HMS Albion and HMS Dragon have conducted air defence and amphibious training with Egyptian Naval Ships Anwar El Sadat, Sharm El Sheik and Ali Gad.

According to the Royal Navy, Albion is leading the Littoral Response Group (Experimentation) deployment, comprising destroyer HMS Dragon, amphibious support ship RFA Lyme Bay and elements of 3 Commando Brigade.

“The ships are on a three-month deployment to the Mediterranean to test the concepts, equipment and practicalities of the Future Commando Force, as well as conducting traditional exercises and operations with NATO and other allies and partners in the region.”

Albion isn’t a stranger to defending against simulated air attacks. Back in September, French Rafale jets launched an assault against Royal Navy flagship HMS Albion as her task group passed the Brittany peninsula to allow French pilots to practise their anti-ship tactics and the Royal Navy to practice defending against air attack.

“Passing Brittany brought the group well within range of the Rafales, based at Landivisiau Naval Air Station near Brest when they’re not embarked as the striking power of France’s flagship, carrier FS Charles de Gaulle.

And lifting off from Lann-Bihoué air base on the outskirts of Lorient was an E-2 Hawkeye airborne early-warning and control aircraft, which spent a few hours looking for the naval group. When the Hawkeye’s crew located the shipping, they directed the Rafales in to make their attack runs, coming in with the sun at their backs – a classic fighter tactic. As the aircraft were detected, Albion’s Combined Operations Room burst into a flurry of controlled activity. Systems hummed and headsets buzzed as sailors responded to the growing threat.

In theory Dragon and her Sea Viper missiles should take out incoming jets – or any rockets they fire – at long range. Should that fail, the task group has numerous automated Phalanx Gatling guns which spew out a supposedly-impenetrable wall of lead up to around one kilometre from each ship, decoys and, as a last resort, hand-operated machine-guns and SA80 rifles. Both sides were able to test their attacking and defensive tactics and manoeuvres during the successive waves of raids.”

More than 1,000 sailors and Royal Marines are sailing in the Mediterranean aboard amphibious assault ship HMS Albion, destroyer HMS Dragon and amphibious support ship RFA Lyme Bay.

The Royal Navy say that while deployed the ships will test the new and experimental Littoral Response Group concept (which replaces the UK’s long-standing Amphibious Task Group) and shape the Future Commando Force and evolution of the Royal Marines into a hi-tech raiding and strike force.

You can read more about the deployment of HMS Albion and her task group here.

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Sean Crowley

Problem with being occasionally toasted is you can read things as literal ; had commenced panicking and was like trying to log on and “SELL SELL SELL” some shares but no indexes or indices were tabling under the chair matching what i was seeing as “Gulf War Four” . If such an occasion was to eventuate in this dour economic climate my financial advice would be Canned Food and Shotguns supplanted if you have the capital if not then leveraged an offset of a double bricked structure to store and defend said investments .

Pete

Not sure what your smoking but it mudt be good sh_t

TrevorH

You beat me to it.

Daveyb

Don’t forget the toilet rolls!

Ron

If you can find them!

Pete

On a more serious note. Given the risk of multiple airborne missile launches against task groups and the limited load out of AAM on the dd/ff vessels, coupled with an inability to rearm those vessels at sea, is there not a case for having a CAMM launch capability on the QE’s and Albions. I presume that these larger vessels would /could have the space and heavy lifting equipment onboard to facilitate a re load at sea if necessary. Assumption being such a task group would be operating a long way from a support base! I appreciate the QE CAMM concept… Read more »

Daveyb

Yes, I do believe it would be in the Fleet’s best interest to roll out more sets of Sea Ceptor to ships that would be a priority target in a conflict, i.e. amphibious support ships, tankers, solid stores and the two carriers. I think you hit the nail on the head with regards to the inability of missile replenishment at sea. Once the bunker is empty then what, does the task group immediately turn round and head for a friendly port? The problem is that the World knows that a pair of T45s will be escorting a carrier task group… Read more »

Steve

Comes down to cost. Maybe they should look at cheaper options than CAMM, something like starstreak. Ok unlikely to be hugely effective at sea but adds another layer of protection.

Steve

Alternatively look to see if the can deck mount land ceptor, should push come to shove.

Glass Half Full

Cooperative engagement capability in some form is surely coming to the RN, given AFAIK US, Canadian, Australian, French and Japanese navies all seem to be implementing it, and there may be others I have omitted. However, I don’t believe CEC enables a ship like T45 to take control of another ships weapons and actually it doesn’t need to. In a CEC environment every platform might have the ability to see a total fused sensor picture including what weapons are being targeted to which threats. Thus for example a T26 could see everything the T45 sees (as well as Crowsnest and… Read more »

Daveyb

I agree to a point, in today’s and the future threat environment the Navy must get CEC. I’m betting on the premise that the T26’s Mk41 will be fitted, but they’ll have next to nothing in them. I also agree that the T31 must have more than 12 SeaCeptor tubes. It’s enough to defend itself, but doesn’t help in a bigger scenario if its tasked with escort duties. After the engine recuperator debacle with the T45s, I don’t believe they will ever get their Mk41s as the budget has been blown. My thoughts for the supply ships are that they… Read more »

Glass Half Full

With CEC there will be no need to fit T45 with Mk41 since T26 will have the cells and for high end CSG and amphibious group escort roles both ships will be in theater. While some favour Sylver instead of Mk41 for T26, my take is that Mk41 gives the RN far greater flexibility and insurance/risk mitigation on future weapons. So while we may start with nothing for Mk41, I suspect that if we stick with Aster then that will be the first family of missiles qualified with FC/ASW to follow, SM-6 and perhaps even SM-3 are future options, along… Read more »

