RFA Tidespring finally on her way home


The long delayed Tide class tanker RFA Tidespring is finally on her way home after a scheduled stop-off in Japan.

Internal wiring issues had delayed the acceptance of RFA Tidespring, the first of four new naval tankers until January this year.

The first of the four military tankers built in South Korea was finally been handed over to the Ministry of Defence in January, over a year later than planned.

The Tide class tanker is a class of four fast fleet tankers that will enter service with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The 37,000 tonne ships will provide fuel, food, fresh water, ammunition and other supplies to Royal Navy vessels around the world.

First steel was cut on the 24th of June 2014 for RFA Tidespring, she was expected to arrive in Falmouth in Spring 2016 to allow A&P Group to fit military equipment such as communications gear. Her three sister ships were to follow at six-month intervals.

Defence procurement minister Harriett Baldwin earlier blamed “delays in finalising elements of electrical design and the installation of Multi-Cable Transit insulation in accordance with new legislative regulations” which have now been resolved.

The UK still expects to have all four tankers delivered by 2018.


  1. Great news

    Hopefully the first of many new support vessels. It would be great to see the follow on batches made in the UK – but this must be within the price paremeters.

    Major investment in the much under rated RFA – the sailors of the RFA deserve better equipment and hopefully this is the beginning of a total equipment refresh

    • If the MOD give unrealistic price paremeters, not even a subsidised South Korean yard would be able to build them. Remember the Bay ships. The national audit office reported than the rise in cost was actually a fair price, but the MOD seems to not of had a clue. The tax claw back has been said, could be around up to 40% if taxpayer funded ships are built here. Any taxpayer funded ships (can be other products) built abroad is money lost. Getting the little bits of the contract, and being awarded it by DSME was a huge humiliating insult too. The fact they were built abroad is largely due to these eu regs (it was going to be a UKindustry/MOD partnership alliance until eu stepped in), and the UK felt obliged to give the contracts away, why? UK yards never put in serious tenders because they were not reallly invited. it was being reported at the time that they were gonig to be builty abroad with some BAE fix up behind it, so why would any non BAE yard in the UK bother to get regected. That’s how it felt at the time.

  2. On her way home. So, back to South Korea then! They are late, cost more then stated, and not much tax claw back for all the 600+ million pounds contract. Fleet Solid Support Ships should be built here in the UK, as Sir John Parker wants to see.

    • I never understand the economic argument that Governments play out when spending taxpayers money abroad. To me it is a failed logic that says we will ‘save’ £x Mn in total by buying abroad (like in South Korea) and losing the total economic benefit to the UK economy rather than spending £y Million here and retaining the economic benefit here. Better surely to spend £700 Mn here than £600 Mn in South Korea

      Taxpayers money is not the same as private money. It should ONLY be spent here unless there is some defining exceptional circumstance. Like Police Forces in the UK should only buy British built vehicles. Recycling that tax money within the UK is a beneficial multiplier.

      And we even see it in naval disposals. The last 3 carriers, funded and maintained and operated by British taxpayers, were ‘sold’ to Turkish scrap yards for them to make profits. Surely it doesn’t matter if the Government had got less to scrap them here because the work and therefore the economic activity would have been retained here.