More than a year late, Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker RFA Tidespring will dock in Falmouth this weekend on April 1st.

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.


    • Agree. And on subject-is it not time the RFA was integrated into the RN? Or to put it another way-is there any good reason they should remain separate entities?

  1. Agree. And on subject-is it not time the RFA was integrated into the RN? or to put it another way-is there any good reason they should remain separate entities?

  2. Nice ship.

    The Norwegians are getting a derivative of this as well.
    If people search for “Aegir 18-R” they will see the difference
    Essentially more dry stores and a larger superstructure traded off for less fuel stores.

    • Our Tides are much bigger though. Wikipedia quotes the Norwegian Aegir 18 derivative (HNoMS Maud) as being 26,000t and our Tides as 37,000t. This is going to be a big uplift in our capacity.

      I really hope the MARS SSS are built on a similar scale. SSS should have more helicopter carrying capability, possibly much more if there is clever design to allow hanger space to expand into storage space, and with possible hospital facilities (the Norwegian ship has this) they could serve very valuable secondary functions, a bit like a super Bay class, in addition to the primary solid stores role. We need more than three though; add a forth as an Argus replacement and, given the amount of use they will probably get for humanitarian missions, get the aid budget to fund half of the total cost and contribute towards ongoing crewing and running costs.

  3. Geoff: They’re already integrated with the RN, they come under the Naval Command Umbrella and are often crewed with an element of RN staff particularly in the Arabian Gulf areas.

  4. Just noticed on AIS tracking that Tidespring was almost at Falmouth then turned back south. I am guessing it can only arrive when the welcoming VIPs have arrived!


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