Following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on Saturday the 14th of August, RFA Wave Knight has been sent to the area to help provide disaster relief.

RFA Wave Knight has been forward deployed to the Caribbean since June to provide disaster relief to the UK Overseas Territories & any other nations that require it.


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This article was submitted to the UK Defence Journal by Jordan Stafford who many of you know as Intel Sky & Air on Twitter. Jordan is a keen aviation enthusiast who works in the financial sector. Jordan also has a keen interest in open source intelligence following global conflicts as they happen & tracking military aviation & naval vessels across the world. You can find him on twitter here, we fully recommend you go and follow him. You will absolutely not regret it.


The vessel, while primarily serving as a tanker, can also be equipped to carry the supplies necessary to support humanitarian operations, such as carrying 380,000 liters of water, 2,000 disaster relief packages & 150 tons of food.

RFA Wave Knight arrived off the coast of Haiti on August 19th to begin supporting the relief efforts. The UK Government confirmed that Wave Knight will assist the United States in their response by serving as a landing platform for US helicopters carrying out humanitarian work. This will ensure that those helicopters are able to extend their range to continue providing life-saving humanitarian relief.

RFA Wave Knight has since been operating both their embarked Wildcat & US Blackhawk helicopters. As part of the wider UK response, the UK will also be sending experts from the UK Emergency Medical Team to Haiti to further assist the UK response.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace said the following in regards to the UK response:

“Communities in the Caribbean can rely on the Royal Navy to come to their aid when disaster strikes. The Royal Navy has a proud history of supporting British Overseas Territories and other partners in the Caribbean during hurricane season. I’m proud that the UK can now play a part in the US effort to respond to the devastating earthquake in Haiti.”

Jordan is an Oopen Source Intelligence (OSINT) enthusiast with an interest in tracking and following various air force movements across the globe. Alongside aviation, Jordan also has a keen interest in covering ongoing global conflicts. Jordan can be found on Twitter at @air_intel or by clicking the link to his profile below.
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Cameron
Cameron
1 month ago

Great work

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago

Glad to see the Wave’s are still in commission doing great work, and not part of the Brazilian Navy….

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew

I still think putting Wave Ruler back into frontline service should be a priority. She has been alongside for far too long now!

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

With the Tides coming into service and the delays to the solid support ships would it make sense to refit Wave Ruler with less liquid and more solid storage? If this is practical of course.

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Interesting idea. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the internal workings of the Wave Class. Off the top of my head, such work would require considerable changes to facilitate the solid storage, including major work to the internals, creating a means to move it (stores) to the deck and possibly provision of new rigs to support the movement of supplies. The ship would have to be certified to carry stores such as heavy munitions and any work done would need to conform to the appropriate regulations. It would also mean a slight cut in capability. Only a few years ago, tankers… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Lusty
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Hi Lusty, great reply above, good read. I did ask this in a previous thread but are either of the two Fort’s completely beyond reviving and refurbishing even if to an acceptable minimum FSS standard? And if the three new FSS run late it could be an interim solution?

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Thanks! Theoretically, yes, they could be retained and given a darn good service to bring them into use. They have been maintained in relatively good condition over in Birkenhead, as I suppose the aim was to use at least one to support other operations. Like the RN, the RFA has suffered crewing problems, which meant a lot of effort went into crewing up the Tides and ensuring valuable ships (Argus and Fort Vic) could be used. Both have significant dry-stores capacity when compared to Fort Vic (her tanking area takes up a chunk), which is part of the reason why… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Lusty
Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Thx. Wiki says Wave Ruler can operate a Merlin. At this point I believe that Fort Victoria is a single point of failure for CSG solid stores replenishment; until the new solid support ships enter service. I think your proposal to get Wave Ruler back into the fleet should be actioned with your container idea How much can you vertrep with a Chinook?

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I believe it’s about 22,000lb externally, depending on the variant.

Last edited 1 month ago by Lusty
Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Second reply: yes, the Waves can operate a Merlin.  👍 

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

You can see where I’m going with this. It will be a while before the FSS ships enter service. In the meantime we need a backup for Fort Vic, support for a POW based LPH group if we want one to sail at the same time as a QE CSG and ideally support for the Indo Pacific LSS group. Another Merlin capable solid/oiler supply ship is needed in the short term. If all it can do is vertrep then that’s better than nothing.

Robert Willison
Robert Willison
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I think the backup for Fort Vic is the USN I’m afraid. That or sail the CSG closer to home.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Great reads mate, as always.

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

Thanks, mate.  👍 

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Yes, I second that. Good reads. And I like Paul’s reutilisation idea of the Wave Ruler. Do you reckon anyone in them MOD looks at this website for ideas? On a big of a tangent, the Navy Lookout has a good article on the upcoming decision on the interim anti-ship missile. It’ll be interesting what they go for and if they get a bit more than five sets if they can get more for the £200M.

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Who knows! Many of us on UKDJ/Navy Lookout suggested the B1 Rivers should be retained, and hey presto, they have been.

It was a good read. I do hope for more than five sets. If they can put some on T45, it would further enhance their capabilities. The Sea Ceptor upgrade + the anti-ship upgrade would be a good combo. The other sets could be migrated to T31 when T23 retires.

Psst, if the MoD is reading this, bring the mothballed Merlins back into service. Thanks!

Last edited 1 month ago by Lusty
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

I would still like them to find some room to put another 24 Camm on board (maybe also down the sides of the current silo box) for a 48 each Aster / Camm which would be a very formidable combination. Plus a pair of TWS as well as the ASMs. I didn’t know about the Merlin’s but some more helos would always be useful.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Extra bit…if they go with the NSM I wonder if they can go for a six pack launcher as the missile is quite light all up or if not maybe squeeze in extra quad packs? The T45s beam seems potentially wide enough but not sure if the T23s could this? 2×4 is better than nothing.

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I’m not sure if weapons fit down the side would be possible. It might just be, but it would take a lot of work. Perhaps a better option would be quad-packed Sea Ceptor in the space that’s being utilised for the new upgrade.

Both are sadly academic, as I can’t see HMG forking out the cash for that! The one thing that might be possible is assigning two Wildcat to the destroyers. They have the space to do so and 40 Martlet/8 Sea Venom or a mix of the two would be quite a force.

AV
AV
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Great read, cheers.

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago

This is funded from the international aid budget, correct? As to amounts of aid carried, 150 tns of food is a drop in the Sea given the population, unfotunately.