The Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s next fleet of tankers will be known as the Tide class. The four ships, the first to emerge from the long-running Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) programme, will be named Tidespring, Tiderace, Tidesurge and Tideforce. The first three names were used for the original Tide class, which were the first replenishment tankers purpose-built to support aircraft carriers that served between 1955 and 1991. The latter has not been used before. The Tide class will replace the RFA’s Fort Victoria, Leaf and Rover class single-hulled tankers.
Reflecting the growing trend for more energy-efficient operation, the 37,000-tonne ships will feature a hybrid propulsion system combining electrical and mechanical propulsion technology to suit differing operating scenarios. Such systems, where the propellor shaft can be turned using an electric motor for slow speed and traditional engine and gearbox combinations for high speed, are already in use on the RNs Type 23 andType 45 warships.