According to the ‘Defence Command Paper’, the UK is looking at ‘Multi Role Support Ships’ to provide future littoral strike capabilities, but what will they look like?

The Defence Command Paper, titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age‘, describes the planned acquisition:

“Multi Role Support Ships (MRSS), to provide the platforms to deliver Littoral Strike,
including Maritime Special Operations, in the early 2030s.”

An inside source that asked not to be identified had last year attended a briefing at the Commando Training Centre, also known as CTCRM, discussing information relating to future UK amphibious and littoral capability

I was told “LSS and FSSS likely to be sacrificial lambs at forthcoming review in order to get MRSS in larger numbers”. “Ellida will require some tweaks but would appear to reflect the requirements of littoral strike and needs of Carrier Strike”, the source added.

It appears that the source was largely correct, the plan for a dedicated and standlone ‘Littorial Strike Ship’ (LSS) was abandoned whilst the Fleet Solid Support Ships (FSSS) stayed. The deletion of a larger LSS in favour of smaller but more numerous MRSS vessels fits with current views, “thinking is larger number of smaller targets”, I was told.

“It’s a solution that fits the new doctrine. LSS was going to be a 40,000t conversion of merchant ship, big poorly protected target.”

What is Ellida?

The ELLIDA concept is a 195m multi-role support and logistics vessel designed to provide the capabilities needed in “future global operations, offering the flexibility of a large hull, with internal vehicle and stowage decks, weather deck stowage and additional accommodation”.

It has the utility to transport and deliver troops, vehicles, equipment and supplies from anywhere in the world in support of amphibious warfare and littoral manoeuvre.

Its mix of ship-to-shore offloading and logistics capabilities allow support to naval operations through landing craft, boat operations, multi-spot aviation and replenishment at sea.

According to the BMT website:

“The first member of the ELLIDA family is a 195m multi-role support and logistics vessel designed to provide the capabilities needed in future global operations, offering the flexibility of a large hull, with internal vehicle and stowage decks, weather deck stowage and additional accommodation. It has the utility to transport and deliver troops, vehicles, equipment and supplies from anywhere in the world in support of amphibious warfare and littoral manoeuvre.

Its versatile mix of ship-to-shore offloading and logistics capabilities allow support to naval operations through landing craft, boat operations, multi-spot aviation and replenishment at sea.

BMT considered the operational background and future requirements during the development of ELLIDA – including the development of operational concepts against current and future doctrines of several navies. The result is a balanced design, able to react to the dynamic operational requirements of military commanders in support of government policy for a number of different nations.”

Below are the specifictions.

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Herodotus
Herodotus
1 month ago

What’s the tonnage?

Ron
Ron
1 month ago
Reply to  Herodotus

I cannot find the tonnage but from the dimensions and draught I would think that she would be somewhere in the 20-25,000 ton range. They do look useful ships I just wish or hope that they would have a good defensive weapons fit. If we plan it right we could get 8-10 of these to replace the Bays, LSS, replenishment ships for forward deployed units and who knows a Argus replacement and possibly even a replacement for RFA Diligence. We could even use some of the International Aid Budget to build one or two humanitarian hospital ship versions.

John Hampson
John Hampson
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron

Yep I make it about 17.500 to 18,500 mt.

Pompeyblokeinoxford
Pompeyblokeinoxford
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron
Rob
Rob
1 month ago

This is the replacement for the Forts, Argus, the Bays, the Albions and Ocean. If they can operate flexibly as FSSS & mini LHD then all good because we can operate in both roles on the rule of 3 but surge in a specific role if we need to. Could we get as much as 10?

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Would be even nicer if they could be fitted out specifically for the job they’re intended for. Going from Fort Vic to Ellidna seems like it would already costs us a few thousand tonnes of stolid stores, and then you loose even more to the vehicle deck?
Better to eliminate the RO-RO capability on the ships inteded to be FSS, and in turn expand the Helicotper/embarked troop facilities on the Bay/LSS/Argus replacements.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

I’d hope for at least 6 alongside 3 FSS.

Otherwise numbers drop again.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

Actually numbers drop with a total of 9 because there is no replacement for RFA Argus or HMS Ocean. If the RN / RFA can make a large order, benefitting from economies of scale and commercial shipbuilding practices we could end up with a large flexible fleet of supply / amphib ships.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

2x Albion, 3 x Bay, 1 x Argus was my thinking.
I did not include Victoria, Austin or Rosalie as hoping 3 FSS are bought.

