RFA Argus and HMS Medway are in the region to support British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean during hurricane season and to carry out counter-narcotics operations, say the Royal Navy.

“The two ships met up in the seas near the Cayman Islands ahead of HMS Medway going on demanding exercise to practise getting humanitarian relief to island communities in the wake of a natural disaster. Troops were transferred over to Offshore Patrol Vessel Medway from support ship/helicopter carrier Argus, making sure the two ships can work seamlessly if a natural disaster were to strike.”

It is also understood that the UK Task Group includes a number of other military units that are working together ready to respond to any need as it arises.


HMS Medway provides a permanent presence in the Caribbean to support British Overseas Territories as part of the Royal Navy’s Forward Presence programme, basing ships in regions key to the UK’s security and prosperity around the globe for several years at a time. The vessels crew rotates in and out of the region while the vessel stays put.

Argus has been in the region since early April to provide additional support, say the Royal Navy.

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Levi Goldsteinberg

Hopefully this is the MoD waving a big flashy sign up to the Treasury that Argus NEEDS replacing, not just scrapping


Whilst I agree that Argus needs replacing I suspect that the Treasury is NEEDS blind!

This type of flexible design are hugely useful in a wide range of scenarios and can earn the UK considerable influence around the world. What many fail to understand is that friendships have to be worked at if they are to survive the march of time – so more flexible RFA’s would be a huge asset for a Global Britian post Brexit.


Agreed, not really any more to add!

Gavin Gordon

Three Merlins, a Wildcat (supported by 1700 NAS), plus 24 & 47 Commando according to Navy News.


Recently Argus has been filling in as a helicopter carrier due to the loss of HMS Ocean


A role that Argus was commissioned to undertake. I suspect though she will be cut as soon as the QE’s are fully functional.


She was partially rebuilt as a helicopter training vessel for the Invincible class, but was then designated a casualty reception vessel, but started to fall into disrepair with a number of aviation items no longer working. After a refit she’s back as she should be, acting as a makeshift helicopter carrier in recent exercises. Once she’s gone, we’ll be in trouble In that area.


Good to see 2 ship on task at Caribbean ocean. I guess, – 1 River B2 in winter (~40 crew) – 1 River B2 (~40 crew) and 1 RFA in summer (100+ crew) has less (or not much different) “operational burden” than – 1 RFA tanker in winter (100+ crew) – 1 RFA LSD in summer (100+ crew) By the way, the River B1 deployment was not that successful, as I remember. She (Severn?) did many good-will visits, but not much on other tasks (just a rumor though). Anyway, based on her experience, the River B2 deployment must have been… Read more »


Call me cynical but a RFA and a very lightly armed OPV hardly constitutes a ‘Task Group’….


This one too.

comment image


Wow three carriers in line! That was probably in the Med on their way to Suez? From Victorious, Eagle, Ark Royal, Hermes, Bulwark or Albion? I saw Bulwark in Durban in the late 60’s. The town was full of sailors, daughters were locked up, and the Lady in White Pearla Siedle Gibson sand to them from the North Pier as they arrived!!


SANG to them..

Tony Smith

Leading is HMS Victorious with the fully angled flight deck.


Thanks Tony. Those were the days!


Victorious, Hermes, and Centaur in the Med. Haze Grey and UNDERWAY.



Just took a close look at the photo, I think the caption is wrong. The third carrier seems to be angled and Centaur never had that mod. So it probably is A or B.



OK! Wrong again (I’m batting 100 here), She DID have it added later. 5.5 angled deck so I guess I’M wrong. 😀

4th watch

I reckon its Victorious, Eagle, Hermes. If you look at the drum radar on rear ship it has to be Hermes.


Hi Helions-thanks for the(extensive) research :):)


Ya mean for “the extensive confusion”????! 😀


Thanks Helions. I didn’t know Centaur had lasted that long-thought she went out of service in the 50’s! Cheers


That upper one was Gambia and Hermes but not so good.


Yes, slight over egging there!! While ARGUS should be replaced, ecomically we are looking at the worst crisis since the early 30’s, and we haven’t begun to face the fallout from Brexit. Boris has made a lot of promises which he will need to make good on. It all costs money of course and whatever we feel about it cuts must be made. The F35 program must take the brunt of any cuts. Not the Navy, not the army which is now virtually a SDF. We don’t need 138 F35’s ‘over the life of the program’. 90 seems perfectly sufficient… Read more »

shaun mallett

It does in England.


