New carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and new tanker RFA Tidespring have met up at sea for the first time to conduct a Replenishment at Sea.

RFA Tidespring is the first of class of the Military Afloat Reach & Sustainability Tankers designed to provide fuel water and stores to the new Queen Elizabeth class carriers.

RFA Tidespring Navigating Officer, Second Officer Paul Stubley said:

“This has been a milestone evolution, coming alongside HMS Queen Elizabeth to attempt a first of class RAS trial. This will provide useful data needed for all the vessels in each class.

A replenishment between two large vessels bring challenges, particularly with ship interaction and the precariousness of transferring fuel and stores whilst underway.”

According to the Royal Navy, the evolution involved a line being shot across to the tanker from the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth with both hulls just metres apart. The next stage will be for a double probe to be attached, hauled back across to the carrier and connected for diesel to be pumped into her giant fuel tanks.

Chief Petty Officer Jay Early, says the first successful RAS will be the culmination of years of planning and anticipation.

“Meeting up with RFA Tidespring today is an exciting thing for us, we’ve been talking about it for a long time now. It’s two new classes of ship, with another first for a British ship to have a double probe. It will be a real tick in the box for us to know we can achieve it. The double probe concept has been adopted from American carriers – it means twice the volume of fuel can be delivered within a shorter amount of time.”

One of things I always say to our guys is, regardless of this being a trial, it’s still real for us; there are lines under tension, the ship is moving, equipment is swinging around, the dangers are very real. A RAS for us is one of the most dangerous evolutions carried out at sea during peacetime. Safety is paramount at all times. ‘Slow is pro’ is one of my key sayings to make sure our people stay safe.”

Chief Bosun’s Mate, or ‘Buffer’, PO Scottie Campbell says a full RAS will be the highlight of his 23 year career. He commented in a press release:

“A RAS is what I have been looking forward to since I first joined the ship. The weather impact today was disappointing, but I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved. And I’m proud for the younger guys in my team, because this is their future. We are trialling new kit, on new ships, taking us into the 21st century. Being the first RAS team onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth really has been the highlight of my time in the Royal Navy.”

It is understood however that the test had to be called off due to bad weather.

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Lord Nelson

There is only one picture, and it doesn´t even show any RAS activity !

Robert Blay

If you could be bothered to read the full article, it say’s the RAS was canx due to bad westher.

Ben P

That picture is sexual.


That picture shows that Tidespring still has no CIWS

Ben P

The RN dont fit CIWS unless the ship is going to deploy operationally.

Daniele Mandelli

Yes was just going to say. I appreciate what Ben P says but shouldn’t our ships have such an important thing as standard? How many does Ocean have? 3? That 3 of the 4 Tides covered already.


I’m pretty sure the Tides each have a requirement for two Phalanx.

Daniele Mandelli

Ok so not 1 per RFA as I thought.


I believe the plan is for one on the bow, and one just above the hangar door. If you look at the main image closely, you can see the mounting points.

Mr Bell

More worrying QE still has no CIWS or missile SAM fit.
£3.5 billion strike carrier with no last line of defence.


Ben P: and thats a good operational procedure is it??? Come on mate all RN ships should be armed at all times unless in long term maintenance or re fit. Tidespring is a prime target to any potential adversary at all times. Are you just stating a policy or saying my comment has no value? My comment was clearly a criticism of the RN.

On another point has anyone seen the video of the 8 hour chase by the Argentinian navy (corvette?) with 4 Chinese fishing vessels within their EZ with shots being fired? Amazing stuff.


?? Would be interested in seeing this. That has to be a 10,000 mile fishing trip


there is an abbreviated version onYouTube type in

Argentine Navy shoots at illegal Chinese fishing vessels


Remarkable. Linked video to the side showing the Argentinians sunk one a few years ago too


Great to see a plan coming together. Premier league people & kit!

Mike Saul

Great pictures.

Barry White

They are that far apart in that pic that they might as well go back to port for bunkers lol


Great picture. I was impressed that the U.K. built big when specifying the Tide Class, way bigger than the Norwegian variant, so it’s quite something to see RFA Tidespring made to look so small next to QE. I know that most of us want so much more are get depressed when numbers are cut and projects delayed or cancelled entirely but 2 big brand new ships in the same photo do show that quite a bit of good stuff is still happening. Shame they couldn’t have squeezed the most recently commissioned Astute into that photo. I’ll content myself with pretending… Read more »

Alan Reid

I’m sure I can see a periscope, Julian! LOL

A. Smith

I would have expected to see frigates or destroyers with the carrier irrespective of it being a training exercise.

Bloke down the pub

In photos I’ve seen of models of QE and Tides in tank trials, the carrier is on the starboard side of the tanker. Any idea which side will be used in real life?

Daniele Mandelli

What a good question. I have never thought of technicalities like that.