Agree hope it’s a large order keeping the cost down. Its not what we’re used to anymore so I won’t get my hopes up yet!

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

Got that. However we still have a big hole called HMS Ocean replacement. I fear but am sure they intend to put the assault helos on the QE class which is dumb (if they are LHP then they aren’t fleet carriers and they will be further inshore at greater risk). We are not going to get another Ocean but we could build a few more ‘Ellida’ to compensate.

Any thoughts on the ‘Mexican’ labels?

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

The QEs will never operate as LPH. Simply too big and unable to operate in littoral waters. The only hope woukd be to put MV22s on them because the additional speed and range would allow a QE to launch assaults whilst in deep water.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

I read yesterday that the planned retirement date for the Ospreys is 2030. Can’t believe that is true and even if it is a plan, don’t see it actually happening, but is that actually even a proposed date anyone else has heard mentioned? Certainly puts into perspective any discussion, as decidedly improbable as it is, of us procuring any.

Last edited 1 month ago by Spyinthesky
Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Its incorrect. At this point there is no definitive out of service date)although some have been bandied about) The USN is just introducing the COD version into service, and the CV22 is proving to be exceptional in the special forces role. Despite early problems which are far better understood these days, the Osprey has evolved into a remarkable military tool which isn’t going anywhere for a long time yet! The Pentagon is currently working on software upgrades which display information to the pilot in a better manner including an engine health indicator because the MV22 often flies at low level… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul42
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Agreed on Ocean.

Mexican labels???

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

Ohhhhhh I get it!

No idea, I’m Mithrander, the Grey Pilgrim.

Tolkien a total genius.

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago

Tolkien a total genius.”

Tru dat bro…. tru dat.

Herodotus
Herodotus
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Prof Hugo Dyson was a member of the Inklings club that used to meet at the Eagle and Child in Oxford. Tolkien and CS Lewis were also members. On hearing a reading of Tolkien’s latest effort, Dyson remarked ‘oh no, not another f—–g elf’. I am afraid, that I have always shared his opinion.🙂

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Herodotus

JRR did have a bit of a hard on for his Elves right enough, they could even walk on water (well snow).

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Is that what they are I was wondering, it makes everyone look like bandits…. which I suppose is a fair analogy.

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Not really a recent hole given that Ocean and Illustrious were replaced by QE and POW. Even compared with 1990s the two CVs provide greater rotary capacity than four smaller flat-tops.

Last edited 1 month ago by James Fennell
John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago

Well its a bit slow & lacking land attack capability (guns/missiles).

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Now that you mention it, range seems really short too no?

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Hi John, I believe this design has 2 x Phalanx’s and 2 x 40 mm, the kind of mix I’d like to have seen on the carriers if no missiles armament. Nice looking useful ship and like you say, just needs to go a bit faster andfurther and it will be right then.. Lol. Obe thing that irritates me a bit with this design is the back hangar area. I’d like to see the windows area angled out more do the rear Phalanx can have a 180% arc of fire. Maybe the exhaust stacks can be pushed forward bit. That’s… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

My bad typing… do… so..

PaulW
PaulW
1 month ago

Seems like the RN are trying to get battlecruisers via the back door. Just needs a pair of 16inch turrets fore and aft. Lol

Taffybadger
Taffybadger
1 month ago

I would have thought a light carrier with well-deck would be more flexible and be able to operate F35B’s, even if only 2-3 at a time with some rotary wing assets.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
1 month ago
Reply to  Taffybadger

Something in the Mistral-Juan Carlos I range with a balance of capabilities between the two would be appropriate, it is harking back to the light carrier concept.

Taffybadger
Taffybadger
1 month ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Going around in circles. but shows how useful they can be.

Chris
Chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Taffybadger

Looking at the new Japanese light carriers (heavily influenced by QE) they may be a good fit if a tad too expensive, they could be very useful as a support to QE class with the ability to carry much the same aircraft,spares, weaponry etc, also for littoral strike as a ship closer to the shore could also recover any damaged or low on fuel airaircraft rather seeing them lost.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

I tend to agree with you a lot more flexibility though I assume more costly and would affect storage somewhat at similar size.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

George @sitecontrol, can I just ask why all posters without a photo have suddenly become Mexicans?

Taffybadger
Taffybadger
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Its more like Ike from south park with a hat !

