New Ship to Support the Aircraft Carriers Arrives in United Kingdom
LONDON — The second of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s (RFA’s) new Tide-class support ships, RFA Tiderace, has arrived in Cornwall to begin a program of customization, the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a Sept. 25 release.
Like its sister ship, RFA Tidespring, which arrived in April, the 39,000-ton Tiderace can carry up to 19,000 cubic meters of fuel and 1,400 cubic meters of fresh water in support of Royal Navy operations all over the world. It has been designed to support the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, the first of which, HMS Queen Elizabeth, arrived in Portsmouth last month.
“This year of the Royal Navy goes from strength to strength as we welcome yet another new ship into the U.K.’s growing fleet,” said Harriett Baldwin, minister for Defence Procurement. “It’s great to see RFA Tiderace join her sister ship RFA Tidespring in the U.K. today, and I would like to thank the Falmouth team for their important work.
The customization work in Falmouth, which will install armor, self-defense weaponry and communications systems, will help to support 300 local jobs. The U.K. work content in the Tide-class program as a whole, which is being delivered well within budget by the MoD, is worth around £150 million ($201.8 million), sustaining further jobs at 27 U.K.-based companies.
RFA Tiderace is expected to undergo around four months of customization before beginning a round of final sea trials before entering service next year. Meanwhile, RFA Tidespring is expected to finish final sea trials in the coming weeks and enter service before the end of this year.
Like its sister ship, RFA Tiderace will perform a crucial role in supporting the Royal Navy’s global mission in defense of the United Kingdom and its interests, said Sir Simon Bollom, chief of Materiel (Ships) at Defence Equipment and Support, the MoD’s procurement organization.
“I am proud to welcome Tiderace and her crew to Falmouth as part of the continued successful delivery of the Tide-class program and look forward to welcoming the final two ships in the class over the coming months,” he said.
The Tide class has a flight deck able to accommodate the large Chinook helicopter and offers significant improvements over previous RFA tankers such as double hulls and greater environmental protection measures.