Fort Rosalie-class replenishment ship

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Fort Rosalie class
RFA Fort Rosalie
RFA Fort Rosalie at HMNB Plymouth Navy Days
Class overview
Builders: Scott Lithgow
Operators: Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Built: 1973–1979
In service: 1978-present
In commission: 1978–
Completed: 2
Active: 2
General characteristics
Type: Replenishment ship
Displacement: 18,029 tons (gross) / 23,890 tons (full load)
Length: 185.1 m (607 ft 3 in)
Beam: 24 m (78 ft 9 in)
Draught: 9 m (29 ft 6 in)
Propulsion: Sulzer 8-cylinder RND90 22,300 shp (16,600 kW), 1 shaft
Speed: 22 knots (40.7 km/h)
Range: 10,000 nmi (19,000 km) at 20 kn (37 km/h)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Kelvin Hughes Ltd SharpEye navigation radar[1]
Aircraft carried: Up to 4 × Westland Sea King

The Fort Rosalie or Fort class of fleet replenishment vessel of the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary are designed to replenish Royal Navy taskgroups with all kinds of armaments and victualling stores while under way. Unlike the bigger Fort Victoria class, they supply dry stores but not fuel. RFA Fort Rosalie was originally known as Fort Grange, but was renamed in 2000 to avoid confusion with the new Fort Victoria-class replenishment oiler RFA Fort George.


They have the capacity to store 3,500 tons of stores, including refrigerated items, in four holds. They are capable of replenishment at sea (RAS), using three 10-ton and three 5-ton cranes and vertical replenishment (VERTREP). For the latter role there are generous flight facilities; a single spot flight deck, an emergency landing platform atop the hangar and a complement of up to four (but usually one) Fleet Air Arm Westland Sea King helicopters and the requisite maintenance facilities. As such, they are often used for aviation training.


Two ships were ordered in 1971, with the first entering service in 1978. Both ships saw service in the Falklands War, the then Fort Grange being shadowed by Argentine Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft while still 1,000 nautical miles (1,900 km) from the combat area and Fort Austin being attacked while sitting in San Carlos Water. Fort Austin supported the British intervention in Sierra Leone in 2000.

Fort Austin was mothballed in 2009 but was reactivated following the 2010 SDSR at the expense of RFA Fort George. Both Fort Rosalie and Fort Austin have had major refits at Cammell Laird to enable another decade of service. In 2011 it was announced that the service lives of Fort Austin and Fort Rosalie would be extended by another two years to 2023 and 2024 respectively.[2] They will ultimately be replaced by the new Solid Support Ships.[3]


Name Pennant Builder Commissioned Fate
Fort Rosalie
(ex-Fort Grange)
A385 Scott Lithgow, Greenock 6 April 1978 Active as of 2014
Fort Austin A386 Scott Lithgow, Greenock 11 May 1979 Active as of 2014


  1. ^ "New navigation radar system for Royal Navy". 28 January 2016.
  2. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers". UK Parliament. 11 June 2013.
  3. ^ "SDSR 2015 Defence Fact Sheets" (PDF). 2015.

Further reading[edit]

  • Captain John E. Moore RN (1979). Warships of the Royal Navy. Jane's Publishing. ISBN 0-531-03730-4.
  • Beaver, Paul (1996). Britain's Modern Royal Navy. Patrick Stephens Limited. ISBN 1-85260-442-5.