Ol-class tanker (1965)

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RFA Olmeda (A124).png
RFA Olmeda
Class overview
NameOl class
Preceded byTide class
Succeeded byWave class
In service1965–2021
General characteristics
Class and typeTanker
Displacement33,240 long tons (33,773 t) full load
Length648 ft (198 m)
Beam84 ft 2 in (25.65 m)
Draught34 ft (10 m)
PropulsionPametrada steam turbines, double reduction geared
Speed21 kn (24 mph; 39 km/h)
Range10,000 nmi (19,000 km) at 16 kn (18 mph; 30 km/h)
  • 88 RFA
  • 40 RN
  • 2× 20 mm guns
  • Chaff launchers
Aircraft carriedWestland Wessex or Westland Sea King helicopters

The Ol-class tankers were Royal Fleet Auxiliary "fast fleet tankers" tasked with providing fuel, food, fresh water, ammunition and other supplies to Royal Navy vessels around the world.

Class history[edit]

The three ships in the class, RFA Olwen, RFA Olmeda and RFA Olna, were an evolution of the earlier Tide-class replenishment oilers. The lead ship of the class was launched as RFA Olynthus, thus becoming known as Olynthus class although she was renamed RFA Olwen in 1967, to avoid confusion with HMS Olympus. Consequently, the class became Olwen class, and thereafter Ol class.[1]

Similarly, RFA Olmeda originally entered service as RFA Oleander, but was later renamed to avoid confusion with HMS Leander.

The three ships saw service in a wide range of locations, including during the Falklands War, which saw Olmeda take part in the recapture of Thule Island, and in the Persian Gulf during the 1990/91 Gulf War.

The ships were replaced by the Wave class. One modified Ol-class vessel, Kharg, was built for the former Imperial Iranian Navy in 1977. The vessel was delivered to the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy in 1984, and was lost on 2 June 2021.[2][3]

Construction programme[edit]

Name Pennant Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned
Royal Navy
Olwen (ex-Olynthus) A122 Hawthorn Leslie and Company, Tyneside 11 July 1963 10 July 1964 21 June 1965 1999
Olna A123 Hawthorn Leslie and Company, Tyneside 2 July 1964 28 July 1965 1 April 1966 24 September 2000
Olmeda (ex-Oleander) A124 Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend, Tyne and Wear 27 August 1963 19 November 1964 18 October 1965 January 1994
Iranian Navy
Kharg 431 Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallend 27 January 1976 3 February 1977 5 October 1984 Sank 2 June 2021


  1. ^ "RFA Olwen(2)". Historical RFA. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Iran warships enter Mediterranean via Suez Canal". BBC News. 18 February 2012.
  3. ^ "Iran navy's largest ship sinks after fire onboard". The Independent. UK. 2 June 2021. Retrieved 2 June 2021.

External links[edit]