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The planned decommissioning of the Royal Navy’s helicopter carrier HMS Ocean in 2018 without replacement is a nonsensical step and puts accountancy and politics above our nation’s security and our national interests.

Article by Oliver B. Steward, a Doctoral Candidate in International Security at the University of East Anglia. This article is the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the UK Defence Journal.

It will leave a hole in our amphibious warfare and carrier based capabilities of our Royal Navy which will limit our operational range and effectiveness.

For a maritime nation is makes perfect sense that we invest and maintain our current force levels, if not to supplement it with newer ships, while refitting older ones. It is vital that our national and military interests are served by having amphibious warfare capability to enable the UK to launch far ranging geographical operations overseas.

Historically during 2014, HMS Ocean underwent a £65 million refit. The Defence Minister at the time Philip Dunne said

“I am delighted that this contract will not only ensure that HMS Ocean remains a significant, highly flexible and capable warship for years to come.”

Sadly this has become a testament to the all well known fact that rhetoric by many politicians do not match with practice.

While the MOD report it would maintain a “significant amphibious capability” including the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers – but even those large ships will not fully enter service until 2020 leaving a capability deficit (this means they will not have functional fighting aircraft and will not be on active deployment until that time).

It is worth noting that HMS Ocean as a ship has served our nation in an exemplary fashion, and all the crews that served on her. Her actions include those in Kosovan crisis, to the 2003 Iraq War, providing logistical and tactical support for the London 2012 Olympics as well as participating with NATO exercises in the Mediterranean.

My hope is that we will witness a reversal of this decision in the context of growing international security challenged and the government looks into possibility refitting this ship to assume a more multirole function with the possibility of accommodating F35 planes. This will enable this carrier to be kept it in service until the 2020s and beyond.

The Queen Elizabeth class ships are a tremendous asset to our Royal Navy, but I sincerely believe that the evidence points to a continued carrier capability during the building and testing of the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

If a conflict breaks out in 2018, the UK will not have a current carrier with training adequate to deploy aircraft to a conflict zone.  HMS Ocean should be kept operational for at least the interim if not the long term period.

116 COMMENTS

  1. ‘The planned decommissioning of the Royal Navy’s helicopter carrier HMS Ocean in 2018 without replacement is a nonsensical step and puts accountancy and politics above our nation’s security and our national interests’ –

    that’s the standard tory approach to defence and security, illustrated time after time over the decades.

    • Maybe, but it’s usually because a Tory government is elected after a Labour one has succeeded in bankrupting the country once again, leaving the Tories to make the tough, painful decisions on how the Labour mess is going to be paid for.

      • Hi Mac, can you tell everyone the connection between Labour and the Lehman Brothers Collapse in 2008 that caused the global financial crisis, cheers.

        Also could you explain why our debt is about to hit 1.9 trillion, and why it has risen more in the last 7 years than the previous 70, cheers.

        • Eh, Gordon Brown and his vain glorious claim that he had cured the ‘boom and bust’ economic cycle. That resulted in the UK going into the down turn with the biggest structural deficit in the developed world. Hence the retrenchment that needed to occur after his political demise.

          • The deficite has fluctuated since the Second World War, it was 5% of GDP in the 90’s, we had a surplus of 2% in 2001, went back into a deficite during Iraq war and then slowly declined to 0.6% before the crash.

            David Cameron and most Tory MP’s voted with labour in deregulating the banks.

            People really need to find out for themselves what happened in the 2008 crash and what our economy was doing in the years leading up to it instead of believing sound bites from Tory MPs trying to keep their jobs blaming everything on Labour.

        • The debt rise was caused by the deficit. The huge deficit was created by Labour – partly through totally inept management of national finances, and partly as a matter of policy. The surplus in the early 2000s was because Labour followed the Conservatives’ economic policies for their first term (see Brown’s speeches if you doibt that); they started ‘The Big Spend ‘in their second term so as to buy votes and future election victories from their new client state.

          Every time the Conservatives tried to cut the deficit, and therefore slow, then reverse, the rise in the debt, idiot Labour cheerleaders like you screamed and stamped your feet.

          The fact that people like you focus on the debt being more important than the deficit proves how little you know and how little you understand. You really should learn more.

          The Conservatives could have relied on our gold reserves, but Gordon Brown sold most of our yellow stuff at the bottom of the market, bartly to bail out those friends of the socialist revolution Goldman Sachs and partly because he didn’t think it had any use for governments any more. Ignorant, economically-illiterate fool that he was and proved to be.

          Oh and guess what else has massively contributed to our shoddy finances? Gordon Brown handing hundreds and hundreds of billions over to the big banks, and printing hundreds more as part of the policy of quantitative easing, which has massively inflated asset values and transferred a massive amount of wealth from savers, the young, and the poor to debtors, the older, and the richer.

          As Labour’s last Chief Secretary joked: sorry, there’s no money left!

          • Why do people still believe this? Haven’t they looked at the evidence?

            Yes, Gordon Brown could perhaps have managed public sector spending better. Yes, some of Labour’s success in running a public sector surplus can be attributed to Ken Clarke’s policies. However, blaming the deficit entirely on Labour’s economic policies is simply inaccurate.

            Leaving aside the financial crisis, Labour’s record on the deficit is significantly better than the Tories’. From WWII to about 1970 governments generally ran fairly balanced budgets. In the second half of the 1970s, in a time of economic crisis, governments started running deficits. When Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979 she continued to run deficits even when the economy was growing – if the deficit can be traced back to any one government it would be the Tory administration of 1979-1990. From 1997 to about 2002 Labour had an excellent record on deficit control, from 2002 to 2007 they ran deficits on a par with, or perhaps slightly better than, the Conservative governments of the 1980s and significantly better than in John Major’s second term. In 2008 everything fell apart but this was mostly unrelated to Labour’s economic policies. They can be criticised for deregulating the banking sector but that was something that had been started and supported by the Conservative party. In fact the Tories were pushing for even more deregulation/self-regulation, so it’s reasonable to suggest that had the Conservatives been in power the banking crisis and subsequent fiscal crisis would have been worse, not better.

            Therefore, to blame the debt, the deficit, the financial crisis and the ongoing stagnation on the Labour party requires advanced economic myopia and ignorance on a frankly heroic scale. People have a duty to educate themselves on this.

            Data used to compile this argument can be found here: http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN05745/SN05745.pdf and here: https://www.ifs.org.uk/tools_and_resources/public_finances. Another interesting take on this can be found here: http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2016/03/13/the-conservatives-have-been-the-biggest-borrowers-over-the-last-70-years/

            To get back to the original topic: Retaining or replacing HMS Ocean would be desirable if possible but with Albion and Bulwark, the three Bay-class ships and the two new aircraft carriers the capability gap will be small and only exist under very specific conditions. Ocean is allegedly in poor condition so it makes sense to dispose of her so manpower and resources and be better utilised on other ships. As to operating F-35s from the Ocean, that would be both unlikely and probably very expensive considering the upgrades that would need to be undertaken. The current route may be disappointing but is probably the most sensible plan given the circumstances.

          • Most amusing Lockie. Labour can’t be responsible for the current deficit because 40 years ago they did blah blah blah. The last Labour government followed the Conservatives’ economic policies for their first term. Hence, in their second term, they benefited from a strong economy partly due to Tory policy (and partly due to the Fed inflating a massive bubble post 11 September 2001 – but I digress).

            Also, as any fool knows, government economic policies take years to take full effect. You don’t look at economic performance during the exact years of a particular government to prove their effect, you look at a period starting at least 3 or 4 years later than that. In crude terms, the first few years of the 79-97 government were an economic clusterfuck because of Labour and the need to unravel their disastrous policies. The first few years of the 97-10 government were a great success because of the Conservatives and their excellent policies.

