Almost a year after arriving in the UK for military customization and armament, Tide-class tanker RFA Tideforce entered service.
Tideforce is the final of four ships in the class acquired to support Royal Navy, NATO and ally ship operations by providing fuel and fresh water.
After receiving military equipment – communications and IT systems, defensive weaponry – fitted in Falmouth to turn a tanker into a naval tanker and extensive trials, Tideforce recently arrived in Portland to be officialy accepted into operational service.
“It’s incredible to think it’s taken only 13 months since delivery to today.” Said Commodore Duncan Lamb, head of the RFA.
Fleet Commander Admiral Kyd – first commanding officer of carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth which the Tides were built to support – hailed the advent of the fourth and final ship in the class.
“This is the next chapter in the regeneration of our fleet,” he stressed. “The Royal Fleet Auxiliary are a critical part of our fleet and I look forward to a new era of carrier power projection.”
Each of the four Tides can deliver more than 1,500 cubic meters of fuel every hour, nearly 400,000 gallons, or 1½ million liters. As well as their supply duties in support of the Royal Navy, the vessels can also undertake a wide range of independent operations, such as patrols policing shipping lanes and humanitarian relief.