RFA Black Rover (A273)

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RFA Black Rover
Career (UK)
Name: RFA Black Rover
Operator: Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Builder: Swan Hunter, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
Launched: 30 October 1973
Commissioned: 23 August 1974
Identification: Pennant number: A273
Fate: active in service
General characteristics
Class & type: Rover class
Displacement: 16,160 tonnes[1]
6,692 tonnes deadweight (DWT)
Length: 461 ft (140.5 m)
Beam: 63 ft (19.2 m)
Draught: 24 ft (7.3 m)
Propulsion: 2 × SEMT-Pielstick 16 PA 4 diesls
1 × shaft
Bow thruster
15,360 hp (11.5 MW)
Speed: 19 knots (35 km/h)
Range: 15,000 miles (24,000 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
2x Avon searider
Capacity: 3,000 m³ of fuel
Complement: 16 officers
31 ratings
Sensors and
processing systems:
Sperry Marine Visionmaster radars and ECDIS. 1690 I band navigation radars
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
2 × Corvus and 2 × Plessey Shield decoy launchers
Graseby Type 182 towed torpedo decoy
Armament: 2x 20mm oerklin, 4x 7.62mm GPMG,2x Dillon Aero 7.62mm miniguns

RFA Black Rover is a small fleet tanker of the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary. She is designed to replenish ships underway at sea with fuel, fresh water, and stores in all weather conditions. She has a helicopter deck served by a stores lift and is capable of conducting helicopter replenishment. Displacing 11,500 tonnes, she is powered by twin diesels and has a ship's company of 56.

Black Rover was built by Swan Hunter, being launched in 1973. She was accepted into service in 1974 and is still on active deployment in 2014.

In 2000, Black Rover participated in Exercise Unified Spirit 2000 and Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 01-1. The combined exercise, which took place in the waters off the US East Coast and in the Caribbean, began on 9 October and included the USS Harry S. Truman Battle Group, USS Nassau Amphibious Ready Group and 14 NATO ships from Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Only two ships from the UK participated, one being Black Rover and the other the Type 42 destroyer Cardiff.

By February 2001, Black Rover set sail from Devonport Naval Base at the start of an 11-month deployment as the tanker assigned to the Atlantic patrol (south) task. Along with the destroyer Glasgow, she visited a number of ports as they sailed south and made their way to the coast of West Africa to support British forces in and around Sierra Leone. Later in 2001, the tanker crossed the Atlantic and headed even further south as she proceeded to the more traditional patrol area of the Falkland Islands. She returned home to the UK in December.

Black Rover was deployed from UK in June 2005 and its tasking included assisting with post-Tsunami reconstruction and participation in multi-national exercises in the Far East as the UK's component of the Five Power Defence Arrangement. On this deployment, she was commanded by Captain K Rimell.

Black Rover now has the role of Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) tanker, and in September 2006 she hosted the RFA recruitment video film crew. Black Rover’s role as FOST tanker allowed the film makers to capture many of the RFA's capabilities. The busy nature of the FOST schedule allowed the film crew to experience a wide variety of exercises and evolutions during their time on board.

In 2013, Black Rover deployed to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.[2]

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