Tide Class RFA


The Tide-Class tankers (formerly known as the Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability, or MARS, tankers) are a class of fast fleet tanker currently under construction for the Royal Fleet Auxilliary (RFA). These vessels will have a displacement of 37,000 tonnes and will be tasked with providing fuel, food, fresh water, ammunition and other supplies to Royal Navy vessels in service around the world.

The Tide-Class tankers were designed by BMT Defence Services in Bath, and are being constructed by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) in South Korea. The contract for the design and build of these vessels is worth an estimated £452 million.

The four new vessels will be 200.9m long with a draft of 10m and a beam of 28.6m. The design is based on the BMT Defence Services AEGIR tanker concept, and they have been designed to be more environmentally friendly, with greater fuel efficiency and lower carbon dioxide emissions than vessels currently in service.

The Tide-Class will replace the RFA’s three remaining Rover and Leaf class tankers and will provide replenishment from three abeam Replenishment at Sea (RAS) stations for diesel oil, aviation fuel and fresh water. The vessels will also have a flight deck to provide a vertical RAS capability. In order to support this capability each Tide-class tanker will carry 1 medium sized helicopter with full hangar facilities.

The first of the Tide-Class tankers, RFA Tidespring, will arrive in the UK in Spring 2016, and is to be followed by her sister ships (RFA Tiderace, RFA Tidesurge and RFA Tideforce) at six-monthly intervals. The Tide-Class vessels are expected to enter service from 2016.