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Tide Class Tankers (MARS) (RFA)

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Tide Class Tankers (MARS) (RFA)

Postby marktigger » 01 May 2015, 10:28

lets start a thread on the New support ships

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Re: Tide Class Tankers (MARS) (RFA)

Postby SKB » 02 May 2015, 14:32

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^ RFA Tidespring (A136) approaching Portsmouth for the first time on 16th November 2017.

Introduction
The Tide class tanker is a class of fast fleet tanker currently under construction for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary of the United Kingdom. Originally known under the project name Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability tankers (MARS), they will be tasked with providing fuel, food, fresh water, ammunition and other supplies to Royal Navy vessels around the world. The vessels were ordered on 22 February 2012 in an order worth £452 million. The ships were designed by BMT Defence Services in Bath, England but were constructed in South Korea.


Ships in class
1. RFA Tidespring (A136) Launched April 2015. Named 7th October 2015. Dedication Ceremony 27th November 2017.
2. RFA Tiderace (A137) Launched November 2015. Named 1st December 2016.
3. RFA Tidesurge (A138) Launched 4th June 2016. Named 29 August 2017.
4. RFA Tideforce (A139) Launched 21st January 2017.


Specifications
Type: Fast Fleet Tanker
Displacement: 36,000 long/imperial tonnes. (41,000 short/US tons or 37,000 metric tons)
Length: 200.9 m (659 ft 1 in)
Beam: 28.6 m (93 ft 10 in)[2]
Draft: 10 m (32 ft 10 in)
Propulsion: CODELOD
Speed: 26.8 knots (49.6 km/h; 30.8 mph)
Range: 18,200 nautical miles (33,700 km; 20,900 mi)
Capacity: Tanks for diesel oil, aviation fuel and fresh water. Lubrication oil stored in drums. Stowage for up to 8 × 20 containers.
Crew Complement: 63 plus 46 non-crew embarked persons (Royal Marines, flight crew, trainees)
Sensors and processing systems: Kelvin Hughes Integrated Bridge System. Servowatch IPMS System. 3 × SharpEye radar
Armament: 2 × Phalanx CIWS. 2 × 30 mm cannons
Aircraft carried: 1 x Wildcat or AgustaWestland Merlin
Aviation facilities: Enclosed Merlin capable hangar. Large Chinook capable flight deck



RFA Tidespring and HMS Queen Elizabeth scale models in Haslar testing tank

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby bobp » 06 May 2015, 18:32

These tankers seem to be coming on well, it doesn't seem long since I heard the first steel was cut. :o

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby shark bait » 06 May 2015, 19:25

bobp wrote:These tankers seem to be coming on well, it doesn't seem long since I heard the first steel was cut. :o


Indeed they are. RFA tidespring is even afloat now.
Under time and budget, the wonders of commercial building!
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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby _a_Kiwi_ » 06 May 2015, 20:45

Is there any data published on cargo fuel capacity?

This design has been shortlisted for tankers for the RAN (2) and RNZN (1).

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby Gabriele » 06 May 2015, 20:51

Known specifications:

Sick Bay plus 2-bed general ward
19.000 cubic meters for liquids (AVCAT [F44 and/or F36], DIESO)
All cargo tanks can be reconfigured from F76 diesel to F44 aviation fuel, so the mix of the two is variable according to the projected need (one Tide assigned to the carrier task group would carry move aviation fuel, for example)
1300 cubic meters potable water
8 ISO containers on deck
63 crew + 45 EMF for 35 days
Speed sustained 15 knots
Operate worldwide, including in first year ice
Hangar and air weapons magazine for operations of up to 1 Merlin flight; flight deck sized for Chinook
Weapons fit of 2x 30mm and 2x Phalanx CIWS, plus smaller machine guns and miniguns if and when necessary
Separated machinery locals by shaft to ensure survivability; and bow thruster can be used to limp to port if all else is gone
3 RAS stations, with fully enclosed masts and related machinery under deck

No real detail regarding solid stores capacity yet.
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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby bobp » 06 May 2015, 21:34

I am assuming that these will be fitted for and not with Phalanx, as is the case with a lot of naval vessels these days. This begs another question exactly how many Phalanx systems does the RN have in storage ready to be used? Does it have enough to fit all of the current fleet?
Would the ISO containers hold some solid stores.

