Firth of Clyde welcomes Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship to the fleet
RFA Tidesurge is welcomed to the Firth of Clyde on Wednesday.
By Kim Hardie and Gavin Carr
Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, RFA Tidesurge, was welcomed into the Fleet on Wednesday during her dedication service at Greenock’s Ocean Terminal.
The 39,000-tonne fleet replenishment tanker is the latest of four new RFA ships which will be the biggest in service.
Previously, Greenock was the affiliated town of RFA Gold Rover, which provided sterling service in support of the Royal Navy, NATO, and coalition allies for over 40 years. RFA Tidesurge will now take on the honour, continuing its close ties with the area.
Members of the RFA, military personnel, dignitaries, and civil leaders from Greenock gathered at the waterside for the dedication ceremony. Guest of honour at the event was Lady Sponsor, Lady Joanna Woodcock, accompanied by her husband, former Second Sea Lord, Sir Jonathan Woodcock, KCB, OBE.
Also attending the event were local Sea Cadets, with their unit changing its name to “TS Tidesurge” to mark the special link between the vessel and town.
“Royal Fleet Auxiliary Tidesurge is the third of our four new fleet replenishment tankers,” explained Commodore Duncan Lamb, Head of the RFA Service.
“With her flight deck capable of operating Chinook helicopters, double probe Replenishment at Sea rigs, self-defence capability, and versatile fuel cargo system, she represents a crucial element of the Royal Navy Task Group of the future and a key enabler of our Navy’s global reach.”
RFA Tidesurge is the third of class of the Military Afloat Reach & Sustainability (MARS) Tankers, which includes in-service sister ships RFA Tidespring and Tiderace, and RFA Tideforce which will become operational later this year.
Royal Navy top brass gathered at the waterside for the dedication ceremony including guest of honour Lady Joanna Woodcock, accompanied by her husband, former Second Sea Lord, Sir Jonathan Woodcock, KCB, OBE.
The Tide class tankers are flexible, state-of-the-art, double-hulled vessels which will provide a key future underway replenishment at sea capability and support to the Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carriers.
Once in service, Tidesurge will also provide fuel and water for Royal Navy warships all around the world. The delivery of these new ships is part of the UK Government’s £179Bn plan to provide the Armed Forces with the equipment they need to deliver effective operational support across the globe.
In addition to their supply duties in support of the Royal Navy, the vessels will also be able to undertake a wide range of maritime operations, such as constabulary patrols policing shipping lanes, humanitarian relief, as well as providing support to NATO and coalition allies.
David Farmer, Head of Commercially Supported Shipping (CSS) at Defence Equipment and Support (DES), said:
“Today’s service of dedication for RFA Tidesurge, the third Tide class tanker, is a culmination of a significant period of expert and steadfast delivery by the CSS team which is proud to be bringing her and her sister ships into the Royal Fleet Auxiliary service in defence of the UK.
“The Tide class is a truly world-leading fleet of new supply vessels which has already been proven in operational deployments, including those alongside HMS Queen Elizabeth. I look forward to continuing to work closely with our Armed Forces customer and industry partners as Tidesurge completes final trials and formally enters service over the next few months.”
The MARS Tanker programme has an extensive domestic supply chain involving around 27 UK companies. Prior to entry into operational service, RFA Tidesurge has undergone a detailed customisation programme at the A&P ship repair yard in Falmouth.