RFA Wave Knight at anchor in Plymouth 2006
|Builders:||VSEL (later BAE Systems Marine)|
|Operators:||Royal Fleet Auxiliary|
|Preceded by:||Ol class|
|Succeeded by:||Tide class|
|In commission:||8 April 2003-present|
|General characteristics |
|Type:||Fast fleet tanker|
|Displacement:||31,500 tonnes approx|
|Length:||196.5 m (644 ft 8 in)|
|Beam:||28.25 m (92 ft 8 in)|
|Draft:||9.97 m (32 ft 9 in)|
|Speed:||18 knots (33 km/h)|
|Range:||10,000 nautical miles (20,000 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)|
|Complement:||80 Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel with provision for 22 Royal Navy personnel for helicopter and weapons systems operations|
|Aircraft carried:||1 × Merlin helicopter with full hangar facilities|
The Wave-class tankers are a class of fast fleet tankers in service with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The class is tasked with providing fuel, food, fresh water, ammunition and other supplies to Royal Navy vessels around the world. There are two ships in the class, RFA Wave Knight and RFA Wave Ruler. The ships were ordered to replace the aging Ol-class tankers RFA Olna and RFA Olwen. The two vessels have seen service in a number of locations, including anti-drug and hurricane relief operations in the Caribbean Sea, anti-piracy activities around the Horn of Africa and deterrent patrols in the South Atlantic.
A contract was placed for the vessels in 1997 with Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd (Marconi Marine VSEL). Construction of Wave Knight began in 1998 at VSEL's Barrow-in-Furness yard and the ship was launched in 2000. With the acquisition of Marconi Electronic Systems and its Marconi Marine subsidiary in 1999 British Aerospace became BAE Systems. BAE now owns VSEL in Barrow and the Yarrow and Govan shipyards on the Clyde. BAE transferred the construction of Wave Ruler to Govan in 2000 and the vessel was launched in 2001. Both vessels were commissioned in 2003.
The ships have the capability to supply fuel and other liquid cargo to vessels using replenishment rigs on port and starboard beams and through a Hudson reel-type stern rig. When providing support for amphibious operations, the ships are also able to deliver fuel to dracones positioned alongside. The equipment load includes cranes (for stores handling and abeam replenishment), steering and rudder gear, thyristor-controlled winch/windlasses and double drum mooring winches. Up to 16,000 m3 (570,000 cu ft) of liquids and 500 m3 (18,000 cu ft) of general solids can be carried. In addition, reverse-osmosis equipment is fitted enabling the production of 100 m3 (3,500 cu ft) of drinkable water per day.
The ships can operate a Merlin HM1 helicopter, or other helicopters of similar size, from a hangar and flight deck at the stern. On deployments to Atlantic Patrol Task (N) they have typically embarked a Royal Navy Lynx or a United States Coast Guard helicopter.
The vessels have a standard crew of 80 Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel with provision for a further 22 Royal Navy personnel to conduct helicopter and weapons systems operations. They carry a full medical team and sick bay and are capable of distributing 2,000 emergency relief packages in times of crisis.
|Wave Knight||A389||VSEL (later BAE Systems), Barrow-in-Furness||12 March 1997||22 October 1998||29 September 2000||8 April 2003|
|Wave Ruler||A390||BAE Systems, Govan||12 March 1997||10 February 2000||9 February 2001||27 April 2003|
Wave Knight prepares to transfer fuel to the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan during a replenishment at sea.
Wave Ruler (background) refuels USS Robert G. Bradley in the Pacific Ocean.
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