Trevor G
Trevor G
1 month ago
Reply to  Taffybadger

Zorro?

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Trevor G

I thought everyone had become Hasidic Jews for a moment.

Dan
Dan
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Epa! Arriba! Ándale!

DRS
DRS
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Any way to edit the default poster image, then there will less of us gringos about😋

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Whats more freaky is when your scrolling the moustache flashes to an upwards rather than downwards curve giving you a kind of animation.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Oh, thanks for pointing that out…

Now I’m ever so slightly weirded out…

expat
expat
1 month ago

Bit off topic but I see New Zealand has put out an RFI for a polar patrol ship. Apparently Damen and Vard have been asked to submit. No British yards :(.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  expat

Hi Expat, I wonder NZ might go for something similar to what the Canadian navy has for artic patrol? Does the RN have a need fof 1-2 of these for when patrolling the far north?

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

It possible I believe they used a Norwegian design. Not sure of the UK requirement if any, if ithere was I would suggest a version of the Sir Richard Attenborough as the basis. But we patrol the South Atlantic with the B2 Rivers quite adequately.

Paul.P
Paul.P
30 days ago
Reply to  Expat

The job of the River 2s in Gib and the Falklands could be a challenge in future….
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/17/sierra-leone-sells-rainforest-for-chinese-fishmeal-plant

Pacman27
Pacman27
1 month ago

As always, I am going to advocate taking the Karel Doorman design as the benchmark product and then tweaking it to our needs. We should buy 12 MRSS and tweak them as necessary, I would also think that innovative containerised solutions will make or break them as lane meters are king. Couple of points I think need considering, The Canadian GALM design has a good bow (icebreaker), SeaRAM (perhaps we go CAMM) and a decent set of guns. The KD itself seems to waste a fair bit of real estate around its RAS rigs and I also think the flight… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  Pacman27

“Armoured containers” “Containerised liquids” “Standardise on LCVPs” (ie abandon moving even medium armour) “Original thinking about containerisation” It’s so far from the reality of logistics let alone marine safety that it’s just pointless even starting. Get yourself on a RFA type ship at some point, if open days are still a thing, and look and learn and listen and learn. KD isnt an amazing ship – it’s a one off intended to accompany an LPD and customised to complement that. Literally nobody else is looking at KD for the UK. Nobody else has built one and note that the Ellida… Read more »

Pacman27
Pacman27
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

12 hulls is entirely doable, we are rebalancing the fleet for the future not replacing like for like in an ever reducing fleet. 3x bays, 1 x Argus, 2 x bulwarks, 4 x points, 2 x waves = 12 current vessels that can be replaced by MRSS. With the forts being replaced by 3 FSSS. Also ship to shore connectors are used by the us and France to move heavy armour why can’t we from a kd steel beach as proposed. The KD design provides excellent capabilities and as for containerisation this is the way forward and is to provide… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Pacman27

“… and what more do you want need” – well you asked 😀 We need a platform that isn’t vulnerable. Which means no docking down and/or no slow ship-to-shore transfer or reliance on RO-RO ports. Ellida does nothing to change this and neither does Karel Doorman. All the popular suggestions in the comments are using platforms that were designed when we didn’t expect a return to cold war like threats. They were also designed when the anti-ship threat wasn’t what it is today, let-alone what it will become over the next 25-40 years, i.e. the probable lifetime for any new… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
30 days ago

Beach landing by ships directly is even more impossible if you accept the anti ship missile threat. If you dont like the idea of landing craft, you’re not going to put an LST in there! The defence against that threat is escorts or go home. It’s also nearly irrelevent because so few beaches are suitable for it and the damage it does to the ships. LHD/LPD/LSD has been the optimum way of amphibous assualt for decades. With FSS confirmed as seperate and the next big thing, this MRSS is a decade plus away. By then it’ll morph to a couple… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
30 days ago
Reply to  Rogbob

You may have misinterpreted my perception of the threat if you are comparing landing craft to LST? I’m not saying the landing craft are vulnerable, its the motherships they operate from that are. This isn’t an idea I invented. Its the observation made by the USMC Commandant wrt to the Wasp/America LHDs and San Antonio-class LPDs. Hence the USN LAW program, to try to reduce the number of threat scenarios requiring these large ships, operating relatively slowly, relatively close to shore. LAW also provides greater flexibility. The idea with using LSTs is that they are continuously moving up until they… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
30 days ago
Rogbob
Rogbob
30 days ago

