Construction of a new class of replenishment tanker for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary is under way after a steel-cutting ceremony at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Mechanical Engineering’s (DSME) Opko shipyard. DSME will build four of the British-designed Tide class as part of the UK MoD’s Military Afloat ReachandSustainability (MARS) Fleet Tanker programme.

The manufacture of each ship is scheduled to take ten months from start to launch, with block integration taking just seven weeks. The basic ships are to be delivered at six-monthly intervals with the first-of-class, Tidespring, planned for October 2015, Tiderace in April 2016, Tidesurge in October 2016 and Tideforce in April 2017. After the handover of each completed build, an RFA crew will deliver the ships to a UK shipyard for customisation and fitting out.

The 37,000-tonne tankers will replace the ageing Rover and Leaf class single-hulled tankers, which are no longer fully compliant with international maritime legislation.

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