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Tideforce's arrival completes quartet of new tankers for Royal Fleet Auxiliary

15 August 2018
The force is with us. Meet RFA Tideforce, the fourth and final super-tanker built to support Britain’s two new super-carriers.

The 39,000 tonne vessel, which will deliver fuel and water to carrier task groups on operations all over the world, completed her delivery voyage from South Korea ready to be converted from a tanker into a military tanker.

Over the coming weeks, several hundred Cornishmen will swarm over the tanker to fit bespoke Royal Navy/Royal Fleet Auxiliary equipment – comms kit, computer systems and defensive weapons/aid suite – just as Falmouth’s A&P yard has done for her older sisters Tidespring, Tiderace and Tidesurge.

The tankers can deliver more than 1,500 cubic metres of fuel every hour

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For although the quartet have been built half-way around the world, one quarter of the MOD’s £600m investment in the ships is being spent in the UK with the money spread across the land among more than two dozen firms.

Tidespring has been in service since the end of next year; having just been dedicated, Tiderace is about to deploy with HMS Queen Elizabeth to the USA and Tidesurge has just completed her customisation in Falmouth.

The tankers can deliver more than 1,500 cubic metres of fuel every hour – nearly 400,000 gallons, or 1½ million litres… enough to fill the tanks of more than 27,000 family runarounds.

Each ship is the length of two football pitches with a flight deck large enough to accommodate a Chinook helicopter and a hangar capable of shielding a Merlin or Wildcat from the elements.

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