Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s New Replenishment Tanker RFA Tiderace Arrives in U.K.

The second of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s new Tide-class replenishment tankers, RFA Tiderace, has arrived in Cornwall to begin customisation before it enters the service.

RFA Tiderace is expected to undergo around four months of customisation in Falmouth before beginning a round of final sea trials before entering service next year.

The customisation work includes installing armour, self-defence weaponry and communications systems.

About Tide-class tanker:

Tide-class tanker (formerly the Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) project) is a class of four fast fleet tankers that will enter service with the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) from 2017.

Norway has ordered a 26,000 t version with a 48-bed hospital and greater solid stores capacity, for delivery in October 2016 as HNoMS Maud. The two variants are both based on the AEGIR design from Britain’s BMT Defence Services but are being built by Daewoo in South Korea with final outfitting in the UK and Norway (HNoMS Maud).

RFA’s 39,000-tonne tankers will provide fuel, food, fresh water, ammunition and other supplies to Royal Navy vessels around the world. They are specifically designed to support Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and her sister HMS Prince of Wales

They are capable of carrying up to 19,000 cubic metres of fuel and 1,400 cubic metres of fresh water.

The Tide Class has a flight deck able to accommodate the large Chinook helicopter and offers significant improvements over previous RFA tankers such as double hulls and greater environmental protection measures.

Britain ordered four ships in February 2012 at a cost of £452m, causing controversy for being built abroad. The Norwegians ordered their ship in June 2013 for NOK1,320m (~£140m).

The first tanker RFA Tidespring is currently undergoing sea trials, having been fitted out at A&P Group’s Falmouth yard. The third of the class, RFA Tidesurge is recently launched while fourth tanker, Tideforce, is currently under construction.

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