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby Gabriele » 06 May 2015, 22:13

bobp wrote:I am assuming that these will be fitted for and not with Phalanx, as is the case with a lot of naval vessels these days. This begs another question exactly how many Phalanx systems does the RN have in storage ready to be used? Does it have enough to fit all of the current fleet?
Would the ISO containers hold some solid stores.


I think the containers are often refrigerated ones and hold food stores. Anyway, yes, solid stuff. But there should be more capacity inside the ship, i'd think. They are going to be pretty large, and the fuel capacity given doesn't seem to me like it would fill them up.

On Phalanx, the RN has 36, with five more new ones on order. All of the existing 36 should be brought to Block 1B Baseline 2 over time. Several already have been upgraded under two separate contracts that cover at least 20 turrets, and there's a years-old Foreign Military Sales authrorization from the US that covers all 36 upgrade kits needed. It just seems that, due to their significant costs, the kits are actually being acquired in small successive batches.
A substantial number of Phalanx mounts has been unavailable in recent times due to them having been converted into land based Centurion C-RAM systems for use in Iraq. They are now being progressively brought back to standard Phalanx, upgraded and handed back to the fleet. 6 have been or are being reconverted, and 2 more Centurion are strapped to the deck of Cardigan Bay in the gulf. At some point, they will be properly reworked.
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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby bobp » 07 May 2015, 05:26

Thanks for that information 36 Phalanx systems is a lot more than I imagined. As well as dry stores and I agree with you more space other than a few shipping containers would be needed, besides the tanker crew needs to eat. There is also the need for carriage of spare parts and ammunition for the guns, helicopter spares as well as crew for the guns and helicopter.......soon will need a dedicated dry stores ship.

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby Gabriele » 07 May 2015, 08:43

bobp wrote:Thanks for that information 36 Phalanx systems is a lot more than I imagined. As well as dry stores and I agree with you more space other than a few shipping containers would be needed, besides the tanker crew needs to eat. There is also the need for carriage of spare parts and ammunition for the guns, helicopter spares as well as crew for the guns and helicopter.......soon will need a dedicated dry stores ship.


Well, they have reactivated Fort Austin, which had been mothballed since 2009. Fort Austin, Fort Rosalie and Fort Victoria are very capable stores ships, particularly the first two (Victoria is a mixed ship with large fuel capacity as well, but due to single hull, the latter has become somewhat less useable due to new laws, which is part of why her sister Fort George was cut in the SDSR, in favor of reactivating Austin).
Their replacement, incorporating the Rolls Royce heavy RAS stations capable to move large and heavy (5 tons) loads, should come via the next phase of MARS, the Solid Support Ship (or Fleet Solid Support; not clear which acronym is currently in use, i've seen both over time). However, MARS SSS is completely dependent on the famous 8 billion headroom in the 10 year budget for new project. The Royal Navy's share of that is 1 billion.
If that money is raided away by new cuts, however, it'll be down to the Forts for many more years...
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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby marktigger » 22 May 2015, 06:25

when is the first one due in UK for fitting out?

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 22 May 2015, 07:52

Much has been made of the Phalanx upgrade making them more capable against surface targets
- one would think that is mainly an ammo question, but maybe the applicable round places a different stress on the gun/ the mount?

The totally independent operation (ok, external power...) with radar and none of the Goalkeeper like deck intrusion makes the sets handy for swapping between vessels. At the same time, makes them expensive to procure.

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby Tony Williams » 23 May 2015, 07:10

ArmChairCivvy wrote:Much has been made of the Phalanx upgrade making them more capable against surface targets
- one would think that is mainly an ammo question, but maybe the applicable round places a different stress on the gun/ the mount?


The 1B upgrade is a package of measures: new APDS ammo is used, firing a heavier projectile. There is little or no loss in velocity because the gun has longer barrels, which might also have been strengthened a bit as the ammo generates a higher pressure IIRC. However, this is all about greater anti-missile effectiveness; the surface target capability is down to the electro-optical sensors and manual control option in the fire control system.

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 23 May 2015, 08:24

Thanks Tony!

Would that suggest that the smaller (but heavy) AHEAD fragments (preformed, fragment is the wrong word I guess) do not have enough stopping power against today's faster/ bigger/ heavier missiles? Not that it has made its way onto many vessels, but held a lot of promise at the time of its introduction.