No, I got the idea you think docked down ships are vulnerable and that LSTs going to the beach is better. Thing is, a docked down ship vs one at 20kts is exactly the same thing to a missile doing 1000+kts. A beached LST is at zero kts too and allowing for tide and unload is likely to be so for a long time. Plus as before, you just cant beach at many places and doing so risks the ship (and cargo). Ok if you’ve hundreds or even thousands but going from 2 LPD/3LSD to even 10 LST doesnt change… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
30 days ago
Reply to  Rogbob

A docked down ship and one at 20 knots aren’t the same. Its harder to find, acquire a target solution and maintain a kill chain on a moving target. Particularly one not in a predictable location until close to its objective, assuming its objective can be determined before it lands. A beached LST is clearly a target, which is why the intent would be to use smaller ships with smaller loads to avoid the need to spend a long time beached, its core to the concept. No one is planning opposed landing, so tube and rocket arty and direct fire… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
30 days ago

Yeah they are – the link between location and objective is the same, indeed a dock ship can stand-off giving uncertainty as to where it is and where it’s craft are going, an LST literally has to head directly to it and stay there. If you can find an LPD and strike it vs the defences, you can do exactly the same to an LST even closer to you. Lots of small ships equals huge manning and maintenance liability – we can barely manage a few large ships, where is all that coming from? Again, in a lot of places… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
29 days ago
Reply to  Rogbob

“…to an LST even closer to you” – You seem to keep focusing on an opposed landing and also on an LST having to stay beached for a long time. I already explained why those aren’t relevant for my proposal. You also seem to believe that all targets are equally easy to locate and target. If that’s so then nothing I say is likely to persuade you otherwise. The LST 120 I used as an example has a crew of 22, a Bay has a basic crew of ~70 plus any RN complements, Albion a crew of 100’s. LSTs don’t… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
29 days ago

As I said before, I am not making it opposed – you are as you are convinced the LXDs when operating as motherships to landing cract, will be attacked and sunk and so we need a distributed force that can go direct to the beach. Who is doing that attacking if there isnt an opposition force? Why are we even conducting a military operation if there is no en force? Thinking an LST at 20kts moving to beach to unload and then wait for the tide (and all that will take time however much you may wish it didnt) is… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
28 days ago
Reply to  Rogbob

OK let me see if I can address all your points. BTW I did outline my rationale in a different post under this article, in case you hadn’t seen it – https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/ellida-the-future-multi-role-support-ship/#comment-559494 1) When I reference “opposed” I am talking about relatively local forces, either at the beach or close enough to it to attack assets with rocket or tube arty, including your examples. If such threats exist where we wish to land then they need to be neutralised first, this is where we use carrier air power. If they are in such strength that this is impractical then we… Read more »

Order of the Ditch
Order of the Ditch
1 month ago

The aviation facilities seem a bit limited again. An improvement on the Bays and Albions no doubt but I think we really need a ship that can take a chinook in a hangar, especially if RMs are going to be raiding by helicopter.

Taffybadger
Taffybadger
1 month ago

*cough* light carrier!

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago

It dan take 4 Merlins so why not a Chinny?

Order of the Ditch
Order of the Ditch
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

I don’t think that is 4 Merlins in the hangar. (Please correct me if I am wrong). Looking at the rednerings the hangar shutter looks quite small, especially as the width seems to be constrained by one smoke stack either side. If these vessels are to be used by RM in the littoral role they need a decent level of hangar and deck space.

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

To borrow my reply to Challenger:

As for aviation, the hangar can take a single merlin-sized helicopter, but there’s space to stow an additional three helicopters if required. The hangar can also be enlarged though the deletion of the role 2 medical facility, which might not be a requirement on every hull.

steve
steve
1 month ago

i would think it will depend on the cost on how many we could have if 10 is planned we could end up with 5 or six but they look good what,s the tonnage and i image we looking at the early 2030 before they could come into service

Challenger
Challenger
1 month ago

These look pretty decent. 6 to replace the Albion’s, Bay’s and effectively Argus would be a good result.

No well-deck and a bit slow at 18 kts though. Also have many helicopters can they hangar?

Chances are if they ever materialise it’ll be 3 or 4 whilst means another cut.

Sjb1968
Sjb1968
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

No well deck would permanently knee cap the U.K’s amphibious assault capability so these are not the right ships. I think the Aussies are looking at a Navantia design to replace their Bay Class and that has similar multi role capability but with a well deck and that is what we need.

