Royal Fleet Auxiliary welcomes final new tanker to the fleet which will one day fuel HMS Queen Elizabeth

THE Royal Fleet Auxiliary has welcomed its newest tanker, RFA Tideforce, into its numbers.

Tuesday, 30th July 2019, 6:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th July 2019, 6:43 pm
RFA Tideforce welcomed into naval service during a dedication event in Dorset. Photo: Royal Navy

A service of dedication was held in Dorset for 39,000-tonne ship – second only in size to the UK’s two new aircraft carriers.

Tideforce will now join her sister ships Tidespring, Tiderace and Tidesurge in providing fuel at sea to Royal Navy, Nato and allied warships, as well as other supplies and fresh water when required.

Commodore Duncan Lamb, head of the RFA, said: ‘RFA Tideforce’s arrival into the Royal Fleet Auxiliary represents the culmination of a major project to modernise and update the UK’s fleet replenishment tankers.

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‘I am indebted to all from the UK and abroad who have contributed to the success of the project and the ship’s company who have provided the final piece of the jigsaw by bringing the ship alive through delivery, trials and training.

‘It’s incredible to think it’s taken only 13 months since delivery to today.’

Fleet commander Admiral Jerry Kyd – first commanding officer of aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth which the Tides were built to support – was delighted by the delivery of the final tanker. 

‘This is the next chapter in the regeneration of our fleet,’ he said. ‘The Royal Fleet Auxiliary are a critical part of our fleet and I look forward to a new era of carrier power projection.’

Each of the four Tides can deliver more than 1,500 cubic metres of fuel every hour – nearly 400,000 gallons, or 1.5m litres – enough to fill the tanks of more than 27,000 family cars.

As well as their supply duties in support of the Royal Navy, the vessels can also undertake a wide range of independent operations, such as patrols policing shipping lanes and humanitarian relief.

Vice Admiral Chris Gardner, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) chief of materiel (ships), said: ‘This event marks one of the final milestones of this major shipbuilding programme and affords a moment to reflect on the vital importance of the work DE&S does to provide our armed forces with the equipment and support they need.’