Two Point class ships have transported over 200 vehicles for Exercise Saif Sareea 3 which will take place across Oman in October and November 2018.

Saif Sareea 3 (SS3) is the third UK-Oman joint exercise, with the previous 2 taking place in 1986 and 2001. SS3 is the UK armed forces lead exercise this year and the largest joint exercise of its kind in 17 years.

Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle being transported from the Port to the Joint Logistics Support Base in Duqm.

The exercise, culminating in a ‘firepower demonstration’, will test the UK and Sultanate’s ability to operate together in austere conditions through the deployment of a Coalition Joint Task Force, say the Ministry of Defence.

“The 2 RORO ships which arrived this week in Duqm left the military port in Marchwood, near Southampton, in late July. The ships sailed into the Port of Duqm on the 10 and 14 August, each with a cargo of over 3,500 tonnes.

The cargo included vehicles such as Warrior armoured fighting vehicles, Scimitar CVRT (combat vehicle reconnaissance tracked) and Bulldog personnel carriers. Over 200 vehicles were unloaded from the ship belonging to:

  • 1 Mercian
  • 22 Royal Engineers
  • Royal Tank Regiment
  • 40 Commando Royal Marines
  • Commando Helicopter Force

The vehicles and other logistical equipment will be transported onwards to the Joint Logistics Support Base in Duqm and other locations ahead of the start of the exercise in October.”

The Point class sealift ships are designed for the strategic transport of military cargo and vehicles. Four ships were built by the German company Flensburger Schiffbau Gesellschaft and two built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast. They replaced the RFA Sea Centurion and Sea Crusader in service.

Picture shows Merchant Vessel Hartland Point carrying military equipment in support of Cougar 12 in the Mediterranean Sea.

The full six-ship service was only to be required for major operations and exercises which prompted the MoD to pursue a contract for their long term service under the Private Finance Initiative.

Point class ship at Mare Harbour in the Falklands.

Under the contract the provider can make ships available for commercial service with other companies at times when they are not needed by MoD, two of the ships however have been let go from this arrangement leaving the MoD with only four should they be required.

The vessels have 2,650 linear metres of space for vehicles which is able to house 130 armoured vehicles and 60 trucks and ammunition or 8,000 tonnes of vehicles.

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BB85 (@guest_431346)
2 years ago

These were the last ships to be built in Belfast if memory serves me rifgt. Pity all 6 where not built there I actually thought the rest where built in England.

Bite ya legs
Bite ya legs (@guest_431544)
2 years ago
Reply to  BB85

These were all built in Germany

Barry Cobb
Barry Cobb (@guest_432311)
2 years ago
Reply to  Bite ya legs

mv Heartland point was built in Northern Ireland as was one other sister ship.

Peter Elliott
Peter Elliott (@guest_431379)
2 years ago

Shocking indictment that our lead mechanised forces are still rumbling round in CVRT and Bulldog. That’s really going to make adversaries tremble.

Roll on Ajax and Boxer.

David Taylor
David Taylor (@guest_431380)
2 years ago

Points are awesome. Simple ‘power train’. Good speed / endurance, better than the Bay’s or Albion’s.

These modern fast Ro-Ro ferry designs offer a lot of flexibility for navies wanting a large auxiliary. See USN’s Maritime Support Vessel (MSV) M/V Cragside converted by Maersk for about £60 million.

Bill (@guest_431449)
2 years ago

Agree about CVRT and the mortar carrier Bulldog. A bloody mortar mobile carrier! Stick a bren gun on the front why don’t we. Scimitars were obselete decades ago but let’s deploy them anyway because they can shoot their 30mm guns and scoot faster than anything else. Man up, tool up MOD.

Steve (@guest_431465)
2 years ago
Reply to  Bill

I keep reading comments about the CVRT being old, but old doesn’t by itself mean incapable. The US has platforms that are older (e.g. B52 bomber) and yet are more than capable of doing their role. I am not saying that the CVRT is not outdated, but can we have some better analysis than its old. What is its capability weaknesses and what upgrades are needed. My personal view is that land based Reconnaissance vehicles as a capability is outdated and extremely risky in the event of a near peer or worse conflict, simply because guided missiles make the idea… Read more »

BV Buster
BV Buster (@guest_431503)
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Steve, completely agree with you on that, during WW2 we used a tank regiment for recce that had the same tanks as the armoured regiment. Tactics have changed tho, we are now a lot more kinetic when it comes to reconnaissance, shame the tactics don’t fit the vehicle (yet). So what can I say about CVR? yes its old (propper old) but it is not the same platform that left the factories all those yeas ago. The sights have been upgraded multiple times, the coms kit is fairly new and has a modern diesel engine. They are a few myths… Read more »

Lusty (@guest_431612)
2 years ago
Reply to  BV Buster

Let us remember, until recently, the Royal Marines were still using four DUKWs for training purposes!

Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu (@guest_431589)
2 years ago
Reply to  Bill

The latest edition of Defence Technology Review has some interesting in-depth articles about the contenders for the Australian Army’s Land 400 Phase 3 to acquire 400 IFV’s to replace the ageing but recently upgraded M113AS’s whose lineage dates back to Vietnam. Given the Rheinmettal’s win of phase 2 with the Boxer, their Lynx KF41 would seem to be the frontrunner, especially given the commonality of the Lance turret offerings and mandated Spike LR2 ATGMs to be fitted to both types. Plus its unique Rheinmettal party trick (like the Boxer) where the mission module, including the turret, can be lifted off… Read more »

mark lawrie
mark lawrie (@guest_431476)
2 years ago

there is only 4 point ships left, two have been sold

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_431576)
2 years ago

I do t mean to be picky, but I think the first Swift Sword was in 96 with the advent of the JRDF not 1986 as stated. That was BAOR and Cold War days and we were not interested in deploying mechanized forces to the Middle East then.

Graham (@guest_432852)
2 years ago

I disagree with Steve. Recce is essential for Land Forces and multiple assets are required, including armoured recce vehicles. Certainly aerial surveillance provides a long and wide view, but they are vulnerable and affected by bad weather. Traditionally we conduct recce by stealth, so the vehicles would not expose themselves to enemy fire including ATGW. Also there is no substitute for the Mk. 1 eyeball forward in the battlespace.