Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has revealed he is protecting HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion from spending cuts.

Williamson said:

“To deliver what seems impossible, the Royal Marines need to be able to bring the fight from the sea to the land. As such, I am happy to announce today that I am protecting their vital landing platforms HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark.”

The Albion class landing platform docks are HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark.

Their primary function is to embark, transport, deploy and recover troops and their equipment. Each ship can host 305 troops with an overload of a further 405. The class features a vehicle deck capacity of up to six tanks or around 30 armoured all-terrain vehicles.

The Albion’s also feature a floodable well dock, with the capacity to take either four utility landing craft (each capable of carrying a Challenger 2 tank) or shelter a hovercraft landing craft.

Four smaller landing craft are positioned on port and starboard davits, each capable of carrying 35 troops. Each ship features a two-spot 64m flight deck able to take medium support helicopters and stow a third or operate a Chinook. However, the Albion design does not have a hangar.

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Good news, now the very long wait to see what we have lost to cover the above.

Mr Bell

Why do we have to loose something just to retain a capability we should never of even considered scrapping?
The UK is a rich country, what it boils down to is political decisions on what we should spend our taxes on. I would rather have a strong military and investments in defence and infrastructure then benefits for drug addicts who have never worked and are frankly unemployable.

Anthony D

Unemployment benefits amount to 1 per cent of the welfare budget. Stop demonising the unemployed. The biggest welfare is state pension.


Granted – unemployment benefit alone only makes up £2billion of the £60billion welfare pot. But, you’d also have to include government spending on housing benefits and social exclusion (bus passes, meals etc) if you want a truer picture of unemployment’s costs to us. Tot the whole thing up and you’ll get £41billion. That’s 66% of the Welfare budget (and note I do not include pensions – to do so when talking about unemployment would be a tad silly). Personally, i’d go after uneccessary child benefit payments…cost us billions. Oh, and the foreign aid budget – a sacred cow that needs… Read more »

Anthony D

Bob these benefits don’t just go to the unemployed.

Cameron hunter

Yeah but where do you think the unemployed spend their money? The government gets a fair chunk back in tax from them spending it and helping out shops in the process. It’s foreign aid that we need to stop! But the government made it LAW that we have to spend 0.7% of GDP! This is not right and should be stoped!….

David E Flandry

I watched a guy talk about how he could make nearly as much money on welfare as working. He was not working. Why can’t benefits be tailored to help working stiffs get something extra for working? Is that too common sensical?

Steve Smith

State pension isn’t a benefit. We’ve spent our whole ones paying into it, slight difference!


Spending money to get drug addicts off the drugs and producing employable people instead is a good strategy for our economy. Unfortunately we do not spend nearly enough on this and lots of them end up in prison and then they are pretty much permanently unemployable and almost permanently in prison costing the economy huge sums of money with the knock on effects. I met a homeless guy the other day. He had lost his job and then as a consequence was thrown out by his GF. He struggles to find help as he is 40 years old and a… Read more »


You’ll probably find him in the hostel selling your items on ebay….


I saw him a few days later still wearing my coat and still holding the umbrella.


It matters not one bit how Social Security is made up although all the other arguments are valid, if the government gained an extra £10bn from somewhere the military are unlikely to get it. Health, Education and Social care are going to be higher up the priority ladder. Then any pennies left over will be caught after by the Police.


Fantastic news. I just hope we don’t lose something to protect them.

And according to sources, HMS Albion may soon prove her worth by responding to the Indonesian Tsunami. HMS Argyll is also in the region, but Albion would definitely be suited to this work (and think of the PR potential).


Hopefully the Foreign Aid budget will be used to reimburse the MoD if she is tasked with helping!


At least 2 type23,one or both the wave class tankers,I suspect a Bay will go as well maybe more type 23 retired earlier to free up manpower.

Nigel Collins

They take the Harrier AV-8B, 18 of, with 6 deck spots. Italy has similar, but is replacing its Harriers with the F35-B. Way to go. I didn’t realise the STOVL was already as popular as that, I’m behind the times when I’m looking ahead!


Ask the RAN. They have 2 of them.


There are no magic words, just plain common sense. However, what has the Treasury demanded to be cut instead??? It’s never about the defence of the realm, just accountancy and a lack of meaningful understanding. One other train of thought, would have defence cuts been even worse if our dear queen had passed away, say ten years ago? The current level of spending has no doubt been down to her sharp eye and loyalty towards her forces? It takes a brave Prime minister to tell her he or she is ready to take a knife out on her forces.

Anthony D

Well it’s almost certainly the reason the guards escaped Jackson’s mergers. Pretty sure that was not a good thing.

Daniele Mandelli

Jacksons mergers? Add 1 Para as UKSFSG.

