royalnavy.mod.ukTop Class Employer with Top Class People
Royal Navy
NavyNavyNavyNavyNavyNavyNavy

RFA Fort Rosalie with Discovery secured on her flight deck 
HMS Illustrious taking station on RFA Fort Victoria
RFA Fort George conducting RAS

Although all part of the Fort Class, these ships have two very different roles.

Fort Victoria and Fort George combine the functions of fleet oilers and stores ships. Being large and adaptable they are equipped with an expansive flight deck, supported by hangars for three Sea King-sized helicopters.  This class can embark and support both anti-submarine helicopters and troop-carrying Sea King Mk4 helicopters, which can transfer large amounts of stores to other ships.

For dual-purpose replenishment rigs are fitted amidships, enabling transfer of fuel and stores to two ships simultaneously. Both can fuel vessels over the stern. The variety of tasks that these vessels can be employed upon is reflected in their complements.  The ship’s company of RFA officers and ratings is supplemented by civilian Warship Support Agency staff and RN personnel who maintain the weapons.

The role of Fort Rosalie and Fort Austin is to replenish Royal Navy warships with dry stores such as food, spare parts and ammunition while underway.  This complex task is carried out by the RFA and warship steaming along side-by-side and transferring stores along a cable rigged between the two vessels.  Both ships are fitted with large flight decks and each ship has hangar space allowing them to operate a number of Sea King helicopters. This gives the ship an enhanced capacity to resupply by employing the VERTREP process to transfer supplies from ship to ship by helicopter. It also means that these ships can operate as independent force units with their four helicopters in the anti-submarine or commando role.

The ability to re- arm and re-supply the Royal Navy while underway, coupled to their capacity to carry extra helicopters, makes these ships a highly flexible and important part of any naval task group. They have extensive storage areas for stowage of everything from food to weapons.