The UK Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s (RFA) third Tide-class replenishment tanker RFA Tidesurge arrived at the A&P Falmouth yard in Cornwall, UK on March 27, 2018.
Tidesurge has spent the past month and more hopping across the Pacific and Atlantic from the yard in South Korea where she was built via Japan, Hawaii, the Panama Canal and Caribbean – an odyssey of around 16,000 miles.
RFA Tidesurge will now undergo a four-month programme of military customisation, armament and upgrades to UK MOD standards before undergoing sea trials. A&P Group was awarded the Ministry of Defence (MOD) contract in 2015 to customise and fit-out all four of the RFA’s new fleet Tide Class tankers and co-ordinate full military Capability Assessment Trials to prepare the ships for operational service.
Once finished, the Fleet will get a 39,000-tonne tanker carrying up to 19,000 cubic metres of fuel and 1,400 cubic metres of fresh water which will be at the heart of task group operations, especially carrier groups. The vessel is 201 metres long and has a beam width of 29 metres
RFA Tidesurge and her three sister vessels (Tidespring, Tiderace and Tideforce) are part of the MOD’s Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) Tanker project and will maintain the Royal Navy’s ability to refuel at sea and support deployed amphibious, land and air forces close to the shore.
RFA Tidespring is now in service supporting the new Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers, along with the rest of the Royal Navy and RFA Fleet. RFA Tiderace, which is also currently docked at A&P Falmouth, is expected to enter service in early summer and Tidesurge will follow in autumn. The fourth and final Tide class tanker, RFA Tideforce is due to arrive at A&P Falmouth later this year.
Working with the ship’s designer BMT Defence, multiple UK industry contractors and the MOD’s Commercially Supported Shipping team, A&P Group made several visits to the vessels during construction to prepare 37 design specifications for military equipment upgrades including fabrication, pipework and system modifications. A&P Group is also providing Fleet Time Support for all four tankers, which involves the provision of global engineering and maintenance expertise from the moment of build completion throughout the vessel’s journey to the UK.
A&P Group also has a contract to support and maintain RFA ships at home and abroad. Under the Cluster Support Programme, A&P Group provides maintenance support to groups of MOD vessels, which include RFA Argus and the RFA Bay Class vessels Mounts Bay, Cardigan Bay and Lyme Bay.