Still there was a need for that so why not if it preserved 1 Para.

Lee H

Afternoon all As expected, each service gets their headline, for the RN and RM the 2 LPD’s that were never going to be cut (remember the leaked releases were only options put to ministers) have now been “saved”. Currently the RN can support one at sea and one in reserve and I doubt that will change, the manpower is there just. What you will see go though are the 2 escorts (T23) to leave 17 FF and DDG’s until about 2023 when T31e should go to trials at which point you will see another 2 T23’s more than likely removed… Read more »


I’d say that’s probably about right.


Except that once the escort number has dropped down from 19 to 17, this will be the new norm and the t26/34 order will be quietly reduced down to 17 to match.

Daniele Mandelli

Yep, an old HMG trick.

Trevor G

It’s the lack of escorts that bothers me most. There is little point in deploying high value assets if you can’t protect them in contested space. Adversary navies have been practising for years how to take out carriers by overwhelming defences with saturation attacks. what’s the life expectancy of a QE task group defended by 1 Type 45 + 1 or 2 T23/26?

Anthony D

The only two countries capable and interested in sinking our carriers are Russia and China. When operating in their waters the cbg will have a lot of allied escorts in place. Outside of that, the layered defence is just about there but with little resilience.

Captain P Wash

” A Growing Navy ” , “At Least 5 Type 31’s ” ” We don’t need HMS Ocean ” “East of Suez ” North to the Arctic ” ” Showing our Presence In the China Sea “.. You have to love this Latest bunch of Half Wits.

Daniele Mandelli

It’s desperate isn’t it Captain.

Each new government is as bad as the last.

My biggest worry now isn’t escorts it’s the Waves.

They might well use the excuse that we have the new Tides. Total rubbish. The Tides themselves are replacing the Ol class, Rover class, and Leaf class!

Captain P Wash

It really Is Daniele, Makes my Salty Blood Boil.

Daniele Mandelli

Rubbing salt in old wounds…

Captain P Wash

Old Wounds Heal Better with a fresh dose of Old Salt. But The Mind still Remembers the Pain Inflicted by our Glorious Leaders. Mr Knott May well have had a Comfy Retirement but I’m Looking Forward to Haunting him When I’m Gone.

Daniele Mandelli

When Knott was cutting the military was still large.

Now we cut and the military have already had the fat removed, and the legs and arms.That’s the danger.

Capability, professionalism, training, know how, prestige, the UK is still somebody.

Our cyber and intelligence capabilities are also premier league.

Numbers wise we are not.

Until these reviews result in expansions as well as cuts they are not defence reviews at all.


It’s incredibly shortsighted policies such as this on both sides of The Pond that may lead to situations such as this (but Lord I pray not):





It’s a sad state of affairs that I genuinely consider this to be good news.

Geoffrey Roach

This is great news. I would like to think that those of us, of all persuasions, who got involved and contributed to the review in different ways are at least partly responsible for this reprieve. Keep at it folks!

Captain P Wash

We, Try on a Regular Basis but It’s Mostly Ignored. Great News though, until we Hear the Results of Saving Them.

Daniele Mandelli

You especially Geoffrey.

Geoffrey Roach



So what else will the RN sacrifice to the Treasury?

Mr Bell

And again… Why FFS do we have to loose anything. Frankly I find talk of a reduction of our frigate and destroyer fleet down to 17, hulls massively worrying and any reduction to 15 to be just plain madness. This political incompetence is going to bite us in the arse. We will loose a war due to our utter lack of naval power and available warships. Scandalous that a country with such a huge naval history could be brought so low by successive incompetent short sighted and idiotic leaders. Just put the defence budget up you idiots. Now is not… Read more »


I don’t think cutting the waves/bays would bring enough of a saving, it has to be a front line asset, so either frigates or helicopters, neither do we have enough to lose.

My preference would be to cut the f35b order down to around 80, which is more than enough to surge one carrier with the other packed out with Chinooks and Apaches.

Realistically in every realistic war situation, the typhoon / drones will take most of the heavy lifting, meaning less f35s are realistically needed.

Anthony D

Agree but 80 f35 would be enough for both carriers to field three squadrons.

Daniele Mandelli

I’m with Steve on F35 numbers.

Another 42. No more.

David E Flandry

Opening at MoD. Job title: Minister of Defense.
Educational requirements: MS in Accounting, Finance, or related degree
Experience in downsizing, budget reduction, and giving bad news without saying its bad.
Desirable experience : some familiarity with national defense subjects, knowing what a naval ship or fighter is, knowing where Russia and China are approximately located.
Ability to talk endlessly for hours while saying nothing is a highly desirable skill.


