UK welcomes third Tide-class tanker RFA Tidesurge

Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s third Tide-class tanker RFA Tidesurge arrived in Cornwall, England, on March 27 where it will undergo further outfitting and trials before entering service.

Tidesurge arrived from South Korea where it was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.

It is the third of four tankers in its class, designed and acquired to support the Royal Navy QE-class aircraft carriers and other Royal Navy warships at sea.

The arrival of RFA Tidesurge comes just weeks after lead ship in the class, RFA Tidespring, met up at sea with aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time.

The 39,000-tonne tankers can carry up to 19,000 cubic metres of fuel and 1,400 cubic metres of fresh water in support of Royal Navy operations all over the world.

The customisation work to prepare RFA Tidesurge and her sister ships for operations is being undertaken at the A&P shipyard in Falmouth.

RFA Tidesurge will be fitted with UK specific armor, self-defense weaponry and communications systems, with the total UK work content, including A&P, in the Tide-class programme worth around £150 million.

The customisation work is expected to take around four months after which RFA Tidesurge will begin final sea trials before entering service in Autumn this year.

Meanwhile, RFA Tidespring, which was preparing to conduct a replenishment at sea (RAS) refuelling when it met with HMS Queen Elizabeth in February, is currently acting as the training tanker for the Navy’s Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) and will take part in exercise Joint Warrior in the Spring. RFA Tiderace, which is currently docked at A&P Falmouth, is undergoing preparations for her capability trials which are expected to commence in early April.

The fourth and final ship in the class was named in South Korea in January, 2018, and is expected to be delivered later this year.

A&P Group has held the contract to support and maintain RFA ships at home and abroad since 2008. Under the Cluster Support Programme, A&P Group provides maintenance support to groups of MOD vessels, which include RFA Argus and the RFA Bay-class vessels Mounts Bay, Cardigan Bay and Lyme Bay.