John N
John N
1 month ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

Correct, the RAN has a project to replace HMAS Choules with 2 x Joint Support Ships (JSS), the project is planned to start in the next few years with construction of the two JSS at the Henderson Shipyard in Western Australia.

This is Navantia Australia’s proposal based on the Enforcer hull (I would imagine Damen and others, will offer up a design solution too):

https://www.navalnews.com/event-news/pacific-2019/2019/10/pacific-2019-navantia-australia-unveils-joint-support-ship-design/

Cheers,

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

I believe the ship has a well deck designed to take up to two landing craft.

As for aviation, the hangar can take a single merlin-sized helicopter, but there’s space to stow an additional three helicopters if required. The hangar can also be enlarged though the deletion of the role 2 medical facility, which might not be a requirement on every hull.

Sonik
Sonik
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

I think you are right, Ellida does include a twin well deck, it’s not obvious from the pictures but it says so on the BMT data sheet. I think it should be possible to include an extra hanger and relocate the hospital – Ellida concept is amphib & replenishment ship, but solid stores will be covered by FSS so Ellida could be tweaked to use the stores space instead for a hospital. Also because it looks like MRSS will eventually replace Argus (current PCRS) I think full hospital facilities will be required, but perhaps different categories on different ships. Overall… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

Everything I have read about this is pretty limited but they all seem too suggest that this is the first of a family of ships, so perhaps a larger design with a well deck might be in the offering? All early doors yet.

Cheers CR

Des Kerrigan
Des Kerrigan
1 month ago

At the start of the Falklands Conflict in 1982 saw our proud Nation without a Heavy Repair Ship; HMS BULWARK, our last, had just been decommissioned. It left the Government with no option but to lease from the Stenna Line, first Stenna Seaspread then Stenna Inspector to utilise as Heavy Repair Vessels and send down South to support the Task Force. This they did, to such a degree that Stenna Inspector was purchased by H M G and became RFA Dilligence, fulfilling her role as a Heavy Repair Ship for the next almost forty years. In short; Yes there is… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Des Kerrigan

I would agree with your assessment of needing two such vessels. If, as looks increasingly likely, we care pushing our SSNs into the IO and beyond for longer periods, then they will need some serious support.

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

Yes mate, the ‘Dillypig’ has been a friend to the submarine service in the past and if we’re looking at pushing our diminishing (in number if not size) fleet boats further out then something similar would be handy.

I get the financial side of having a homogenous RFA but its a wee bit more complex than that eh ??

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Absolutely mate. I’m not entirely convinced this ‘One size fits all’ is necessarily going to work as smooth as some would have us believe.
I’m no ship designer, but amalgamating several types into one looks v complicated.

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

You’ve summed up my instincts too. Guess we have to see what we get although I doubt the guys pushing them round will be consulted.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

I would suggest that it is technically possible if you are prepared to accept the compromises. The more roles you squeeze in the bigger / more compromises you have to make. Comes a point when all you get is a lot of not much – if you get my drift.

Of course there are a number of roles that would normally fit well with this type of hull, so put a couple of variations on a theme into service rather than try to squeeze all of the roles into a single design would be my preference.

Cheers CR

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I think that we are probably thinking along the same lines. Mixing stores requirements(especially munitions) at any level with all that seems to be required of them (raiding/helo/landing) strikes me as somewhat barking!
If we need several variations, then is that not the same as specialist requirements/vessels? So if that’s the case, surely a dedicated specialist vessel is a better option, if obviously the more expensive one!

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
29 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

I agree that we are probably thinking along similar lines. The good news is I think that BMT are also thinking along these lines. A family of vessels based on a common theme actually saves quite a bit of expense. The main advantage of developing a family of vessels is not so much that the designs are precisely related, rather the design team can carry the experience across from one variant to the other. Of course, if you then go ahead and build the ships you can save more money by using common equipment, engines, pumps, radars, electrical systems etc.… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

I’m curious as to how facilities such as Duqm, as well as allied facilities such as Guam might play into supporting our SSNs vs ship based platforms?

That said, I could see future re-use again of off shore oil platform support ships for this role in addition to their primary role operating our unmanned MCM mission module assets, as part of a broader more flexible MCM capability. What’s old becomes new again.

