Rover-class tanker

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RFA Black Rover
RFA Black Rover in Plymouth 2005.
Class overview
Builders: Swan Hunter
Succeeded by: Tide-class tanker
Built: 1968–1974
In commission: 1970–2017 (RFA)
Completed: 5
General characteristics
Length: 461 ft (140.5 m)
Beam: 63 ft (19.2 m)
Draught: 24 ft (7.3 m)
  • 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)
Capacity: 3,000 m³ of fuel
  • 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
  • 2 × Oerlikon 20 mm guns
  • 2 × 7.62 mm machine guns
Aircraft carried: Helicopter deck but no hangar

The Rover class is a British ship class of "Small Fleet Tanker", active from 1970 to 2017 with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Two remain in service, one having been sold to Portugal and one to Indonesia; the rest have been scrapped or are awaiting disposal. They are tasked with the replenishment at sea (RAS) of naval warships with fuel oils and with limited supplies of other naval stores. For RAS tasking, they can refuel a vessel on either beam and a third trailing astern and have a large flight deck to allow vertical replenishment (VERTREP) with helicopters.


Tenders for what became 5 ships were invited in 1967. Problems with the original propulsion led to the first three of the class being re-engined in 1974. The final two had minor changes including improved accommodation and different stern anchor arrangements. Blue Rover suffered a fire during construction in 1970 which killed two shipyard workers. Costs ranged from £3m for Green Rover to £7.7m for Gold Rover, last of the class.[2]


Name Pennant Builder Commissioned Fate
Green Rover A268 Swan Hunter, Hebburn 15 August 1969 To Indonesian Navy 1992
Grey Rover A269 Swan Hunter, Hebburn 10 April 1970 Scrapped 2010
Blue Rover A270 Swan Hunter, Hebburn 15 July 1970 To Portuguese Navy 1993 as Berrio
Gold Rover A271 Swan Hunter, Wallsend 22 March 1974 Decommissioned 6 March 2017
Black Rover A273 Swan Hunter, Wallsend 23 August 1974 Decommissioned 2016, awaiting disposal



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