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UK: Royal Navy welcomes RFA Tideforce new-generation tanker


The Royal Fleet Auxiliary saw its numbers bolstered as RFA Tideforce – the last of four new-generation tankers – was welcomed into the Fleet.


UK Royal Navy welcomes RFA Tideforce new generation tanker RFA Tideforce (Picture source: Royal Navy)


A service of dedication was held in Dorset for the 39,000-tonne ship – second only in size to the UK’s two new aircraft carriers.

RFA Tideforce will now join her sister ships Tidespring, Tiderace and Tidesurge in providing fuel at sea to Royal Navy, NATO and allied warships, as well as other supplies and fresh water when required.

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 official accepted into operational service.

Vice Admiral Chris Gardner, Defence Equipment and Support Chief of Materiel (Ships), said: “This event marks one of the final milestones of this major shipbuilding programme and affords a moment to reflect on the vital importance of the work DE&S does to provide our Armed Forces with the equipment and support they need."

Each of the four Tides can deliver more than 1,500 cubic metres of fuel every hour – nearly 400,000 gallons, or 1.5m litres. 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.