            You carp and lecture about facts, but all you have is a search engine and zero understanding of what they mean. I’m guessing you went to uni, since in m experience that’s all students do these days. Stop googling and start learning.

            Again:

            – Debt is generated by the deficit.
            – The deficit was created by Labour.
            – Labour opposed deficit reduction, which had to be abandoned in the most part.
            – So the government had to increase borrowing to bridge the funding gap.
            – Hence debt rose even faster.
            – D’oh!

            Hope this helps.

          • I did go to university, and I studied economics there. I find it slightly odd you think that makes my opinion less, rather than more, valid. I don’t know you so I could be completely wrong, but based on your comments I think I’ve got much better knowledge and understanding of this than you do.

            We clearly disagree about this. The difference is that I’ve basing my opinions on evidence; you’re basing yours on your evident dislike of the Labour party. Stating that the deficit was created by Labour is simply not a view supported by the statistics and pasting it at the bottom of every post won’t change that. Did Labour manage the deficit as well as the could? No. Am I a fan on Ken Clarke? Yes. Does that mean we should blame the entirety of the deficit on Labour? Of course not. Saying it takes several years for economic policies to take effect is not unreasonable but you seem to want to blame everything the Tories did to the deficit on the Callaghan government – even once they’d been in power for nearly two decades! That is not a rational or logical argument.

  2. Mac point scoring over labour is easy as you just did but the Tories can no longer be trusted to remedy the problems iwith any coherent plan and that goes for defence, policing, healthcare and prisons to name just 4 topic areas. Running government policy like you would a supermarket with accountants in charge has been proven to be folly with many of the cuts now being reversed. By the way I reluctantly voted Tory to keep the other idiot out.

    • Yes me too, first time ever but let’s be honest on the subject of defence niether party has any sort of record to boast about over the decades. Labour in the 60s makes me shiver to remember the indecision and waste.

      • Labour in the 1960s was making actual decisions, unlike the 1951-64 Tories who destroyed Britain’s aircraft industry and weakened military readiness. As Sir George Edwards pointed out himself, it’s “difficult to quarrel with Healey and Jenkins” (defence secretary and chancellor at the time) because the Tories would not make decisions; it was all-change with each new minister. The 1960s Labour government got the UK the Tornado, the Invincible Class and the Type 42.

    • Tripe, as ever. Seen the increase in the national debt under the tories, as ‘austerity’ drove a recovering economy down. Don’t give me that rubbish about ‘Labour bankrupting the economy’, ‘maxing out the national credit card’, and ‘we’d be like Greece’ that the tories used to justify their ‘austerity’ madness, based on their shrink the state ideology. It was a banking crisis caused by deregulation that the tories voted for, and said hadn’t gone far enough.

      • HF – Well good luck with a bank if you ever need a bhusiness loan. You seem to not have the faintest idea about debt, deficits let alone borrowing. I have written a deatiled response to your mate Kieren’s nonsense which tripped the same soundbites you just did. Whether you like it of not Labour was in power for 13 years. For 3 of those they had an annual SURPLUS. (Because Brown followed Tory spending plans). They then went on a spending spree and blew the SURPLUS into an annual DEFICIT. which then apart from paying down our DEBT added to it with additional BORROWING. At the same time the split bank regulation into 3 areas instead of the earlier one. The rest is history because a) they had reduced the country’s ability to borrow, b) they had not put cash away from the Surplus years for that impending ‘rainy day’ as they should have done and c) flogging half our gold reserves at eBay prices didn’t help either. from £10 Bn Surplus to £150 Bn gross deficit in 9 years. Outstanding!

        The simple law of responsibility is that the buck stops at the Government in power. Stop blaming an Opposition that had NO power to do anything.

        • So Labour only and three years out of thirteen running a surplus (some sources say four, it depends on exactly which statistics you use – 2002 either comes out as balanced or a small surplus). The Conservatives had run the country for the previous eighteen years, would you care to tell us how many years they ran a surplus during that period? We can’t really reach a proper conclusion without knowing that.

          • Lockhart – there you go again referring backwards to what the Tory Government did a decade before while it was managing its Labour inheritance. When Labour took Office in 1997 the annual budget was about ‘in balance’. By adhering to the Tory spending plans the economy created a surplus. That is the factual relevance. A Tory Government handed over an economy in very good shape. So good Labour promised to copy the fiscal policy!

            Roll forward 10 years and the abandonment of Tory policy and the replacement with ‘Brownenomics’ Labour hands over one of the biggest annual deficits ever seen. That cannot be wiped out in a year can it? Well as a student of economics you will clearly know that removing over £100 Bn from the public spending that causes deficits / surpluses would have destroyed the country, put millions out of work and actually created a bigger economic problem. And you Lefties somehow find it ‘really clever’ to criticise the Coalition and then the Tory Government for ‘only reducing the deficit by 75%’. Forgetting how they massively increased the country’s GDP, employment and investment. We wnet from basket case to the fastest growing economy in a few years. Which nails the Labour lie about ‘Austerity killed growth’ does it not?

            Its all a bit bit bloody rich to be honest. Especially as your new Messiah Corbyn was actually promising to borrow some £100 Bn a year MORE in the recent Election (although given Labour’s daft economics that would probably have been £250 Bn). I am sure Diane Abbott will explain it to you. Ask her.

            So less histrionics and buck passing and own up to the single undeniable fact of life. Labour taxes and spends and damages the UK economy and the Tories always have to repair the damage. Night follows day.

          • You seem to have looked at a long-running deficit situation, picked a moment about midway and blamed the people who started managing it then. What happened to all the debt the Conservative governments accrued between 1979 and 1997? Did it just disappear? You seem to think that just because the deficit was rather low in 1997 the Tories should be absolved of all blame despite the evidence that they’d been running deficits far higher than anything Labour did pre-crash. Ken Clarke did a good job on the deficit. Ken Clarke is not all Tories; not all Tories are Ken Clarke. There is no evidence to support the idea that the Conservatives are better at deficit management than Labour, unless you restrict your window to a two-three year period at the fag end of an eighteen year run in government and then also ignore the first five or so years of the next Government, but then if you’re going to be that selective with the data you could use it to support almost anything.

            There are two causes of the debt: One is the financial crisis which is an external shock and unrelated to the fiscal policies of the government. The other is the long-running deficit, which all governments of the past forty (or more) years share responsibility for – although Gordon Brown is less culpable than most.

            This matters because if people start believing that the deficit is purely a party political issue, then a bunch of neo-Thatcherites will come to power and start cutting taxes and running up debt again. By all means criticise the Labour government for running a deficit, but you can’t pretend that the Conservatives are entirely blameless in this matter, or that a Conservative government wouldn’t have found itself in a similar (or worse) situation. Your “single undeniable fact of life” is nothing of the sort; at best it is a distortion of History and at worse simply a fairy tale.

      • HF, i’m sorry but you simply must be a troll. Noone can be so dumb as to believe the crap that you are spouting.

      • See above, HF.

        – Debt is generated by the deficit.
        – The deficit was created by Labour.
        – Labour opposed deficit reduction, which had to be abandoned in the most part.
        – So the government had to increase borrowing to bridge the gap.
        – Hence debt rose.
        – D’oh!

        Hope this helps.

      • Yes all down to labour selling all our gold off on the cheap just before gold prices hit record levels and the interest a!one on the last labour government Dept’s runs in to billions each year that’s why Dept’s go up ask the man who created all the Dept’s Mr Brown you have a very sort memory remember the Note brown left no money left we have successfully bankrupt the UK again its all part of labour DNA Dept’s

        • Labour bankrupted the country and Thatch had to repair the damage. Blair and Brown did the same through unsustainable spending. And the Tories had to repair it again. Sooner or later, Labour will return to power, tax and spend again, undermine the armed forces, destroy the economy. And the whole cycle repeats.

