Support ship RFA Cardigan Bay is back in UK waters after completing her lengthy Gulf mission.
According to the Royal Navy:
“The ship proved crucial to mine warfare operations in the Middle East – not just by the Royal Navy’s four minehunters in the region, but by US counterparts based in Bahrain and international dive teams.
Although built to provide support for amphibious landings by the Royal Marines, the ship has proved equally adept as a ‘mother ship’ to minehunters – providing food, fuel, water, ammunition, and accommodation and acting as their floating headquarters, with a mine warfare battle staff aboard choreographing the ships’ actions.
At times she’s also served as a launchpad for ScanEagle eye-in-the-sky drones monitoring suspicious activity, and, with the addition of a temporary hangar on her flight deck, new Wildcat helicopters getting used to operating in the demanding Gulf climate.”
Captain Chris Clarke RFA, Commanding Officer RFA Cardigan Bay said:
“Fifty months deployed is an impressive statistic – more so because the ship has not missed one operational commitment or task in all that time.”
The Bay class is a ship class of four dock landing ships built for the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary during the 2000s. They are based on the Dutch-Spanish Royal Schelde Enforcer design and intended as a replacement for the Round Table-class logistics ships.
Two ships each were ordered from Swan Hunter and BAE Systems Naval Ships. Construction work started in 2002, but saw major delays and cost overruns, particularly at Swan Hunter’s shipyard. In mid-2006, Swan Hunter was stripped of work, and the incomplete second ship was towed to BAE’s shipyard for completion. All four ships, Largs Bay, Lyme Bay, Mounts Bay, and Cardigan Bay had entered service by 2007.
In 2010, Largs Bay was removed from service as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review. She was sold to the Royal Australian Navy.