Cammell Laird’s Defence Division has enjoyed a busy twelve months, as it continues to provide support to the four Tide Class tankers of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA).
The 39,000 tonne new build vessels came into service from 2017 and were built to replace the RFA’s single hulled tankers. Together with RFA’s Wave Knight and Fort Victoria, the four tankers are now maintaining the Royal Navy’s dedicated bulk fuel Replenishment at Sea (RAS) capabilities, transferring fuel, and stores to Royal Navy vessels whilst in operational theatre across the globe.
RFA Tideforce is the latest vessel to undergo her first refit period, as part of the ten-year Future In-Service Support contract awarded to Cammell Laird, by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in October 2018.
Works included the installation of a new exhaust system, a routine overhaul of the main propulsion systems and generator engines along with a complete paint refresh. Tideforce’s RAS equipment was also overhauled, tested and recertified. Major work and services were also carried out on winches and engines, whilst the HP seawater system was completely modified with the changing of associated HPSW valves.
RFA Tideforce arrived in Cammell Laird in April 2021. All works were completed on time and RFA Tideforce returned to the operational fleet in February, 2022.
RFA Tidespring, the first of the four Tide Class vessels, has subsequently returned to Cammell Laird for her second major refit period. RFA Tidespring‘s refit period will include her first five-year survey, including an overhaul of her propulsion system, full tank surveys, engine overhauls and a full paint work.
All three of the remaining Tide Class vessels will return to Cammell Laird for their own five-year surveys and refit periods over the coming years.
Cammell Laird’s in-service support contract ensures that all four of the Tide Class ships can remain fully effective whilst deployed to operational theatre across the Globe.
The Tide Class tankers are playing a significant role in supporting the Aircraft Carrier Strike Group, a formation of support vessels, submarines and warships which support HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales Aircraft Carriers whilst on operational deployment.
The Tide Class Replenishment at Sea operations refuel all vessels of the Carrier Strike Group, ensuring minimum disruption to ongoing operations. The Tide Class vessels are armed with a self-defence weapon system and can accommodate Wildcat and Merlin helicopters.
Mike Hill, Managing Director, Cammell Laird Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders Ltd, said: “During the last 15 years, Cammell Laird has established a strong relationship with the RFA, supporting their flotilla.
“Cammell Laird continues to build upon its considerable knowledge and expertise of the RFA from our dedicated Cluster Support Team (CST), based on the River Mersey.
“Drawing upon Cammell Laird’s world-class skills and facilities, we are able to provide around the clock support to the RFA flotilla, whilst at home and abroad, ensuring the optimum availability to the operational fleet.”
In addition to its ongoing support of the Tide Class, Cammell Laird continues to provide support to RFA Fort Victoria, RFA Wave Knight and RFA Wave Ruler.