          As a serving member of HM Forces, things are always better under the Tories

          • The 1958 White Paper, which probably did more damage to British defense and the British aviation industry than any other single act of government was of course a Conservative Government’s. The disastrous 1980 defense white paper which would have seen the sale of Hermes and Illustrious and signalled the withdrawal of the Ice Patrol ship from the South Atlantic, was of course a contributing factor to encouraging Galtieri to gamble on the Falkland’s invasion. The 2010 white paper saw the willful destruction of the finally about to enter service Nimrod MR4 and the sale of the Harrier GR9’s for peanuts to the Americans. Now there is nothing to fly from our stupid aircraft carriers and we are having to spend billions more to buy US replacements for the MR4s having realized that maybe there is a need for long range antisubmarine missions. Labour governments have made their mistakes with UK defense, the stupid aircraft carriers in particular, but never in the league of the treasons of successive Conservative governments.

  3. Politics aside I agree with the author, HMS Ocean has been discussed on another thread, even when the QE class comes in, Ocean is still needed for proper amphibious assault. She cost peanuts £283m according to Wikipedia, if we could replace her, bulwark and Albion with a new class of 3 ships all helicopter assault for £250-£300m then the money should be found.

    The Royal Marines are our best fighting force, they’re a small highly trained brigade and they should be coming off LPH’s with apaches and F35’s on the decks for CAS.

    • So maybe acquiring a Mistral or Canberra class might be the way forward? By all accounts, Ocean is falling apart at the seams

      • Think Canberra would be a bad idea – heard they were tied up dockside because of very major design flaws

        Ocean is indeed falling apart. It is beyond it’s use-by-date by quite some way at this point. A replacement is needed.

        • I seem to remember that Ocean was purposefully built to Merchant Marine standards rather than the Naval standards to which the superficially similar Illustrious class were built.
          But let’s be honest, has any military action of the last 20 years improved the security of the British Isles? Most have been to expand US political influence at a serious cost to the security of the British Isles. Furthermore they have considerably enriched the US economy to the serious detriment of the British one. We in the process of spending tens of billions of hard earned foreign currency on US military toys, whilst systematically robbing our own industrial economy of capability.

  4. I’m sorry Mac but I cannot agree. Both parties make major mistakes but Labour has, historically, been better at launching defence projects that the country requires. The cost of the new carriers increased, mostly, due to Tory dithering (cats, sell to the French etc.). It is immaterial – both parties need to grow up and do proper thinking. Turning defence into a party political game is couner-productive.

  5. John west are you having a laugh !!! Corbyn hates our armed forces he would stop all spending on defence full stop!! He’s totally disrespectful to the armed forces twice refused to attend armed forces day instead went to a CND anti war hippy concert the other time went on holiday ..The last labour government sent our troops to war in the gulf with no armed troop carriers ..Now corbyn wants them locked up for war crimes ..

      • Harry Leslie Smith? A man who puts his name to articles written by staff at Icon Books. As a Labour supporting journalist said a while ago:

        “I’ve met real Harry. He, understandably at 93, uses magnifying glass to read. This one can rattle out tweets every 30 seconds.”

        Tweets that are typed out as fast as a 20 year old graduate from a Secretary’s college, with no errors. Sue, that’s Harry.

        Other journalists have also said they have no doubt the articles and tweets “written” by HLS are clearly written by someone else. Nick Cohen for one.

    • ‘Armed Forces Day’ is a filthy importation of a jingoistic US celebration. We properly commemorate our’s and other nation’s young and old in war on November 11th. No other commemoration is needed nor wanted by any truely patriotic British person. Good for Corbyn for standing for true British values against quislings who to seek to serve foreign masters and dress it up in false flags.
      Standing silent to reflect on the terrible losses of war with representatives of all who shared in that loss, is the only valid commemoration we need.

  6. Corbyn would lock all our troops up for war crimes .. He is still banging on about bring members of the SAS before the courts for war crimes ..

  7. I and many others have said and continue to say that with a National Ship Building Strategy we would have had a plan and timescale for a HMS Ocean replacement.

    In my opinion the second carrier (HMS Prince Of Wales) should not have been built. We should have built HMS Queen Elizabeth with two new helicopter carriers (similar to the Mistral) and then decommission HMS Ocean, HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion. There would then be no loss in capability using HMS Queen Elizabeth and two new helicopter carriers.

    After various discussions in these forums a better idea was proposed, but I’ll let them mention it should they choose to.

    • That’s interesting, that could of worked because with 2 LPH’s as well as a carrier we would have a constant carrier capability, if the LPH’s could fly the F 35b.

      Would be good to hear the better idea also whoever came up with it 👍

    • Surely Albion and Bulwark can put armoured heavy equipment and numbers of equipped troops ashore that no helicopter carrier can. If we wish to maintain a capacity for military intervention, that capability to put a small but properly balanced force ashore has to be maintained, or we might as well wind up the Royal Marines, flog off the aircraft carriers to a growing global economic power like India and accept that, like other former Imperial powers such as the Netherlands or Sweden, we should concentrate on our immediate territorial defense needs. It would have been far more sensible given the stated object to maintain an out of area intervention force to have built three Intermediate size assault ships akin to those of the US marines than two big shiny aircraft carriers but the decisions were made by politicians and senior service staff born and educated in an era of romantic post imperial mythmaking, rather than the hard realism of those who knew the realities and hash limitations of that era.

  8. Kieren – Please don’t insult our intelligence with this Leftie nonsense about what is causing our debt to rise. As I have pointed to you many times on here we add to our National DEBT by increasing BORROWING which is driven by a DEFICIT. The amount being borrowed each year has been reduced from 9.9% of GDP when the coalition government took power in 2010 to 2.6% of GDP in 2016 under the Tories. In other words the ‘rate of addition’ is 75% LESS per Annum. Debt is therefore still increasing but by a substantially less amount than what they had to deal with in 2010.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39897498

    You Lefties scream ‘Austerity’ at every move to balance the books but unless you get spending below income YOU ADD TO THE BORROWING = MORE DEBT! So here you seem to be now saying ‘You Tories failed to get our Labour created deficit down!’ Outstanding! If you think 7 years of gradual deficit reduction by 75% is ‘austere’ what would you call taking £100 Bn out of the economy in ONE year? See this is the utter incompetence of anyone on the Left. As witness Diane Abbott’s explanations and mathematics. And Corbyn was happily offering to increase our annual deficit by over £100 Bn in the last Election. You really could not make it up!!

    Now you throw the ‘debt’ word about totally out of context and some rather vague numbers and a totally pointless number of years with no supporting evidence or inflation adjustment to somehow score a counter point to Mac’s excellent point about Tories having to clean up after Labour. But the truth is it has been that way since WWII. Every time.

    In ‘UK Current Budget Deficit’ terms (please note the term) in 2005 was less that £20 billion. The budget deficit skyrocketed to £103 billion in 2010. In the subsequent recovery the deficit has slowly declined, reaching £15 billion in 2017. I doubt you understand the difference but those are the numbers. So this terrible Tory Government has reduced the amount we add to our debt to a figure below that of Blair and Brown in 2005. But you were not shouting them down then were you? Hypocrite!

    http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/uk_national_deficit_analysis

      • Kieren – Oh look he uses a trigger phrase in a two line response to a 27 line detailed analysis with two supporting independent sources! How really really clever. And not ONE factual rebuttal can be found. And yes I read Lockhart’s excellent posts. He actually makes the point better than you ever would Old Son but he is still fundamentally wrong even if he presents well. He tries to build a reasoned argument on a failed premise: Labour is fiscally responsible. And fails

        So I just destroyed his further arguments …

        Enjoy the read.

        • Just so everyone is clear do you still think Theresa May won a landslide General election? and 55 more seats out of 650 is 22%?

          Priceless.

