RFA Wave Knight (A389)

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RFA Black Rover
RFA Wave Knight
Career (UK) Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ensign
Ordered: 12 March 1997
Builder: VSEL
BAE Systems Marine
Laid down: 22 May 1998
Launched: 30 September 2000
Commissioned: 08 April 2003
In service: in active service
General characteristics
Displacement: 31,500 tonnes approx
Length: 196.5 metres
Beam: 28.25 metres
Draught: 9.97 metres
Propulsion: Diesel-electric; four Wartsila 12V 32E/GCLM motors; one shaft; 18t thrust electric Kamewa bow thruster and 12t thrust electric stern thruster
Speed: 18 knots (33 km/h)
Range: 10,000 nautical miles (20,000 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Capacity: 16,000 cubic metres, 3,000 cubic metres of aviation fuel, 380 cubic metres of fresh water, 125 tonnes of lubricating oil, 500 cubic metres of refrigerated solids and dry stores and 820 ft (250 m) containers
Complement: 72 Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel and there is also provision for 26 Royal Navy personnel for helicopter and weapons systems operations.
Sensors and
processing systems:
Surface search: E/F band; navigation: KH 1077, I-band; IFF: Type 1017
Armament: two 30 mm cannon; four 7.62 mm machine guns; fitted for but not with two Vulcan Phalanx
Aircraft carried: 1 Merlin helicopter with full hangar facilities

RFA Wave Knight (A389) is a Wave Knight-class fast fleet tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) of the United Kingdom. Wave Knight was built by VSEL (after 1999, BAE Systems Marine), being launched in 2000. She was accepted into service in 2003 and is the 2nd ship to bear this name in RFA service. Wave Knight and her sister Wave Ruler replaced the elderly Olna and Olwen, 36,000 ton fast fleet tankers built at Swan Hunter and Hawthorn Leslie respectively in the 1960s.

The ships are crewed by 72 Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel and there is also provision for 26 Royal Navy personnel for helicopter and weapons systems operations. Wave Knight is able to operate in support of amphibious forces, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare operations and protection of vital sea areas and shipping.

The ships have the capability to deliver fuel through an RAS (replenishment at sea) rig, either port, starboard or astern to other vessels. For amphibious support, the ships can also deliver fuel to pillow tanks or dracones positioned alongside. The RASCON replenishment at sea equipment is supplied by Clarke Chapman. The package of abeam and astern re-fuelling systems includes the RAS system, an ammunition handling crane specially fitted out for abeam re-fuelling, steering gear and rudder packages, thyristor-controlled winch/windlasses and double drum mooring winches.


File:RFA Wave Knight (A-389).jpg
Wave Knight prepares to transfer fuel to the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD-5) during a replenishment at sea.

On 18th April 2009, Royal Navy personnel operating from Wave Knight in the Gulf of Aden, managed to intercept and fend off two pirate attacks with its armament involving MV Handy Tankers Magic, and MV Front Ardennes. [1][2]

On 23 October 2009, personnel aboard Wave Knight witnessed the kidnapping by Somali pirates of two British citizens from the yacht Lynn Rival. They did not intervene for fear of causing casualties amongst the victims.[3] When giving a speech at Chatham House on 27th November 2009, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope made his position on the crew's conduct clear, stating that "They do not appreciate, and I do not like them, being branded cowards".[4]


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