Daveyb

With the current financial climate and how poorly politicians see the military as an investment. I really don’t see the fleet expanding by much, if at all. But I do agree that an arsenal ship would be a very bad loss if it was sunk or damaged, which means the rest of the Fleet must increase its missile load if we don’t go down that route. So I’m guessing that the current number of first line ships will actually go down in the near future, as some of the T23s will forgo their Lifex and be pensioned off earlier to… Read more »

Glass Half Full

You might find the blog linked below of interest, modeling availability of T45, T26, T23, T31 and B1/B2 over the next ~20 years. I doubt we would let ASW frigate numbers fall as low as some of his out year estimates/modeling but it’s the best example I’ve seen for how it might play out. He includes a speculative 3x extra T31. My 8x extra T31 are supported by assuming no new dedicated MCMV platform. To clarify for anyone assuming this represents a reduction in MCM capability, I’d plan on 15-20 MCM mission module “teams” (perhaps 15x RN and 5x RNR)… Read more »

Daveyb

We as a country must always look to ourselves first and then if other Nations want to participate great. As a founding member of NATO we should not shirk our responsibilities, but then we shouldn’t ignore our other commitments either. I really don’t see how the military as a whole can manage its current commitments let alone any further ones. The carrier task group is essential to the UK if we are to remain a global player. It will return to us a global reach and act as a deterrent in its own right. However, it seems that Governments past… Read more »

Glass Half Full

I agree with most of that. I’d differ on the standard armaments aspect though, whether we’re talking T31, LPDs, RFA vessels or something else. We will always be able to come up with corner cases where a ship would benefit from more weaponry and capability because of a potential attack. However, if countries decide to attack vessels before a formal conflict starts, then pretty much anything will be vulnerable to surprise attack. That’s where the political and intelligence services assessments are key to determine and try to avoid those situations. Arming up ‘just in case’ makes the whole fleet much… Read more »

Gavin Gordon

Always a case for increased point defence, though it may not take centre stage until such time as the perceived risk level escalates sufficiently. In the meantime there ought to be contingencies in place to cover that eventuality, of course, some of which will be founded upon the data gained from these exercises. Certainly it’s a balancing act, but we must have faith and hope no 1982 suddenly confronts us! Another issue in the hands of Five Eyes, no doubt.
Regards

Steve

The Falklands should have been seen well ahead of time, but wasn’t due to a number of issues, from lack of investment in intel, people in charge being old school and not developed to world changes and general policitcial reluctance to committ military and upset the status quo. The next war will be the same, it won’t be seen coming and 5eyes won’t help us there. It’s the issue with the whole fitted for but not with mentality, and being able to fit them if things go bad, it just won’t work that way, as things don’t go bad in… Read more »

Steve

Its always going to be the problem, the pressure /risk will gradually grow and each small increment we will get comfortable about and miss the overall picture, especially so once policticans are involved.

Watcherzero

For all we know they could be planning a rollout of Dragonfire.

Gunbuster

RAS of VL missiles has always been problematic. If you don’t go into port the only other option is to raft up to an RFA and use their crane to conduct the reload in calm and sheltered water. CEC…Data links are nothing new and the picture from Air and sea assets can be passed throughout a fleet. One vessel can provide the picture for everyone if needed with those units sitting there silent and not transmitting.You can if you so wish shoot at a link track. With the RN now using only active AA missiles things are a lot better… Read more »

DaveyB

Probably a silly question having looked at the crane they used for replenishing MK41 tubes. But why don’t they use a hydraulically operated clamp to grip the missile insert rather than a single point lift from a lifting eye?

Ron

When I am thinking about theType 45 I keep asking a question, how can we get more for anti air with limited cost. Yes we could install either 16 VLS launcher of Mk 41 or A-70s, but that does not mean a better anti air capability. Or we could instal a further 16 A-50s giving 64 tubes. Or we could do something completly diffrent, fit two data links have 32 ASTER 30s, 8 ASTERS 15s and 24 Sea Ceptors. Now you have 64 missiles for a limited investment, better yet 32 Aster 30s with 48 Sea Ceptors. I have faught… Read more »

Daveyb

The Sampson is already a very frequency agile radar. It has a fair degree of low probability of intercept due to the narrow beam width, very fast sweep rates, frequency hopping and wide operating bandwidth. It could be further improved by replacing the Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) based components (transistors, amps etc) with Gallium Nitride. This would have a number of benefits. The first is that it will significantly drop the background noise floor, therefore the induced noise would be at least an order lower than the GaAs ones. This means the receivers sensitivity would be enhanced, thereby allowing the radar… Read more »

Ron

I agree with everything you have said however SAMPSON is not built to what it was designed for. The original design was for a four plane array and several frequencies. I know as I said in my other post I am a comms engineer and will not or cannot say about everything I did. Makes a CV a headache. Anyway, back to SAMPSON, it is one if not the most capabile radar for what it does, even AEGIS would look second rate. Yet it is a cut down version of what it is originaly designed for. Also what most people… Read more »

Daveyb

Ron, that’s an interesting insight to Sampson. It would have been a signal processing nightmare back in the 90’s when it was being developed. Today, with the advancement of processing power, it should be totally doable. I don’t think the four arrays would have been operating on four different frequencies individually more likely using a combination of frequencies. It would still need to use the low wavelength bands for large volume and long range searches, whilst the shorter wavelength bands would be used for target tracking and identification. Something similar to the SPY-6 radar, where it combines a S band… Read more »