          You cannot fathom the fact that it was the global financial crisis that caused the huge deficit. I said fake news because you conveniently forget to mention that the deficit reduced from 5% to 0.6% of GDP going into 2008.

          You cherry pick statistics to suit your narrative, you’re the definition of fake news.

          • Kieren – When you have to totally misrepresent what people have said elsewhere with no link so people can check shows the depth of your nonsense. And given its you using the ‘Fake News’ trigger words that is a bit bloody rich! What I actually said was:
            Theresa May won 22% MORE SEATS THAN LABOUR. Not as you try to mislead ‘22% OF THE AVAILABLE SEATS”. Prat!

            Which she did. And given that margin yes it was a landslide victory over Labour the second largest party. Who barely managed 4 more seats than that illustrious economic guru Gordon Brown managed in 2010! A nett gain of 4 seats in 7 years Kieren. Out Bloody Standing!

            So stop your lies Kieren. I know its what you Corbynistas do with your ‘Bedroom Tax’ and ‘Dementia Tax’ and all the other little soundbites. Labour screwed the UK economy over the last ten years of its time in office. FACTS Kieren. FACTS

            Any more lies we can help you with?

        • Chris it’s just another example of you cherry picking to suit your narrative.

          You leave out everything you can’t answer because you don’t have an answer.

          You can’t explain why the deficit was reducing before the financial crash.

          You blame the global financial crisis on Labour because that’s what you wanted to have happened. In fact you do worse than that, to you and other people with Tory tinted spectacles on the financial crash never happened, you never talk about it or explain it, neither do Tory MP’s, because then it will blow your propaganda about labour ruining the economy. I bet you don’t know the first thing about the crash.

          You keep mentioning Gordon Browns 2010 election as the barometer for Jeremy Corbyn, conveniently leaving out the 2015 election because it suits your narrative more. Do you think we don’t see this.

          You’re a classic example of a stubborn elderly man who will not see anyone else’s point of view or even entertain the thought of someone having a different opinion than you.

          You have the ebsolute brass neck to be the only person I have come across on the internet and in person to say that the election was a landslide, it was a hung parliament!! Even the most ardent tories on tv admit it was close, more than that it was a disaster for the tories because they lost seats and were such a position of power.

          What’s even more funny is if you would of watched any of the daily politics after the election, every single Tory commentator openly admitted if there was a general election right now Jeremy Corbyn would win.

          I’m not going to reel off a load of statistics because I don’t have to, not only that I don’t want to, I don’t have to because no matter what you or anyone else says I will still vote for Jeremy Corbyn at the next election, like the overwhelming majority of my age bracket will do again, and the age bracket below, and the age bracket above, in fact it only starts having a blue majority when it hits 50 plus.

          We’re miles apart in age and ideology so just leave it at that and use this site for what it’s for.

          If I mention labour or conservative in a small comment on defence I don’t need a 5 paragraph response from you telling me Jeremy Corbyn is the antichrist, a light bulb is not going to go off and I’m all of a sudden going to be wearing Jacob rees mogg pyjamas. That’s not going to happen so just save your energy.

          I’m off this until next week, enjoy the rest of your weekend Chris.

          • Kieren – And this is all you have left? First the ‘fake news’ trigger words and now no proper discussion just the stereotypical ageist personal abuse:
            “You’re a classic example of a stubborn elderly man”

            And NO apology for misleading everyone over what I had ACTUALLY written? And then carry on misinterpreting. That is pretty shabby Kieren and doesn’t make your arguments the slightest bit more believable.

            A 22% margin of victory has nothing to do with whether a Parliament is ‘hung’ or not! Because there are 6 other parties involved. You sort of forgot to mention that bit Kieren. Or you really do not have a clue. Fact is Labour got TROUNCED!

            But I will answer just one of your misleading statements as you have repeated it twice now:
            “You can’t explain why the deficit was reducing before the financial crash”
            Here is a list of deficits and surpluses and the relevant years:
            1997/98 5.751
            1998/99 -4.617
            1999/00 -14.782
            2000/01 -17.172
            2001/02 0.573
            2002/03 26.584
            2003/04 31.45
            2004/05 43.577
            2005/06 40.99
            2006/07 36.335
            2007/08 40.345
            That Kieren proves your monstrous lie. Soft Lad that is NOT ‘reducing’ a deficit it is actually ‘CREATING’ and then ‘INCREASING’ a deficit. Brown turned a £17.2 Bn Surplus (by following Tory plans) into a £40.4 Bn deficit. And he added £220 Bn in DEBT in the process. In 7 years!

            And lets not kid ourselves that the following two years when he added a further £254 Bn in DEBT was entirely down to Lehmann Brothers. Even following a trend adds £80 Bn. Or at best some £300 Bn of DEBT added by Gordon Brown in 9 years. And that is being generous and allocating £160 Bn to Lehmanns!!

            http://visual.ons.gov.uk/uk-perspectives-trends-in-the-uk-economy/

            You couldn’t make it up! (Except you tried to)

        • Ageist personal abuse, behave yourself, you’ve consistently called me a “leftie” “corbynista” and “momentum moron” so it’s you who’s dished out abuse.

          I am not apologizing for anything because it’s you who is misleading everyone trying to say 22% more seats is a landslide without using any other figures like..
          Con – 13,669,883
          Lab – 12,878,460
          Con- 318
          Lab – 262
          Con – -13
          Lab – +32
          Con – 42.4%
          Lab – 40%
          Con – +5.5
          Lab – +9.5

          Do yourself a favour and google general election results 2017 and on every single result you will find the election results in MY statistics, NOT yours, the 22% is not even mentioned, i’m struggling to find it anywhere.

          One heck of a landslide Chris well done 🙂 well and truly trounced.

          “In terms of Gross Domestic Product the UK “current budget deficit” in 2005 was less than 2 percent of GDP, and declined to about 0.6 percent GDP in 2007 and 2008. In the Great Recession the deficit ballooned, to 6.9 percent of GDP in 2010. Since then the deficit has steadily declined, to less than one percent GDP in 2017.”

          http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/uk_national_deficit_analysis

          There are always different ways and graphs to look at, budget deficit, borrowing as per gdp etc. The only thing that is consistent is that the labour government did not do anything out of the ordinary, the way you make it out is that they all of a sudden went from borrowing 40.9 billion in 2007 to 100.8 billion in 2008 just for a laugh, its insane
          UK Net Borrowing.
          92 – 23b
          93 – 47.1b
          94 – 51.6
          95 – 43.8
          96 – 35.3
          97 – 3.3
          98 – 0.7
          Surplus years
          03 – 26.9
          04 – 31.6
          05 – 43.5
          06 – 41.4
          07 – 36.9
          08 – 40.9
          Financial Crash
          09 – 100.8
          http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/5922/economics/uk-budget-deficit-2/

          If you know anything about economics you would of seen and read that Labour were doing nothing that any other conservative or Labour government had done before them, the statistics and facts are there.

          http://www.primeeconomics.org/articles/taq30tk04ljnvpyfos059pp0w7gnpe

          http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2016/03/13/the-conservatives-have-been-the-biggest-borrowers-over-the-last-70-years/

          Do as much research as you like, you send me one link of proof that the conservatives have been fiscally better than Labour over the years. It’s a myth, every single statistic points in Labours favour.

          Conservatives on average have borrowed much more than Labour.

          Labour has always paid more debt off than the conservatives.

          Those are the facts, plain and simple soft lad.

        • Monstrous lie? you just proved my point with your figures.

          2005 – 43.577
          2007 – 36.335

          That is a reduction and seen as the economy grew by just under 10% in those years it was a massive reduction as a proportion of GDP..which is what i said! surely using 5% and 0.6% would of been a bit of a giveaway seen as your such an economics guru.

          Epic epic failure on all counts.

          • you’re**

            ps there is a longer reply awaiting moderation for some reason. I would wait to read that as well before you reply.