Depends what you are using the task group for…
For HADR and anti piracy it’s a decent one.


Well thought through package – Argus stores, hospital, Merlin vertrep, evacuation, Wildcat reconaissance. Medway as tender for jetty offload, medical, rhibs.


Argus is a fine looking ship with a commanding presence. The batch 2 OPV’s are also nice looking ships, a big improvement over the Batch 1’s in every respect. As a matter of interest, what was the purpose of the sharply angled cut-off line on the bow sides of the Batch one’s? An unusual look that one would presume had functionality-can any of yous Naval types explain? Even if it did have functionality it could not have been all that important as radically changed on the Batch 2 giving a much better looking vessel

Rob Collinson

I think the Batch 2s are a great utility ship, not insignificant in size and are inline with the streamlined manning levels in the leaner RN. We all know that they were only built to keep BAE’s yards open due to the glacially slow progress of the T26 and then T26&T31 mixed offering. We also know that they lack any realistic offensive capability and are so poorer for not having even a collapsible hanger, meaning no ability to have a native vertical offering. However, they are great constabulary vessels manned by excellently trained officers and crew. Intelligent rotating of crews… Read more »


They could be so much better though and at relatively little cost.


It would be interesting to know if the MOD have a plan for that, although we will never know. Its possible that they have on paper a plan for up-arming them if needed in a war situation, as some bolt on weapons could in theory make them way more fighty. After all it happened in the Falklands, we just don’t know if it was a panicked decision raced through or part of a more organised pre-defined plan.


I would like to think that if the “cack hit the fan”, there is a plan of up-armouring the Batch 2s. The problem is, the Fleet’s inventory is pretty thin. The obvious quick and cheap option would be the Martlet add-on to the DS30 mount. It’s not ’til the 40 and 57 guns and Seas Venom comes in service where more options can be added to the Batch 2s. The Fleet has also trialled the Schiebel S100 UAV. Which I personally think would be a massive boost to the ship’s capabilities, especially as an ISO can be quickly installed to… Read more »

Rob Collinson

I totally agree that the Schiebel S100 is an excellent option for the RN to purchase a significant number of to work on the Rivers & T31. They will help significantly with constabulary duties. It is deployable from a cargo container. Run should also continue its innovation of its use of UAV, USV & MAS resources. We need to invest to do more with less but much more technical and autonomous. The QE class have shown our US colleagues that you do not need many thousands of crew to run a carrier. Excellent use of autonomous and automated weapons and… Read more »


We have multiple uk based military manufacturers and even more available via allies, in theory we could rush buy items should it be needed. I am sure BAe have multiple options we could buy, assuming the US allows them to build.

There are also loads of prototypes available from MBDA designed around brimestone.


I agree, but I was trying to keep the Visa bill down. If the items are GFE, it would be far quicker, easier and cheaper to fit. The HTMS Krabi rather than the Brazilian Amazonas shows what can be done with a River. For us I’d like to think we would do something similar. Such as, replace the forward DS30 with a 57 or 76 mount. Place a DS30 either side of the bridge. Add the Martlet/Starstreak modification to the DS30 mount and include a pack of a containerized Brimestone or Sea Venom This would put the Batch 2s in… Read more »

Andy P

I don’t get the fascination with sticking more bangsticks on these things. In principle I’m not against them being better armed but at the moment we have nothing between 30mil and a 4.5. It would be costly to introduce a brand new weapon system (76 mil seems to be popular) for a vessel that isn’t really designed as a warship. Its just a hoofing big OPV. Just because other countries are using them as warships with a better armament doesn’t mean we should. The UK is building the type 31’s and if they are going to have the Bofors 57mil… Read more »


They have not been build as non-war ships either, money was put into making them more defensive such as armoured ammo storage etc, stuff that isn’t needed for policing roles.


Possibly so they can re-arm a Wildcat or Merlin.

Andy P

If its got ammunition storage, you’d like to think it was protected. Personally that logic doesn’t mean it should be used as a warship, at least for me. Its got a helo pad too, it doesn’t make it an ASW vessel.


Can’t really compare the crew numbers between the 2 carriers though as the US carriers have significantly more jets on board and corresponding air crews etc, plus have full set of their own defensive weapons which require crew and no nuclear power plant.


Probably one for the naval architects. My guess is it gives optimum sea keeping qualities in local waters at the cruising speed for the 80m hull length.