Merseyside-based Marine Specialised Technology (MST) has chosen Norco as its main composite supplier for a £9.9 million contract with the UK Ministry of Defence. The contract is to construct two new vessels to replace the interim Gibraltar Squadron Fast Patrol Crafts. Construction of the two boats began in July and will be complete in about 18 months.

With over 30 years’ experience, Norco specialises in manufacturing large composite structures and GRP mouldings.

The business now operates from six sites with over 130,000 square foot combined capacity in Dorset. The construction of the two boats has begun in July 2020 and will take approximately 18 months, with boat 1 due to be delivered in third quarter of 2021/22 and Boat 2 in first quarter of 2022/23. Norco will manufacture the complete structure (hull, deck, and wheelhouse) for the two vessels inline with MST’s production schedule.

Mark Northey, managing director at Norco, said: “I am very happy to be working in partnership with MST again. Here at Norco, we pride ourselves on developing successful relationships with our customers to gain repeat business. This project will add to our portfolio of defence contracts, which demonstrates our ability to deliver product that meets the stringent quality standards of the MoD.”

Gibraltar Squadron Fast Patrol Craft, HMS Pursuer and Dasher, two Archer-class vessels have recently taken over from Scimitar-Class vessels HMS Sabre and HMS Scimitar, whilst the two MST vessels are under-construction. The Scimitar Class vessels had been in service in Gibraltar for 17 years and were due an upgrade as part of the Royal Navy’s modernisation programme. These vessels maintain the security of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.

Chris Hurley, project manager at MST, commented: “We are delighted to have Norco onboard with us for this prestigious defence project with the Royal Navy as they have proven in the past, on many occasions, that they can deliver quality composite structures on-time with their large capacity facilities.”