          • Kieren – are you a wind up merchant or what?

            So let me get this right? you think having destroyed a £17.2 Bn annual SURPLUS and created a £43.6 Bn annual DEFICIT in 4 years, is not an increase in either Deficit, Borrowing or Debt? You then select 2 years and make out that represents the whole period in office? And then quietly forget the following year’s 2007 / 08 figure was an increase to £40.4 Bn. Sleight of fact Kieren or just another deliberate attempt to mislead?

            And what is utterly staggering is you have NO acceptance that every year Brown failed to reach a surplus he increased BORROWING and therefore DEBT! Even when he was ‘reducing’ the deficit as you laughingly put it in those 3 periods he ADDED £73 Bn to our debt!!

            You are stunningly stupid Old Son. Go and read up the basic mathematics of adding 2 or more negatives. You don’t get a positive I can assure you. Or do you subscribe to the Diane Abbott theory of negativity summation?

            Oh and don’t play smart Alec with me Soft Lad. Percentages mean diddley squat in real money. When he was adding £ Bns to our national debt which has to be paid back THAT is what counts not whether its x% of GDP. And if Brown had not gone on a spending binge and maintained a surplus the % would have been even smaller would it not?

            God give me strength!

          • I asked for you to wait for my proper reply which is as long as yours with links etc, it’s not just based on 2 years, it’s awaiting moderation. All that little reply did was prove my point in that the deficit as a proportion of GDP had been reduced, I have did mentioned anything else, you’re arguing with yourself Chris.

            Wait for my proper reply to get through moderation for links and proof that debunks the myth that the conservatives are better with the economy.

            What is absolutely staggering is you trying to make out like you have a clue about fiscal policy from labour and the conservatives, when the economy is growing fast that is the best time to borrow more on infrastructure, most advanced economies do that exact thing, even in the year Brown borrowed most 05 it still wasn’t as much as what Major borrowed in 94. It’s all well and good dishing out borrowing figures etc thinking that’s the be all and all end all, you offer absolutely no context, no comparison to previous governments.

            You only want to argue using the years leading up to the financial crash and that is all you have got, you don’t want to get into Major or Thatchers years do you? Did they ever borrow? Run a deficit? Mmm I wonder. I think you know the answer.

            You’re annoyed because you have been called out peddling the tired Tory narrative, “we were left with the deficit that labour created” with absolute no context at all, no mention of the financial crash, no mentioning that the conservatives voted with labour in deregulating the banks making the crash worse.

            It really is shoddy from you.

            Quick question, who has borrowed more in the last 70 years even when taking into account time in government and inflation.

            Quick question, who had paid off more of the national debt even when taking into account time in office and inflation.

            I wonder why the answer is Chris.

            Night xxx

  9. Whilst the QE class are undoubtedly superb vessels I cannot help thinking a more realistic approach for the UK would have been 4 ships (2 LHDs and 2 LHAs) all based on a single hull type at say 30,000+t. These 4 ships would have replaced the Invincible class, Ocean and the LPDs. All capable of carrying about 800 Royal Marines. These ships would give us some flexibility, increasing our fixed wing aircraft numbers when required (over the Invincible’s) and also enhanced our Amphibious capabilities. An opportunity lost I believe.

  10. We do enjoy a heated debate don’t we …. This so called austerity is smoke and mirrors, we still spend more than we earn every year, by quite some margin….so what austerity?

    It is imperative as a Country we get our borrowing under control for many very good reasons, one being if we want to attract foreign investment and forge new post BREXIT partnerships, we need to show a well balanced economy with its finance’s under tight control. That’s a simple stark fact…

    Let’s be absolutely clear here, politicians of both colours have badly let defence down, Labours terrible mismanagement and out of control budgets and Conservative cuts that left us dangerously under defended.

    In the short term I would like to see Ocean retained and all three main amphibious ships replaced with a new vessel incorporating Albion class “troop and equipment lift” with Oceans aviation group.
    So a design of about 30,000 + tons. The realty however will be making do, unless the next SDSR sees an abrupt change of direction.

    One would hope that common sense would see the RM Corps as just as important as Carrier Strike with global trade and give the Corps the vessels it requires.

  11. I dont think we need a direct replacement for these vessels and would go further.

    A tide based Kare Doorman Joint support ship class could replace many of these large assets and with some additional thought provide more than what Ocean, Bulwark etc are offering.

    KD JSS has hanger facilities for 6 merlins or 2 chinook with more on deck or stored. 2 landing craft, 2000 lane metres and a steel beach – and a load of fuel and water.

    I also think it could be engineered to deliver a fleet of 12 CB90’s each holding 22 marines and 2 ship to shore connectors. There are some compromises to be made in the future fleet and for me I think replacing all large assets (200m support and amphib ships) with a single hull and building them in volume 8-12 is the way to go.

    As I say this is a compromise – but 3 new amphibs or 8-12 Joint support ships and I know which I would choose.

    • It’s a great idea and we could build these ships to a planned schedule and replace all the RFA ships as well as HMS Ocean, HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion with one hull / design, which can be configured to our needs. This idea could potentially save millions. Also use commercial off-the-shelf parts where possible, the same engines / turbines, maintenance would be cheaper and crew would need less time training.

    • I like the Karel Doorman it could definitely replace the Bays, but I think other navies are going in a more helicopter assault route, look at the America class 45,000 tons, the Canberra and mistral classes. The problem is if going in by beach cannot be done it needs to be done by Chinook, that exact thing happened in the Iraq war and our marines had to go in by about 40 or 50 Chinooks from Ocean and the present Wasp classes, that’s why I prefer a large fight deck on amphibious ships because it ticks every box.

      The problem with CB90’s are they failed the Royal Marines testing, they can only operate for 24 hours, no hot water for rations and the engines did not like the sandy beaches, they were designed for the cold Baltic waters. That said its a great little boat and one the Marines should have for certain operations.

      The Ship to Shore connectors are a great idea and if it was up to me any new amphibious assault ship should be able to launch 2 of these, and then the fast landing craft, whether they could make a few design changes to the CB90 to suit our needs then it could be that also.

    • I suppose if a new joint support ship could accommodate 6 to 8 Chinooks with 2 ship to shore connectors and have as many as 8 to 12 of them like you said then it would be a massive jump in capability.

      • Kieren

        I think the KD could have 4-6 chinooks on it at a push – it has 2 chinook landing spots and a hanger for 2, but for me it can definitely do 12 Merlins and I think this would be better as in my head I would look to a landing force of 6 Merlins and 6-12 CB90’s landing in Sync, backed up by 2 ship to shores with heavier equipment.

        Over 10 ships this would allow us to put the whole RM force into any location with the carriers providing fighter and strike cover and when not needed for a full scale assault they can be used for humanitarian aid or supply, which means they are not put alongside for extended periods.

        I think we could even try to provide a service to NATO’s European members to provide all stores and supplies and build the fleet further and also a couple of hospital ships in the Foreign aid budget that could have been in Sierra Leone this week working under the Red Cross for instance.

        By looking at it from a fresh perspective I think we can achieve some resilience in our logistics capability by doing things differently.

    • Instead of drastically changing the design of some of them to increase the flight deck like a helicopter carrier, you could build ten of the same design and then with two add on extra deck on the sides in a similar fashion to the UXV Combatant. This would be considerably cheaper and would make it more suitable for F-35B use.

      • Like I said below, if it can land the marines with air support i’m not really fussed, but I would personally prefer mini carrier type ships that could also be used for air superiority before an amphibious landing.

        The UXV is an amazing looking ship, I think there are a few options with the amphibious capability it will be interesting to see what the government does about it, or even if it gets done at all.

        • I would also like HMS Ocean, HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion to be replaced with two amphibious helicopter carriers (like the Mistral) but I don’t think we can afford it unfortunately. This is why I didn’t want HMS Prince Of Wales being built.

