Lyme Bay is fitted to take a number of weapons systems with the actual loadout dependent on the mission undertaken. This system allows vessels on constabulary and humanitarian duties to be freed from the maintenance and manpower burdens of complex weapons systems.
The work is being undertaken by A&P as part of a cluster contract covering many of the navy’s auxiliary vessels. As well as RFA Lyme Bay the team are currently mid-way through a major refit on aviation training vessel RFA Argus and have supported the maintenance work undertaken on RFA Mounts Bay in South Carolina and RFA Cardigan Bay in Bahrain.
Speaking to the Falmouth Packet, Managing Director David McGinley said that “A&P Defence continues to perform well, supporting the RFA and the MoD to achieve efficiencies in through life support”.
Since entering service just over a decade ago the Bay class vessels have proven themselves some of the most versatile vessels in the fleet, conducting a range of duties above and beyond amphibious assault. RFA Cardigan Bay arrived in the Middle East in mid-2017 and is currently serving as the mothership to the Royal Navy’s permanently deployed mine countermeasures force. A role the Bay class vessels have inherited following the decommissioning of the dedicated forward repair ship RFA Diligence.