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.

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HF
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HF

‘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.

mac
Guest
mac

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.

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

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.

Bill Kenny
Guest
Bill Kenny

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.

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

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.

James
Guest
James

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… Read more »

Lockhart
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Lockhart

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… Read more »

James
Guest
James

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… Read more »

Lockhart
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Lockhart

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… Read more »

Sjb1968
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Sjb1968

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.

Stuart Willard
Guest

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.

DAX
Guest
DAX

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.

P tattersall
Guest
P tattersall

Every labour government is a absolute disaster for all the UK ..

HF
Guest
HF

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.

chris
Guest
chris

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… Read more »

Lockhart
Guest
Lockhart

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.

chris
Guest
chris

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.… Read more »

Lockhart
Guest
Lockhart

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.… Read more »

Steven Jones
Guest
Steven Jones

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.

James
Guest
James

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.

P tattersall
Guest
P tattersall

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

Fat dave
Guest
Fat dave

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

Rob H
Guest
Rob H

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… Read more »

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

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.

Geoff Goldberg
Guest
Geoff Goldberg

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

Ross
Guest

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.

Rob H
Guest
Rob H

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,… Read more »

John West
Guest
John West

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.

David Stephen
Guest
David Stephen

Most of the cost increase in the carrier programme came from labours decision to slow the build.

P tattersall
Guest
P tattersall

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 ..

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

Do you know who Harry Leslie Smith is?

P tattersall
Guest
P tattersall

Yes he writes for a extreme left comic paper .. A left wing paper that hates British culture

James
Guest
James

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.

James
Guest
James

*Sure

Rob H
Guest
Rob H

‘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.

P tattersall
Guest
P tattersall

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 ..

A. Smith
Guest
A. Smith

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… Read more »

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

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 ?

A. Smith
Guest
A. Smith

See Pacman27’s comment below for the idea.

Rob H
Guest
Rob H

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… Read more »

chris
Guest
chris

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… Read more »

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

You need to read Lockhart’s superb reply above.

You’re fake news Chris.

chris
Guest
chris

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.

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

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.

chris
Guest
chris

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… Read more »

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

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.… Read more »

chris
Guest
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.… Read more »

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

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… Read more »

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

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.

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

you’re**

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

chris
Guest
chris

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… Read more »

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

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… Read more »

sjb1968
Guest
sjb1968

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.

Steven Jones
Guest
Steven Jones

And those four ships would have cost less purchase and maintain than the two QE-class ACs.

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

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… Read more »

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

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… Read more »

A. Smith
Guest
A. Smith

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.

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

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… Read more »

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

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.

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

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… Read more »

A. Smith
Guest
A. Smith

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.

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

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.

A. Smith
Guest
A. Smith

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… Read more »

Julian
Guest
Julian

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… Read more »

Baz
Guest
Baz

Yet another kick in the teeth to Devonport

P tattersall
Guest
P tattersall

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

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

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

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

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.

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

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.

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

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… Read more »

David Stephen
Guest
David Stephen

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.

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

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… Read more »

Nick Bowman
Guest
Nick Bowman

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).

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

agreed

FrankLT
Guest
FrankLT

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.

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

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.… Read more »

David Stephen
Guest
David Stephen

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?

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

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… Read more »

David Stephen
Guest
David Stephen

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… Read more »

David
Guest
David

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…..

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

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… Read more »

Mr Bell
Guest
Mr Bell

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… Read more »

joe
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joe

The first mistake was to assume there is a “strategy” in the first place.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

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… Read more »

David Stephen
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David Stephen

You are 100% correct Gunbuster.

Mike Saul
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Mike Saul

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.

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

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,… Read more »

Tams
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Tams

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.

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

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… Read more »

David Stephen
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David Stephen

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.

David Steeper
Guest

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.

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

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

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

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… Read more »

David Stephen
Guest
David Stephen

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… Read more »

Pacman27
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Pacman27

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.

David Stephen
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David Stephen

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.

A. Smith
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A. Smith

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… Read more »

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

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.

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Peter French
Guest
Peter French

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

chris
Guest
chris

Peter Finch – Please please NO! Not a Nimrod comment … And you need to define WHICH Government as they do change colours every so often.

Mike Saul
Guest
Mike Saul

It was Labour who scrapped the sea harrier despite some airframes being less than 14 years old.

chris
Guest
chris

Mike – don’t tell him they also scrapped the first of the three ‘through deck carriers’!

Cognitio
Guest
Cognitio

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… Read more »

Mike Saul
Guest
Mike Saul

The services cannot meet there current target for reservists so introducing a higher target is rather pointless

Ian
Guest
Ian

We’re on the same page on that one Cognito! Still, we got what we got until then next election.

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

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.

David Steeper
Guest

You mean like the US National Guard Army and Air. Yeah it would be appalling if we had something like them over here wouldn’t it. Yes I am being bloody sarcastic.

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

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

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

That’s great news.

I think it would of been wiser to have a large fleet of MK6 instead of the River Class.

A. Smith
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A. Smith

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… Read more »

dadsarmy
Guest
dadsarmy

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.

Paul65
Guest
Paul65

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!… Read more »

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

“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… Read more »

Jack1965
Guest

You are not going to ‘park’ an LPH offshore, its smaller and more manoeuvrable, it can go where a CV cannot, steaming continuously within a danger zone whilst performing it’s role. Take a good look at our amphibious ops in the Falklands and the problems suffered because on the lack of an LPH.

Ben
Guest
Ben

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.

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