          Having a standard design (E.g. a modern Bay-class based on the Tide-class hull) that could be configured for the required role (to replace all RFA, HMS Ocean and Albion-class vessels) would be considerably cheaper. Adding extra deck on each side of two of the vessels like the UXV Combatant is doable in my opinion.

          I like the UXV Combatant as well and believe it’s based on a Type 45 hull. I wonder if the deck design could be incorporated into a Type 26 hull and for BAE to resurrect the idea.

    • I also agree with this. A Tide/Aegis based MARS SSS with real flexibility built in could serve as a core platform for so many things. By definition it would have lots of internal storage space which, with clever design, could offer some great configuration options.

      The flexible mission space in the T26 adjoins the hangar and can be combined to allow 2 Merlins to be hosted quite comfortably. A similar configurable partitioning at the back of a MARS SSS hangar to allow it to spill into a storage area when necessary could potentially house a pretty respectable number of Chinook and modular berthing could potentially offer the corresponding troop capacity.

      With plumbing and connection points for basic hotel services in certain storage areas already in place to allow for troop transport it should also be possible to have a configuration with a core permanent sophistical hospital facility with the ability to expand the number of non-critical beds via modular units so such vessels could also serve as Argus replacements.

      Finally, given how often RN/RFA vessels are used for humanitarian tasks and how ideal these vessels would be for those tasks, it would be entirely appropriate for the aid budget to contribute heavily towards the costs of building out a decent sized fleet.

  12. Ships come and go this ship had its day move on .Sell it to Russia they love old rust bucket ships . Small! Turkish fishing boats sink Russian ships

  13. Pragmatic corrective action here is another Bay class. Not perfect by any means but more, cheap flexible flat top amphibious capability.

  14. It would be nice to have a replacement, after all this was a cheap ship and a direct replacement could be (almost) just as cheap (get Korea to build it). The issue is personal and annual budgets not capital costs, as I understand it the crew will be needed for the new carriers.

    • That’s a good point, if there was a clear shipbuilding strategy to keep our current workforce by increasing the frigate and sub fleet on a good 25/50 year cycle then we could buy abroad for support ships, tankers and amphibious assault at much cheaper prices.

  15. John Clark when the words Tory, Labour, May or Corbyn gets mentioned it goes off at kempton on here haha.

    For me Albion, Bulwark and Ocean should be replaced by two 30-35,000 tonnes LPH similar to the Australian Canberra class, 1000 troops, 100 vehicles tracked and wheeled, with the wheeled a new 8×8 amphibious vehicle like the Italian Iveco SuperAV, room to launch 2 Ship to Shore Connectors and 8 to 12 new fast landing craft, possibly cb90 if it has design changes. the flight deck has a ski jump and can accommodate 18 to 20 helicopters or 4 F35b and 8 helicopters.

    I work out that a full Royal Marine landing group is roughly 1000 men, 700 men in the main commando group, 50 to 100 in the Patrol/recce troops, a battery from Royal Artillery and Engineers and the air defense troop. So the new ship has to be 1000 troops.

    The 2 new ships will be able to land 40 and 45 commando in full kit with vehicles and close air support, that has to be the aim.

    • Why? Albion and Bulwark are good until 2035 at least. We don’t have the money to replace perfectly good ships early. Also check the Karl Doormans stats, she would be a downgrade in our amphibious capability. The only benefit would be helo capacity and since we have two huge carriers and not many helos, what’s the gain? Our LPDs are way more useful in an assault because they can carry lots of heavy gear and connectors. The Karl Doorman class are suitable for a navy which can only afford one or two Support ships, they are a compromise.

    • HI KierenC – not sure I agree with you on this, We have the point class for this kind of heavy lift and for me its what do these ships do day-to-day and then what can they do at a push.

      For me an assault is likely to be precision based at night and covert – so a massive fleet of CB90’s are my preference (to spread the risk of losses), backed up ship to shore connectors (full of vehicles) delivering a large elite force backed up with F35’s and Apache’s for close air support

      Once done – bring in the 8×8’s otherwise we are going to a friendly port with a point class and unloading there, so no need for a specialised amphibious asset that we simply cannot afford.

      Perhaps not ideal – but actually I think a fleet of Join Support ships would give the UK the best amphibious and supply capability in NATO (outside US of course).

      10 JSS would require a fleet of 72 Merlins to get the best out of them, 20 Ship to Shore connectors and 80 CB90’s. Lets not forget they could also be configured for MCM with Atlas Arcims replacing the CB90’s. So these are truly game changers, but the money saved on building them will need to be spent on configuring them properly.

      Argus, Bulwark, Albion, Ocean, 3 x Bays, 3 SSS, = 10 JSS ships

      Based on the Tide class we are looking at £200m each, which I think is a bargain.

      We could then rotate as follows: 6 Solid Stores, 2 Amphibious, 2 Humanitarian.

      All using the same hull, engines etc. Surely this is the way to go.

  16. Given that we can’t have everything, I’m happy to let Ocean be decommissioned without replacement. I think it far more likely that our Royal Marines would be carried into the attack in helicopters than landing craft. As helicopter carriers, Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales will be far more capable than Ocean. If there’s a little extra cash around, it should go on more sailors, a Harpoon Replacment and an early start to the Type 31 programme (in that order).

    • Landing craft carry heavier loads a lot more economically than Helicopters. Both are needed & neither are dispensable.
      I suspect military realities will continue to be ignored & HMG will prefer more choppers on the QE class rather than operating hyper expensive F35s in larger numbers.

  17. Kieran C, That’s the sort of vessel I would envisage too, if money could be found. 1000 troops and 18 -25 helicopters.

    We are all well aware however it will never happen, such a ship will only ever set sail in our imaginations.

    A really cleverly designed, large modular muti purpose ship capable of being re-rolled from amphibious assault to support ship, repair ship, submarine support to Helicopter/ UAV Carrier, Hospital ship etc etc is an achievable idea.

    Mission specific Container modules could be installed in its hanger/very large missing bay, for future roles we haven’t even thought of yet.

    Such a ship design could be as revolutionary as the Dreadnaught and would be real force multiplier. Its a question of thinking differently I guess.

    Built in numbers, lets say 8, to a commercial standard with diesel engines and a design life of 30 years.

    Affordable and highly adaptable is key here.

    • Again why? Two carriers, two LPDs (which are better than KDs), and three LSDs. None of which need replacing for almost twenty years. When the time comes for replacements we would be better off building four enhanced Albions, with three helicopters and an increase in troop capacity to 750. 1/2 the welldeck size in the second pair and use the room for additional cargo capacity and leave out the C4 facilities. Why would we need eight?

      • My point being a fleet of 8 large modular designed ships capable of being re-rolled for a wide variety of tasks.

        Think of a large commercial ship with a large mission bay/ hanger able to carry up to 8 helicopters.

        Something along the lines of RFA Argus , but much more adaptable.

        Two/ Three dedicated for amphibious assault, with the others divided to rolls required at the time.

        We need, where possible, cost effective, multi roll, re-configurable ships.

        Albion and her sister plus Ocean, currently offer excellent capability, but they simply won’t be “like for like ” replaced.

        Let the trade come up with designs and costings and build abroad if necessary.

        I agree that Albion and Bulwark have plenty of life left, but let’s move forward with fresh thinking.

        • How do you know that? The LPDs, and LSDs do not need replaced until at least 2035. There is no way of telling yet if they will be replaced like for like. Ocean is a bin. She was built on the cheap and is almost clapped out. Also her crew are needed for POW. A direct replacement is not required. Yes it would be silly to put a carrier close to shore but we don’t need to. Most of the troops are on the LPDs and LSDs so helos can fly from CVF (100 miles offshore) then land on the LSDs and LPDs and refuel and load troops then fly them to the beech. Not perfect but manageable. Also if you don’t think we will get 4-5 replacments for the Albion and Bay classes, why would you think we would get 8 of another type to replace them? The cheaper option would be 4 improved Albions. The Tides and Waves are here for another 30 years as well and will soon be joined by the 3 FSS so why would we need anything other than a few replacement LSDs and LPDs?

