The British Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster has become the first naval ship to receive fuel during operations from the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s newest Tide-class replenishment tanker, RFA Tidespring.

Tidespring is the first of a fleet of four tankers that have been designed and developed to refuel the navy’s newest Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and associated task group when at sea.

The tanker previously demonstrated its capabilities during a series of sea trials last year.

“For me to fire the projectile onto the ship first time during RFA Tidespring’s first operational RAS is a great honour.”

RFA Tidespring was moved into close proximity with HMS Westminster as part of the replenishment at sea (RAS) project,  which saw Royal Navy leading seaman Louis Vine shoot a soft nose projectile across to Tidespring to start the exchange of lines between the two ships once they were in position.

A total of four lines were subsequently pulled across to HMS Westminster.

The first line was used to facilitate communications between the two vessels, while the remaining three comprised a distance line for correct separation, a line for fuel transfer and a spare.

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Vine said: “Being an above-water weapons (AWW) specialist, I pride myself in attention to detail.

“For me to fire the projectile onto the ship first time during RFA Tidespring’s first operational RAS is a great honour and a memory that will stay with me throughout my career.”

HMS Westminster previously performed RAS in November last year with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s Wave-class fast fleet tanker, RFA Wave Knight.

The 200m-long RFA Tidespring is a 39,000t Tide-Class tanker that is capable of carrying up to 19,000m3 of fuel and 1,400m3 of freshwater.

The tanker is able to sail at speeds of up to 27k.