New Royal Navy tanker RFA Tidespring completes first “operational” refueling

The lead ship of a new fleet of Royal Navy tankers recently carried out her first real at sea refueling.

Photo: Royal Navy

While the RFA Tidespring earlier practiced the maneuvers with other navy ships, including future flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Westminster became the first Royal Navy vessel to receive fuel on operations from the tanker.

Fellow tanker RFA Wave Knight and Westminster’s HMS Sutherland had previously proved the Tide-class ship’s capabilities during her sea trials last year.

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel is one of four built to refuel the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers and her task group when at sea.

Measuring just over 200 meters in length and with a top speed of 27 knots, RFA Tidespring is a welcome addition to the fleet.

Once the HMS Sutherland was in position, a sailor shot the soft nose projectile across to RFA Tidespring to begin the exchange of lines between the two ships.

Four lines were pulled across to HMS Westminster, allowing communications between the ships, a distance line for correct separation, a spare line and finally a line to transfer fuel.

Once the exchange of fuel was complete Cdr Kelly sent over a crest and a bottle of red wine to Tidespring’s Captain Simon Herbert.