  18. A great discussion everyone with some very good ideas.

    I fear though, that the Armed Forces – and the RN in particular – has gotten all they are going to get. HMG has absolutely no intention of replacing Ocean, or Diligence for that matter, or increasing the all important manpower. It’s just not going to happen. The underinvestment in our forces will continue unabated but sold to the public that everything is fine and dandy.

    Utter folly…..

    • David

      One of the things seldom raised – even by this forum, is the opportunities the UKAF’s offer to people from some of the poorest and most deprived areas of the UK.

      The Forces are a great pipeline for many employers to get highly qualified staff who have discipline and a can do attitude. This is even more relevant now as many graduates and young people have little drive.

      Some things underpin our culture and way of life and should not be outsourced or diminished. The armed forces is one of those in my opinion and an increase in numbers is ensuring people that the UK has a pipeline of talent for years to come.

  19. I am not happy about Ocean’s planned decommisioning without direct replacement.
    The RN is only begrudgingly agreeing to it as the my have not got the personnel to run Ocean and HMS QE and POW.
    instead of uplifing personnel numbers and looking at recruitment, retention, pay and conditions HMG are more than happy to scrap a capability instead of providing funds to keep it.
    Ocean’s decommisioning opens up another capability gap, that of amphibious airborne assault on a moderate/ large scale.
    it is strategic and tactical madness to send a 72,000 ton strike carrier close inshore or into restricted waters to perform the lph role.
    The UK needs to be able to deploy an amphibious readiness group AND a strike carrier.
    I thought we had an expanding defence budget and a growing Royal navy (according to Fallon) reality is cuts, scrapping ships prematurely and massive capability gaps.
    We have to keep Ocean until a replacement purpose built lphd can be built. Ideally 3 vessels to replace Ocean, Albion and Bulwark. If we can get these vessels for circa £400-600 million each we would be onto a winner.
    I do not think the Karel Dormen class ships are that effective, they represent a costly means to deliver a weak force, you would need 9 of them to deliver same force (airlift) as 3 purpose built lphds.

  20. Reading the above is simply wish list fantasy.
    Speaking as someone with plenty of experience on LPD and LHA I would like to make the following points.
    1. LHD cannot do the same job as a single LPH or LPD. LHDs are a mutation of both vessel types and as such compromises are made.
    2. LPDs have lots of lane meterage for lots of RM equipment inside and most importantly lots of heavy lift capability. Only a LPD is going to have the lift capability for Combat Vehicles, Fuel Tankers, Supply Trucks and Engineering vehicles. Then you need the ships capabilities for water production stores handling and Ammo carriage.
    3. LPH has very little lane meterage for equipment and it only carries light RM equipment . Without fuel tanker support the ubiquitous Landrover and Jackals wont be going far. An LHA has lots of the space internally but that space doesn’t belong to Royal. It is taken up by aircraft, crew, aircraft maintainers , spares for the aircraft and AVCAT.
    4. Where are these mythical 30k Ton vessels going to be based? With 2 LPDs and a LPH alongside in Devonport there is barely enough room now and the current vessels are a lot smaller in size than 30k each. Then you need the crew to man them and the infrastructure in the local area to support the crew and their families.
    5. LCVPs are not ideal but they do what they are designed to do. They are the Land rover of landing craft and can take the abuse dished out to them by the RM operators. Forget CB 90s. They are not up to the job. Would you want to give a complex Porsche to a RM to play with?
    6. A better LCU is needed but again the options on the table don’t tick all the boxes and compromises will need to be made. In short LCU 10s will stay for the foreseeable future.

    Finally the guest contributor Mr Steward has, from reading his piece, never been on Ocean, Bulwark, Albion or the Bay class. He can write about the square root of a banana but I doubt he could peel one.
    In simple engineering terms Ocean is shagged…forget refitting it for F35 that is a pipe dream. It would be cheaper and quicker to build 2 new vessels. The sheer scale and complexity of such a refit would make the Nimrod debacle look like a very cost effective good idea that had excellent value for money .

    • Gunbuster thanks for the information on LPD/LHA ships.

      Many of the commentators on here are sadly lacking in first hand knowledge and experience on discussing these matters.

    • You make very good points Gunbuster, I believe Ocean had an 20 year design life and that’s up.

      Thing is, its all very well saying the QE class can do the job, but that’s assuming both ships are available most of the time, ( very big if) unless we are giving up on purely national operations altogether?

      Can a single QE class ship carry and support the full Carrier Strike package and Helicopter Amphibious assault force at the same time?

      As for my thoughts on a re- configurable muti role large ship, simply an idea to kick around and discuss, the point of a forum I thought…

  21. Ocean is done for. It’s served very well, but it’s somewhat surprising it’s still afloat. It’s pretty much a commercial vessel in disguise; the durability for military operations is nowhere near as high as a built from the ground up military ship.

    I’d like to see two ships like Ocean built. However the Royal Navy just doesn’t have the resources for even one.

  22. Lots of good ideas lads, it’s great to hear sound arguments for our future amphibious capability, too many discussions to contribute to individually as I’m going away now for the weekend.

    @gunbuster that’s a good insight, I think most of us are aware of the different capabilities, but I think in general navies are trying to convert to perhaps 1 class for initial amphibious assault and that’s LPH, the differences in what they can carry are getting smaller, you just have to look at what America and Canberra classes can carry, quite a bit more than the LPD’s we currently have, and that’s including aircraft storage.

    Even with that though there would still be a need for LSD/LPD for stores, ammo etc like you said.

    I hadn’t really thought of them fitting in Devonport, but I’m sure something could be done to accommodate them.

    This mystical/fantasy fleet talk is quite cheap in my opinion, I’d agree with those terms if we’re talking about having things that were totally unrealistic, but discussing sound possible replacements to amphibious capability is not really fantasy.

    I’m sure if someone said in the late 90’s that we should be building two 70,000 tonne supercarriers to replace the invincible class, he would of got some of the same ‘fantasy’ comments.

    That’s not particularly aimed at you gunbuster because you have actually added some decent insight and I agree with most of your points.

    It’s aimed at the certain posters on here who dismiss everything without giving a single idea themselves. Then give a scatter gun assault on our armed forces. And then say it’s us who don’t know what we’re talking about.

    Anyway have a good weekend everyone 👍

    • Hi KieranC the problem is it is not realistic to talk of replacing the amphibious fleet when it is good for another 20 years. We need to use what we have for as long as we can and concentrate on raising escort numbers. Enjoy your weekend mate.

  23. People this is a defence website. I’m the first to enjoy a political barny but there are plenty of places for you to have one. On this site let’s stick to defence ok ? On the subject. As long as there is a fixed rather than unlimited defence budget choices will have to be made some of which you will agree with and some of which you won’t.

    • Agreed David, let’s leave our respective political colours at the front door and just agree that all politicians are terrible people!

  24. Gents

    I would like to say that all discussions on future vessels etc, need to be seen in a 25 yr+ timeframe, and as far as I can see no one is suggesting that we ditch perfectly good kit and build 20 ships next year. I think what people on this site are saying is that they are worried about the state of our forces and want to help in providing solutions – I know I certainly do.

    From my perspective we should aim for a build schedule of 3 major assets per annum and 16 minor assets, each and every year then we can have a fairly sustainable level budget. I also have a dislike to wasteful life extension programmes that only eat into the budget further and leave us with capability gaps.