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby marktigger » 23 May 2015, 12:15

wouldn't the better solution to go for a bigger calibre like 30mm. I know goal keeper wasn't popular because of deck penetration.

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby Tony Williams » 24 May 2015, 11:46

ArmChairCivvy wrote:Would that suggest that the smaller (but heavy) AHEAD fragments (preformed, fragment is the wrong word I guess) do not have enough stopping power against today's faster/ bigger/ heavier missiles? Not that it has made its way onto many vessels, but held a lot of promise at the time of its introduction.


It's a complicated subject, difficult to analyse without lots of data that you're only likely to find out if you go the manufacturers waving a very fat wallet.

The shotgun-type dispersal cone of the AHEAD fragments means that the round does not have to be as accurately aimed as one which has to score a direct hit on the target. In practice, that means it is effective at a significantly longer range. Engaging at a longer range gives you more time to damage the incoming missile, and for damage to flying surfaces to result in the missile missing. With Phalanx, it's only worth engaging at around 1,500 m by which time you really have got to destroy the thing rather than just damage it.

I must admit that I like the Millennium/AHEAD system because it's so versatile. It is not only the longest-ranged of the CIWS/AA guns, but the system will be very good for shredding small boats and even has anti-personnel potential for engaging troops in the open. Finally, against larger craft the fuze can be left unset so the projectiles punch into the craft before breaking up in a shower of high-velocity tungsten pellets.

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby Tony Williams » 24 May 2015, 11:52

marktigger wrote:wouldn't the better solution to go for a bigger calibre like 30mm. I know goal keeper wasn't popular because of deck penetration.

Well, there are not really any alternatives around. The RN is in the process of disposing of Goalkeeper; there was only one user of the Oerlikon 25mm Sea Zenith system and it is no longer marketed; and the 40mm Bofors is not well regarded in the anti-missile role. That leaves the 35mm Millennium as the only practical Western alternative to Phalanx.

Alternatively, we could follow Germany in switching to a small missile - the Sea RAM system (the USN has this as well as Phalanx).

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby marktigger » 24 May 2015, 12:01

is there any reason why the Phalanx platform couldn't be upgraded to carry a 30mm gun?

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby Tony Williams » 24 May 2015, 12:25

marktigger wrote:is there any reason why the Phalanx platform couldn't be upgraded to carry a 30mm gun?

Yes. The gun would be too heavy for the mounting, and so would its recoil. The only western 30mm gun fast-firing enough to be worth bothering with in the CIWS role is the GAU-8/A as used in Goalkeeper, and that's massive.

About the most that could be done to upgrade the Phalanx was demonstrated by Oerlikon a few decades ago - they slotted in their 25mm KBD rotary cannon. Nobody bought it, and the gun was never put into production.

As a matter of interest, the Chinese have built a naval CIWS with an 11-barrel rotary 30mm which fires at 10,000 rpm...

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby RetroSicotte » 24 May 2015, 14:22

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oerlikon_M ... Gun_System

There is this.

However, Phalanx is already in large quantity, is supported by the US and pre-installed. Changing now would only cost more rather than a singular, commonalised type.

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby marktigger » 24 May 2015, 14:53

probably mor the reason we've phased out goalkeeper :(

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby RetroSicotte » 24 May 2015, 15:05

Pretty much. As much as Goalkeeper is a fun system, it is better to standardise.

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby marktigger » 24 May 2015, 18:22

i do wonder will anyone else buy this class ? could RNZN replace endeavour with one?

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby Ron5 » 24 May 2015, 18:58

A couple of comments here imply that Phalanx has AHEAD technology. I don't think it does. Are you guys sure?

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Re: MARS (tide class) RFA vessels

Postby Gabriele » 24 May 2015, 19:24

Ron5 wrote:A couple of comments here imply that Phalanx has AHEAD technology. I don't think it does. Are you guys sure?


I don't think they meant Phalanx uses AHEAD. Millenium does, Phalanx does not. If i understood right what was being said, is that despite AHEAD being a larger (35 mm) round, it impacts the threat with just fragments, which are individually smaller and less lethal than a Phalanx tungsten penetrator.
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