A Bay class vessel will be converted to deliver greater littoral strike capalities at a cost of £40 million.
The Defence Command Paper released today, titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age‘, states:
“The Royal Navy will invest £40m more over the next four years to develop our Future Commando Force as part of the transformation of our amphibious forces, as well as more than £50m in converting a Bay class support ship to deliver a more agile and lethal littoral strike capability.
Forward deployed to respond rapidly to crises, this special operations capable force will operate alongside our allies and partners in areas of UK interest, ready to strike from the sea, pre empt and deter sub threshold activity, and counter state threats. This will be enabled by the deployment of two Littoral Response Groups; the first in 2021 will be deployed to the Euro Atlantic under a NATO and JEF construct, while a second will be deployed to the Indo Pacific region in 2023.
They will also be able to deliver training to our partners in regions of the world where maritime security is most challenging.”
What do the Bay class do?
The Bay class are operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and are officially designated as ‘Landing Ship Docks’. Each Bay class vessel is capable of carrying up to 24 Challenger tanks or 150 military trucks in 1,150 linear metres of space. The UK operates three Bay class vessels after selling the fourth to Australia.
Under normal conditions, a Bay class ship can carry 350 soldiers, but this can be doubled to 700 in overload conditions. The flight deck is capable of handling helicopters up to the size of Chinooks, as well as Merlin helicopters however while the class have no hangar, a temporary shelter can be set up to house a single helicopter. The well dock can carry one LCU Mark 10 or two LCVPs, and two Mexeflotes can be suspended from the ship’s flanks.