The first of the British Royal Navy's four Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Tidespring Tide-class replenishment tankers is set to undergo customisation work at A&P shipyard in Falmouth.
Customisation works on the newest replenishment vessel is expected to support approximately 300 jobs at A&P Falmouth shipyard in Cornwall, UK, while work under the wider Tide-class programme is worth nearly £150m and will help retain further jobs at 27 companies around the country.
The 39,000t RFA Tidespring will join the RFA, which is a civilian-manned fleet that provides support for the Royal Navy warships. The new tanker has the capacity to carry up to 19,000 cubic metres of fuel and 1,300 cubic metres of fresh water.
RFA Tidespring is expected to enter service before the end of the year, and will help provide major support to the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers alongside the wider fleet.
UK Defence Procurement Minister Harriett Baldwin said: “RFA Tidespring’s UK arrival is a key milestone in 2017, the Year of the Royal Navy, which will also see the Ministry of Defence (MoD) develop world-class ships and submarines in support of Britain’s role as a leading naval power.
“Backed by a rising defence budget, the delivery of the Tide-class tankers is a crucial element of the Government’s £178bn plan to ensure our armed forces have the equipment they need.”
The various new systems to be installed at the Falmouth shipyard include communications equipment, self-defence weapons and armour, which will enable Tidespring to operate in the most challenging environments.
The tanker will feature a flight deck to accommodate the large Chinook helicopter, as well as provide other major upgrades over previous RFA tankers models.
Image: The UK Royal Navy’s RFA Tidespring. Photo: courtesy of Crown Copyright.