UK’s New Carrier passes fuelling test with flying colours
Britain's flagship of tomorrow can now strike out across the Seven Seas after refuelling 'on the go' for the first time.
After a dry run earlier in the year, HMS Queen Elizabeth successfully took on fuel in the North Atlantic, receiving 'amber gold' from RFA Tidespring, the tanker purpose built to support the new aircraft carrier on her global operations.
In fairly choppy conditions, the 65,000-tonne warship practised the manoeuvre – known as replenishment at sea – to take on supplies on both her port and starboard sides. The two ships were just 42 metres – 138ft – apart, sailing along at 12 knots as the lines were passed and the fuel hose transferred to hook up with the intake on the carrier.
If needed, the tide-class ship could deliver 800 cubic metres of fuel in an hour – that's enough to fill up more than 14,500 Superminis and less than one twentieth of the total amount of fuel the tanker carries.
"This is one more significant step forward in our growing capability – knowing that we can be refuelled from a tanker means HMS Queen Elizabeth can roam even further from home," said the carrier's navigating officer Lt Cdr Sam Stephens. "The fact that our first replenishment at sea was with RFA Tidespring – the first in her class of the tankers which were designed specifically to operate with us, made it doubly significant."
Capt Karl Woodfield RFA, Tidespring's Commanding Officer, said his men and women were filled with "pride and achievement" after the two successful hook-ups with the new carrier. "The Tide-class have been built to provide worldwide fuel support to the two new UK carriers so this is a significant milestone in bringing both ships into operational service," he added.