    I am very aware of the compromises I am making in my suggestions and believe my assumptions are valid, but am willing to accept others opinions, as perhaps my ideas are a step too far. But there you go…

    • Hi Pacman, I see what you are saying but other peoples comments do not reflect this. Your idea of 3 major assets every year I feel is beyond the scope of what is acheivable or indeed needed. For escorts (types 45, 26, 31) what is needed is 24 hulls, 8 of each type. To acheieve this we could build 24 ships every 30 years, that means laying one down every 15 months. If we did 3 a year they would be retiring after 15-20 years. MCM and OPVs could be built at Ferguson (licensed from BAE) at 16 every 25 years. This ensures a fleet of 40 ships (8 AAW, 8 ASW, 8 GP, 8 MCM, 8 OPV) renewed every 30 years and constant and steady work for two seperate yards. As for larger ships a consortium (same as CVF) can build and assemble (at Rosyth) the 3-4 FSS ships by 2025-30, then move to LPD and LSD replacment taking them through to 2035-40 when we will need to start replacing the Waves and Tides. A fleet of 40 escorts (including MCM and OPV) and four capital ships (two CVF and two LPD) is the most we can realisticly fund and more importantly man.

      • David

        I think you have misunderstood my intentions as I was meaning 3 large ships in total every year in a 25 year cycle (to align with reactors, CVF) That includes Escorts, Subs and auxiliaries and would mean we maintain the current 75 ship navy. 38 escorts, 14 subs, 18 RFA (Aegir hulls) and 3 specialist (one offf such as icebreaker) and 2 carriers.

        I think we are broadly in agreement as you are 44 surface vessels without RFA and Subs.

        The 16 minor vessels include Atlas Arcims, Rhibs, Safeboats Mk6 and CB90’s, but will include other UMV’s.

        • I see, that makes it much clearer. I thought you meant escorts at three a year. Not sure why though as your post didn’t say that, sorry.

    • Hi Pacman, I think the construction of a ship based on a tide-class hull to replace all the RFA, HMS Ocean and Albion-Class vessels is achievable and would save millions in the process. In the absence of a National Ship Building Strategy and sensible financial planning, I can’t see how long this ad-hoc ship building can continue.

      Our Armed Forces are going the way of the NHS where we plough more and more billions into something and get less and less back each year.

      We urgently need a National Ship Building Strategy that proactively works with industry, ship yards, steel mills, breaker’s yards, schools and colleges to plan for the future.

      • A.smith

        Couldn’t agree more and I am constantly surprised by peoples disdain for various platforms. The CB90 is a case in point – what have we got that is better or even comes close to it. The RN are doing a great job I think with limited resources and a need to keep the nuclear industry going in the UK.

        Keep it simple – keep to budget and buy proven systems for smaller stuff and build volume to get the best pricing on things like mk41 VLS etc.

  25. Once again the Government have proved their stupidity and shallowness by scrapping a needed asset, AS with, thro the deck carriers ,the Sea Harrier fleet , Nimrod and others they betray their idiotic mantra “with an ever increasing Defence budget etc etc” The just lie and lie kidding nobody. Its a farce

  26. Whilst Osborne was an over rated “Defence Blind” tosser of a political chancellor all our Labour friends had probably best be quiet whilst Corbyn is leader and McDonnell potentially running the Treasury.

    Never has the term “Lions led by Donkeys” been more apt to this country and the quality of its political class.

    Back to the point…under manning of the navy needs to be addressed. Possibly we could expand the reserves more or the RFA more and use the manpower savings there to allow for the running of 2 carriers plus an LPH. Either that or HMG just can just move some funding out of foreign aid or from no longer required EU membership fees.

  27. Mike Saul. – I don’t believe reservists are the answer to the manning issues being experienced across all services, it was never likely to work, just cost cutting.

    We need to increase the force structures of all 3 services and we need to make the military an employer of choice in the UK. Not sure how we do that with todays generation, but I think thats what is needed.

    I believe we need a force closer to 250k personnel (similar to French actually) that includes 40k civilians (same as SDSR15) which is a 10% increase of 20-30k personnel on SDSR15.

  28. I wonder if the government actually read our forums as an order for Atlas Arcims has gone in and today on Save the Royal Navy is a Tweet on a RUSI article stating the government are looking at Karel Doorman style JSS replacements for some of the fleet.

    Maybe our voices are being heard…..

    Lets hope it based on Aegir and standardises on Engines etc.

    Now for CB90’s and Safeboats Mk 6…. oh and 3 more astutes (or a new class of SSK’s) whilst we are at it

    • Hi Pacman, I’ve just seen the tweets and read the article from Janes. It does sounds like positive news. It should go one step further and also replace HMS Ocean with the same vessel. Capability could be spread to more than one ship depending on the need. BMT could design our own version of the Karel Doorman. The more standardisation and off-the-shelf parts, the better. Have them all built in the UK using British steel. Steel mills will have advance notice of what steel will be needed.

      If the Government do read these forums then I hope they’ll announce and deliver a capable war fighting Type 31 with Mark 41 VLS, Artisan, Sea Ceptor, which is stealthy, quiet and attractive for export.

  29. Tricky one, because she is quite slow. Perhaps the planned decommissioning points, along with other indications, to a change of main theatre for the RN, more into the Pacific where speed would be more important to keep up with the fleet – any fleet.

    It’s not a change I personally would agree with.

  30. In 1982 we went to war in the South Atlantic minus the one thing we badly needed – an LPH! And we learned some serious lessons! Post 82 we ordered 2 and built 1, now years on with faded memories we’re about to make a huge bloody mistake and get rid of Ocean simply because her crew are needed to man POW. Absolute lunacy!!! Ocean is not falling apart! Where did that idea come from? Yes, like all other ships she could do with more care and attention but she’s served the RN extremely well and continues to do so! Albion and Bulwark are LPD’S, they have a small flightdeck but crucially – NO HANGAR! As for those who genuinely believe POW would seriously be used in an Amphibious LPH role Dream on! I have heard directly from the horses mouth that that will Never Happen!! Why? Because the RN is not going to park a 3.5 Billion ship a couple of miles off a hostile beach where she can be destroyed wiyh ease by land based ant-ship missiles. Wakey wakey, the UK needs an LPH.

    • “The RN is not going to park a 3.5 Billion ship a couple of miles off a hostile beach where she can be destroyed with ease by land based ant-ship missiles.”

      But its OK to park Ocean or any Amphip off a beach to get hammered by ASM’s?
      An LPH cannot do what an LPD does.
      An LPH allows you to go somewhere with light forces only. So Royal goes ashore with Jackals, Land Rovers and BV’s only. No MAN trucks, No fuel tankers, No heavy Engineer support equipment and no AFV’s.
      However with aviation support from a Carrier parked a ways offshore you can cross pole aircraft to an LPD to allow light forces to move onward to land and still use the LPDs dock to move heavy stuff ashore.

  31. THAT is your Navy’s flagship? It looks like an oversized tugboat. How far the mighty British naval strength has fallen in a few short generations. Maybe you need to focus on national defense and a little less on feeding your unproductive welfare class.

  32. […] F-35 Lightning fighter aircraft one step closer as RAF Marham runway intersection resurfacing completed https://www.gov.uk/government/news/f-35-lightning-fighter-aircraft-one-step-closer-as-raf-marham-runway-intersection-resurfacing-completed despite the technological deficiencies. NavyLookout‏ @NavyLookout Shocking news. Daily Mail says Ocean survey ship HMS Scott to be sold (Presumably without replacement?) Barmy Army fire sale: Anger as military hardware including ships, helicopters and aircraft carriers is dumped at knockdown prices http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4913854/Military-assets-including-ships-dumped-knockdown-prices.html The decommissioning of HMS Ocean without replacement: Strategically nonsensical? https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/decommissioning-hms-ocean-strategically-nonsensical/ […]

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