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.
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.
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.