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago

Hello again mate, in short, flexibility. The area covered is vast, even if you throw in DG, adequate facilities in between are sparse. A dedicated forward repair ship carriers a wide variety of specialised engineering equipment / stores in support of RN units.. It’s ability to move to locations where these facilities aren’t available is a no brainer in my view. Having to transit great distances to seek such support can only be detrimental to such operations, especially where SSNs are concerned. We probably need a capability like this as urgently as we need the FSSS built. A similar thread… Read more »

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago
Reply to  Des Kerrigan

Our one and only heavy repair ship was HMS Triumph, stored for many years in reserve at Chatham as part of the mothball fleet. Sh e was extensively equipped and would have proved invaluable during the Falklands, but was scrapped shortly before. Bulwark, a retired Commando carrier was tied to a buoy at Portsmouth and was the ideal solution to our need for an LPH, but her comms were out of date and it was decided it would take too long to get her fitted, crewed and ready to go, so it never happened.

Sonik
Sonik
30 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

My observation (not opinion!) is that RN are looking to increase reliance on allied facilities, including commercial, for global support. 1SL has said as much. In fairness there are plenty of offshore support vessels on the UK register available for STUFT, albeit this doesn’t help much outside a crisis and ability to support submarines will be limited Vs a dedicated RFA vessel.

I don’t know if MRSS is intended to fulfill the gap left by Diligence, but it seems to me that MRSS is just a rough concept at this stage so things could change.

Armand
Armand
1 month ago

I suggest the Royal Navy to have a close look at the Spanish shipbuilder Navantia products catalog in particular, the Cantabria-class auxiliary oiler replenishment ships (AORs).
In 2016 Navantia was awarded the contract to build two of them for the Royal Australian Navy.
https://navantia.com.au/capabilities/replenishment-vessels/
Both of them were delivered on budget and ahead of schedule.

Last edited 1 month ago by Armand
Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Armand

Both of them were delivered on budget and ahead of schedule.”

Sorry Armand, that’s crazy talk, that’s not how the UK MOD operate…. 😮

I don’t know enough about these new platforms, I can see why they would be attractive financially if they have ‘RFA’s’ that can tick all the boxes but my instinct is that it will be neither fish nor fowl and not be adequate at either. Like I say, I’ll need to have a nose around. I just hope that those making the call know more than I do. Not hard.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Armand

The FSSS will be separate to the MRSS. So Cantabria wouldn’t make sense for MRSS role. For FSSS, Navantia are likely to offer a BMT design, per article below.
https://www.navylookout.com/british-spanish-team-bid-to-build-the-fleet-solid-support-ship/

Paul C
Paul C
1 month ago

Lots of potential here. Exactly the type of ship we should be building, but in sufficient numbers. At least 6 and preferably 8 are needed to replace the Albions, Bays and Argus. They do have a well deck by the way.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 month ago

Nice design ⚓🇬🇧

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
1 month ago

I hope that the powers that be have given some thought to the use of merchant ships in time of need. Building the necessary command and control infrastructure into MRSS but allowing their capability to be expanded by operating alongside a stuft would give added flexibility at moderate added cost. The UK is now able to provide incentives to companies to operate ships under the red duster that have the right feaures built into them.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago

‘The first member of the Ellida family’. So larger and / or smaller vessels are proposed?

AndyCee
AndyCee
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

That’s right. There are potentially a series of variants from 120m-200m

At least…that’s according to Navy Lookout
https://www.navylookout.com/in-focus-the-bmt-ellida-multi-role-and-logistics-vessel-concept/

Last edited 1 month ago by AndyCee
Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
1 month ago

Get a decent number of hulls (I’ve read 6 are being considered, eight would be perfect) and this seems like a very smart, cost effective and highly efficient way of dramatically increasing our amphib and logistics capabilities

Glass Half full
Glass Half full
1 month ago

When considering fantasy fleets and ships its perhaps worth deciding first what we want the ship to do, where we want to do it and for how long a lifetime? The first MRSS may not hit the water until the early 30’s, late 20’s at best probably. It will then have anywhere between a 15-30 year life, depending on if we weight heavily towards a commercial build (with early sale) or go for a full military build. So the ship needs to be viable in its role through to at least 2045 for the first ship, if built to a… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago

Following your train of thought, we would no doubt require more assets to protect said vessels too, both ASW and AAW units with additional rotary lift cabs!!!
Seems to me that despite everything that has come out of the IDR, we care a tad short on lots of supporting units.

