The first of the new Tide class tankers, RFA Tidespring, has arrived in Cornwall for customisation a year later than planned.
Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said:
“RFA Tidespring’s UK arrival is a key milestone in 2017, the Year of the Royal Navy, which will also see the MOD develop world-class ships and submarines in support of Britain’s role as a leading naval power.
Backed by a rising Defence budget, the delivery of the Tide Class tankers is a crucial element of the Government’s £178 billion plan to ensure our armed forces have the equipment they need.”
According to MoD, the customisation work is helping to support around 300 jobs at A&P Falmouth. The UK work content in the wider Tide Class programme is worth around £150 million, sustaining further jobs at 27 UK-based companies. The project is being delivered well within budget by the MoD.
After a period of customisation and fitting out, Tidespring will embark on four months of trials off Scotland before she enters service with the fleet.
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.