RFA Tideforce – the last of four new Tide class tankers – has joined the fleet.
RFA 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.
According to a news release, the service at Portland was attended by the tanker’s sponsor Lady Sarah Messenger and her Royal Marine husband, former Vice Chief of Defence Staff General Sir Gordon Messenger.
Fleet Commander Admiral hailed the advent of the fourth and final ship in the class in a release, where he is quoted as saying:
“This is the next chapter in the regeneration of our Fleet. 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 1½ million litres… enough to fill the tanks of more than 27,000 family cars.
The Tide class are a 37,000 tonne derivative of BMT Defence Services AEGIR-26 design, whose origins lie in a civilian tanker from Skipskonsulent of Norway.
They are double-hulled to reduce or prevent oil being lost by damage to the outer hull, in line with the MARPOL regulations for civilian tankers (from which military tankers are partially exempt).
The flight deck is large and strong enough for a Chinook helicopter to land on.