Just when you think the “absolute minimum” number of escorts has been reached….!
Surely mothballing for quick re-activation is a better strategy? If we were involved in another Falklands type conflict there is no reason to suppose the RN would not sustain losses of a similar order. We were able to absorb these with 50 plus escorts in 1982 but could not take the same punishment today


Look at other European navies, they barely have a navy at all and freely rely on the US to guarantee their maritime security. Most would not be able to operate outside their EEZ without outside support.
The UK has slowly been slipping towards that model to save money which is why the US is pushing so hard to avoid it and it will reach a point where the US will pull the plug on European defense.

Lee H

Morning all Whilst fleet reductions in the short term will be painful and follow disappointing trends the RN will adapt, the worry being that they adapt too well. The treasury will always argue that if it can be done with fewer ships at no loss to standing commitments then it should be. What treasury always forget and governments in general is that when you remove the surge capability (going to war for example) you cannot just switch it back on. You only have to look at the conflict in Afghanistan and the lack of rotary lift in the early stages… Read more »

Anthony D

Well said

Daniele Mandelli

“Most of the money doesn’t go to the people in defence but the defence industrial complex that supports it.”

Ah! Someone else apart from me mentions the truth.

I have said before HMG care little for the military, but will always support the military industrial complex behind them.

Thank you Lee.

Lee H

Hi Daniele
I think we have both talked about it at length before, hopefully the message will start getting through.



Lee, I will give that a Bump! I have lived in single accom on naval bases and on establishments. The new stuff in use now is very good…on par with say a premier inn/travelodge room. Married quarters in my experience are still bloody awful. I had my own house away from the usual naval base areas but my family and I lived in MQs for 3 years prior to my final posting abroad and subsequent retirement. I was luck in that I was a V senior NCO on our patch so I knew who to talk to and the rules… Read more »

Mr Bell

What are you talking about. You have to provide the military with the required very best equipment, in sufficient numbers otherwise they are canon fodder. Similar to the Siberian divisions sent into Leningrad. “The soldier in front carries the rifle, the soldier behind picks up the rifle and fights on when the soldier in front is killed”.
See my point? equipment does count regardless of how good the personnel are.

Daniele Mandelli

It does count of course. Numbers have a quality of their own.

But how do you have numbers without people? Unless the kit is automated robot warriors.

And that quote was from the film about Stalingrad, not Leningrad! And the Siberian divisions were deployed in Christmas 41 outside Moscow. But I’m just being picky so forgive me!

Lee H

Hi Mr Bell Fully see you point. I would point out though that a good system comes in three parts: People Process Technology We sometimes rush to the technology bit before fully understanding the people and processes required Equipment should be: Usable Deployable Supportable Secure To do those things you need people and process first to enable the technologies that we use to conduct war. All to often politicians will show off shiny new toys without fully understanding what is involved in actually getting the best out of it – well motivated and trained individuals who know when they are… Read more »



Geoffrey Roach

The amphibious fleet is going to remain active with 3 command intact so what happens. Doubt, gloom, cancellations, insults, woe is me is all we’ve got on this blog. For goodness sake …we have the best equipped navy in Europe and one of the best in the world. Let’s celebrate something, if only until next week when everybody can have a good moan again.

Daniele Mandelli

Agree Geoffrey.

On the amphibs side they had been written off here several months ago despite being told it was all speculation on options presented.


(Chris H) – for what its worth:
“During #Toryconference18 event today Defence Sec was asked would any other ships be sacrificed to save Albion & Bulwark?

He replied “No. I don’t have plans to lose any mass in order to save them”

I actually take the man at his word given his excellent comments in a fringe meeting when he answered some pretty fierce questioning from the audience here:

Daniele Mandelli

I like what I read with him.

The proof will be in the pudding though.

Thank God Fallon could not keep his hands to himself. Another useless yes man.

This defence secretary seems to be made of the tight stuff. So far.


That is a skillfully spun answer. He answered no mass would be lost, and not the question of how many ships. Reminds me of yes minister on how to answer difficult questions, by answering a different question instead.

I assume what he means is the 2 carrier’s entering service will have more mass than the ships going out of service.


The comments made about the Navy growing are true…if you only use tonnage as the yard stick ( Sorry for mixing units of measurement metaphors).
New carriers, T26 etc are all heavier than the existing units.

As ever Stats can be spun however you want them.


Looking at the comments about the Royal Navy frigate, well it looks like it could get worse, I have just been reading a report on the state of the US Navy and how they would get the reinforcement convoys across the Atlantic. They won’t, it seems that the merchant ships are being told that they will need to go it alone. Switch off there electronics and go. It looks like the US and the RN have let the ball drop. If we cannot escort our carriers and Amphibs or escort a convoy with a US armoured div then NATO is… Read more »