The British Royal Navy’s newest Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has successfully carried out fuel replenishment at sea with RFA Tidespring for the first time.
RFA Tidespring is one of the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s four Tide-class replenishment tankers.
The vessels been specifically designed to support the navy’s new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, on their operations worldwide.
The Royal Navy aircraft carrier practised replenishment at sea under rough conditions during the exercise, taking on supplies on both its port side on the left and its starboard side on the right.
RFA Tidespring commanding officer captain Karl Woodfield said: “The Tide-class have been built to provide worldwide fuel support to the two new UK carriers, so this is a significant milestone in bringing both ships into operational service.
“Our first replenishment, in challenging weather conditions, was a success and marks the start of a very close and enduring relationship between the two ships.”
The two navy vessels were situated at a distance of only 138ft from each other during the replenishment, which was conducted in the North Atlantic.
The ships were sailing at speeds of 12k as the lines were passed and the fuel hose was transferred from the tanker to hook up with the intake on the aircraft carrier.
HMS Queen Elizabeth navigating officer lieutenant commander Sam Stephens said: “This is one more significant step forward in our growing capability.
“Knowing that we can be refuelled from a tanker means HMS Queen Elizabeth can roam even further from home.”
Only 220 ‘cubes’ of F76 marine fuel were transferred to HMS Queen Elizabeth during the first replenishment in order to test the process.
However, RFA Tidespring has the capability to deliver 800m3 of fuel in an hour if required.