First Deck Landing Made on New RFA Tanker
A submarine-hunting Merlin Mk2 helicopter has made the first ever deck landing on RFA Tiderace – the newest of the Tide Class tankers. The landing took place in the Plymouth Sound by a team of aviators from 814 Naval Air Squadron.
The giant tanker, which was fitted out in Falmouth, will sustain the nation’s new aircraft carriers whilst they are deployed around the globe. She can deliver more than 1,500 cubic metres of fuel every hour.
RFA Tiderace, like her three sister Tide Class ships, has been designed to be at the heart of a carrier strike group, supporting HMS Queen Elizabeth or Prince of Wales, a Type 45 destroyer, Type 23 or 26 frigate and an Astute-class submarine.
Helicopters from RNAS Culdrose will work closely with the Tide Class in the future. Indeed, a flight from 814 NAS embarked on RFA Tidespring in June this year.
Commander Mike Currie, Head of the Maritime Merlin Helicopter Force said: “It is fitting that an RNAS Culdrose Merlin made the first deck landing onto RFA Tiderace. Not only due to the Cornish Connection, but also because of the close working relationship we already have with others within the class. The Royal Navy is fast approaching a new era of Carrier Aviation, and the Maritime Merlin Force based at RNAS Culdrose is central to this. Wherever the new aircraft carriers go, our helicopters and personnel will go too and play an essential role. Our Merlin Mk2s will routinely form a large part of the Air Group, working with other surface units and F35s to protect the Carrier Task Group – above, on and below the waves. Therefore, the flight decks of both the aircraft carriers and the ships that support them, will become our second home.”