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Operational Maintenance and Repair Ship - OMAR


RFA Diligence (A132), the RFA's current Forward Repair Ship hard at work - as she will be for some years yet.  (Source: MOD)

New build OMAR concept (source: BMT)



Project designation:  ?
Status: Suspended?
In Service Date:  2014


The Royal Fleet Auxiliary currently operates the aging and very hard worked RFA Diligence (completed in 1981) as a forward Operational Maintenance and Repair ship. 

A new second line repair facility ship is required to replace Diligence and the original in-service target date was 2006, but during 2004 this slipped to the end the decade due to lack of funding.

The MOD indicated in February 2005 that it now expected to retain Diligence in service until around 2010, and that studies were underway to examine options for the future afloat support capability, but that no decisions had yet been taken. 

On 15 June 2005 the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Mr Adam Ingram, said in a written answer: "It is currently planned that RFA Diligence will remain in service until 2014.  Decisions have yet to be taken on how best to deliver future Operational Maintenance and Repair capability."  

In October 2006, BMT revealed that it had won a study contract from the MOD in relation to OMAR options for the replacement of RFA Diligence.

In late 2006 Northwestern Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders Limited (NSSL), based in Birkenhead, won a 16 million contract for a service life extension refit of RFA Diligence that would enable the ship to remain in service for another 10 years.  Accommodation, galley and propulsion areas were all renewed and upgraded. The ship re-entered service in December 2007.



Early indications were that a mercantile conversion would be used as the basis for OMAR - like Diligence.  However the long delay to the in-service date means that a purpose built unit using a MARS hull is also a possibility.

BMT Defence Services conducted a self funded study in to OMAR and in May 2006 revealed the results in an article in Warship Technology.  Several options and proposals had been investigated, including a modular facility that could be added to an existing ship; the conversion of an existing (probably commercial) vessel; a barge facility that could be moved by a heavy lift vessel; and a purpose designed ship .

FRS Barge and mothership.

The modular facility was soon discounted, but the other options were investigated further. 

The baseline used for a conversion was a cable laying ship - the CS Oceanic Pearl .

The preferred option was a barge facility -  the suggested barge would displace 3,5000 tonnes and have a length of 120 metes and a bean of 32 metres.  There would be a single story workshop of approximately 30 metres x 32 metres at one end and a 200-person two story accommodation bock of similar dimensions at the other, separated by the open working area of about 60 metres  x 32 metres.  There would be a helicopter pad on the workshop, with the possibility of another on the accommodation block.  The 3500 tonnes utilised a maintenance barge.  The barge maintenance could  transported to where required on a Flo-Flo ship with a cargo deck area of 120m x 32m (matching the heavy-lift ships operated by Dockwise).

The purpose designed ship was apparently not favoured, presumably on grounds of cost.


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  2004-13 Richard Beedall unless otherwise indicated.