While her sister pumps hundreds of tonnes of fuel into Britain’s new aircraft carrier, RFA Tidesurge is proving the £113m ships are more than mere tankers.
The third of four large, fast tankers – built specifically to support the UK’s two Queen Elizabeth-class flagships – is carrying out trials with the largest helicopter on the UK Armed Forces’ books, the Chinook.
Those trials, conducted off Portsmouth and in the Navy’s South Coast Exercise Areas, will help to write the operators’ manual for the Tide class, allowing all four ships to launch and land Chinooks on the front line.
Tidespring, Tiderace, Tidesurge and Tideforce are all intended to be at the heart of carrier strike groups, providing fuel and other supplies to Queen Elizabeth and her escorts – as the lead vessel in the class is doing right now.
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