A&P Falmouth dazzles with paint work for HMS Tamar

A&P Falmouth has applied a stunning paint scheme to a Royal Navy warship for the first time. 

The new Truro affiliated patrol ship HMS Tamar will start operations with a ‘dazzle camouflage’ paint scheme which comprises various shades of black, white and grey in strange and jarring shapes.   

This is the first time the dazzle paint scheme has been used by the Royal Navy since World War 2, although the use of different shapes, angles and colour paint in this was first introduced in World War 1. This paint finish helps to confuse submariners peering through periscopes, making it hard for them to identify ships and confusing their calculations about the target’s speed and direction – hopefully causing a torpedo to miss.  The paint scheme was phased out soon after World War 2 due to the improvement of radar and optical devices. 

A&P Falmouth’s team applied the new paint scheme after completing a 30 day long period of planned maintenance work on HMS Tamar last month. In total, the unusual brief took more than 2,500 hours to cover the vessel’s 2,200 sq.m surface area. It also required additional fastidious preparation as A&P’s painters marked out the different colour sections.  

Gerald Pitts, Managing Director of A&P Defence at A&P Falmouth said: “This is very special first for us and it’s been quite an experience to be involved in the reinstatement of such an iconic and historic paint scheme. 

“This was the trial project before the rest of squadron’s vessels are given the same finish, so we did need to make a few modifications to the programme once work was underway. We completed on time and to our usual high standards and the end result is really quite impressive.” 

HMS Tamar entered service last year and already stands out from much of the rest of the Royal Navy fleet thanks to large red lion motifs on her superstructure. Now the vessel sports her lion emblems as well as the new striking paint scheme. 

Commander David Louis, Commander of the Overseas Patrol Squadron, said the Navy had decided to give the River-class ships a distinct identity to recognise their extended missions. 

The squadron’s vessels will be deployed for several years at a time, maintaining a forward presence in areas key to UK interests.  HMS Forth is deployed to the Falkland’s, while Medway is in the Caribbean and Trent has recently commenced operations in the Mediterranean. 

Commander Louis said: “Dazzle has much less military value in the 21st Century although there is still value in littoral environments when viewed against the background of land. It is very much more about supporting the unique identity of the squadron within the Royal Navy as part of their forward presence mission.”  

A&P Defence has an ongoing support contract with BAE Systems for the maintenance and repair of batch one (HMS Tyne, HMS Mersey, HMS Severn) and the new batch two River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs – HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey) at A&P Falmouth.  

A&P Group is a leading provider of ship repair, conversion and marine services and heavy engineering expertise.  Operating seven dry docks and extensive fabrication facilities across three strategic locations in the UK, A&P Group also has a business in Australia that provides ship repair services and support to the Royal Australian Navy.  

As one of the leading engineering business in the UK, A&P is also involved in a diverse range of fabrication and repair projects across a broad cross section of sectors including Defence, Marine, Oil and Gas, Subsea, Energy, Civil and Nuclear.  Projects include the fabrication of built modules for the Astute Submarine Class and the prestigious HMS Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carriers, cable carousels, flood barriers, steam turbines, shore side access systems and FPSO upgrades. 

All A&P Group facilities combine a rich heritage of marine and engineering skills and experience, providing a diverse customer base with all the precision skills needed to complete the most demanding projects.