The RFA’s new tanker RFA Tidespring has been conducting builders sea trials off South Korea.
RFA Tidespring is a Tide class tanker. The 37,000 tonne ship will provide fuel, food, fresh water, ammunition and other supplies to Royal Navy vessels around the world.
In February 2012 an order for four tankers was placed with Daewoo at a cost of £452 million, of which £150m would be spent in Britain. Building ships in Korea caused controversy however no British yards had tendered for the order as they were all busy on the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
The next-generation tankers are part of the Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) project and are intended to replace the RFA’s ageing fleet of single-hulled tankers.
The vessels are designed by BMT Defence Services, in co-operation with BMT Reliability Consultants and BMT Cadence, based on AEGIR tanker. The prime contractor Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) will oversee the construction of the vessels at its yard in South Korea.
First steel was cut on the 24th of June 2014 for RFA Tidespring and she was named in a ceremony in October. She is expected to arrive in Falmouth in Spring 2016 to allow A&P Group to fit military equipment such as communications gear.
Following sea trials, Tidespring will enter service in the fourth quarter of 2016. Her three sister ships will follow at six-month intervals.