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RFA Olwen fast fleet tanker
O Class Fleet Replenishment Tankers

The O Class Fleet Replenishment Tankers were the fastest and largest ships of the Fleet Auxiliary service of the 1960s. These tankers were designed with strengthened hulls for use in ice, also all three ships were fully air conditioned. also had landing decks, for helicopters as well as hanger space for two helicopters. Affectionately known as the 'Grand Old Lady of the Fleet', the Royal Fleets Auxiliary Services' veteran tanker OLWEN enjoyed a distinguished career since her completion in 1965.

RFA Olmeda (A124) was a fast fleet tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The second of the Olwen-class fast oilers, Olmeda came into service in late 1965 as Oleander. As with its sister ships, Olmeda's early service was routine. However, the ship had to be renamed from Oleander to Olmeda to avoid confusion with HMS Leander.

Olmeda saw extensive service during the Falklands War, being one of the first ships to head south. The ship took part in the recapture of Thule Island. In April 1982 RFA Sir Geraint and RFA Sir Galahad the latter carrying 350 men of 40 Commando, amongst others, sails from Devonport. RFA's Sir Percivale and Sir Lancelot sail from Marchwood. The LSL's and RFA Pearleaf rendezvous with RFA Resource, RFA Olmeda and HMS Alacrity and Antelope, this comprises part of the Amphibious Landing Group, which then proceeds to Ascension. The next day RFA Stromness, carrying 45 Cdo RM. HMS Antrim, Plymouth and RFA Tidespring were detached from Main Battle group and ordered to "proceed with dispatch" to Ascension. Two days later, RFA Fort Austin leaves Ascension after embarking three Lynx, two Wessex helicopters, 120 men of combined SAS/SBS force and RN surgical team, heading for rendezvous with HMS Endurance.

Unlike the other two members of the class, Olmeda did not serve in the Persian Gulf during the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, but accompanied HMS Ark Royal in the Eastern Mediterranean, acting as station tanker, refuelling Ark Royal and her task group, and supporting other ships on their way to and from Operation Granby. Olmeda's service came to an end a great deal earlier than Olwen and Olna. In 1993, the ship was decommissioned, and was sold for scrapping to an Indian company.

Displacement: 33,240 tons full load
Length: 648 ft 00 in - 185.9 m
Beam: 84 ft 02 in - 25.6 m
Draft: 24 ft 00 in - 11.9 m
Propulsion: 2 x Parmetrada steam turbines double reduction geared to a single shaft.
Speed: 21 knots (39 km/h)
Range: 10,000 nautical miles (20,000 km) at 16 knots (30 km/h)
Complement:88 RFA
40 RN
Armament: Two 20 mm guns
Two chaff launchers
Aircraft: 3 Westland Wessex or
3 Westland Sea King

#NameBuilderLaid DownComissionedDecommnotes
A122 RFA Olwen (2)
(Ex Olynthus)
Hawthern Leslie..21 Jun 19652000Scrapped
A123 RFA Olna (3) Hawthern Leslie..01 Apr 1966Aug 2000Scrapped
A124 RFA Olmeda
(Ex Oleander)
Swan Hunter..18 Oct 19652000Scrapped

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 03:04:54 ZULU