Glass Half full
Glass Half full
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

Perhaps we need more RN escorts, but first and foremost we should not exclude local allied escorts, both AAW and ASW. There are significant numbers in Europe, including German, Dutch, Norwegian and Danish NATO assets, along with Swedish and Finnish vessels, if we were reinforcing them. Could probably add Belgium once they have their new frigates. Clearly we might also draw from French, Spanish and Italian assets, just perhaps less likely as they are likely to be roled elsewhere. And US vessels. That said, I also suspect that T32 may end up as an intermediate frigate with a capable defensive… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago

Hi GHF, won’t necessarily disagree with your comments ref NATO support, and I’m all for it, if it can be provided. I suspect that it Northern Flank/Baltic scenario is close to the mark in terms of such support. However, as our current CSG deployment shows (it’s not really a NATO one) we are short of escorts, or wouldn’t need the US and Dutch to supply some. Adding another TF would certainly stretch us beyond our capabilities, so would need extra support from NATO or wherever. T32 will certainly prove to be interesting when it’s capabilities are finally known, it is… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

Hi Deep, not so sure we are really short escorts although we do lack some capabilities. Its interesting to see US CSGs seemingly routinely deploy with significantly fewer escorts than just the UK component of CSG21, although I will grant you that The Sullivans offers BMD which we do not currently have. Consider Theodore Roosevelt CSG in the SCS recently with its low escort numbers – https://www.cpf.navy.mil/news.aspx/140151 That said, CSG21 is really practicing how we might operate with the complexity including logistics for a larger force in a more high risk scenario. The more the merrier for this type of… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
30 days ago

Hi mate, agree that this escorts issue is a bit of a conundrum. The usual make up of escorts for a US CG consists of 3/4 AB and a Tyco. So in hull numbers the same as ours. Unfortunately the difference is in the capabilities of the units. All call it 4 US units are multi role, can do AAD/ASW and LR Strike. With our units, 2 do AAD, whilst the other 2 do ASW and limited AAW. For RN Plc to bring the same number of capabilities to the party, we would need to up our escort numbers. I… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
30 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Hi Deep, I tend to agree that the ABs are showing their age. Once they get SPY-6 and SPQ-9B (and the latter’s replacement) along with active seekers in ESSM and SM-2, so they can ditch the illuminators, they’ll be in a much better place. Currently I’d be concerned about them handling a saturation attack of surface skimmers. Likewise the USN seems have been a bit complacent about the modern submarine threat, but hopefully the Constellation class will address that. Agree on T83, we need something more capable than a T45 if a sub gets past the ASW screen.

Rogbob
Rogbob
30 days ago

The fundamebtal problem with LSTs is that there are few beaches they can actually use. Doing so tends to cause them damage. It also means they have to close to the shore where its hardest to defend them even with modern weapon systems. All in all, see Bluff Cove where exposed LSTs at the shoreline, unable to beach, were hit badly. In contrast, fast large landing craft operating from a LDP/LHD out at sea are harder to hit, easier to defend (as are their base ships) and less damaging if hit. Hence why the USN, in the exact same cold… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
30 days ago
Reply to  Rogbob

I addressed some of this in my other response, so I won’t repeat it. Bluff Cove was about lacking adequate detection and air defence, the latter in both land/sea based weapons and air cover. Our carriers and escorts would address this. However, a peer conflict with Russia requiring landing reinforcements in Norway wouldn’t even need the Russian Air Force to be present. The Russians could metaphorically launch ASM from ships tied up alongside in Murmansk, aircraft doing circuits over Russia and land based assets in the Russian countryside. Its these modern and improving threats that make Cold War comparisons and… Read more »

Richard B
Richard B
1 month ago

Comments both here and to other related articles indicate a strong desire for the RN to follow the lead of many other mid-size navies and build a couple of LHD’s in the 20,000-30,000t range. Essentially a ship able to carry a dozen helos, with 6 deck spots for a company size air assault, plus a capability to land some heavy equipment by large landing craft. However the experience of the RN is that this is actually a rather specialised solution to a rarely occurring problem. Also the resulting ship is cramped as so much of the internal space in the… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard B

Pretty much Albion and Bulwark if they had not deleted the extra deck from the original design concept .

Pacman27
Pacman27
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard B

you have just described the Karel doorman jalsv Take a look at the spec it does an awful lot very well and has a good balance to what is a multi role vessel and I think it can be improved upon by building around the RAS masts, to close them in ( like elida) and adding some of the Canadian GLAM concept design elements in. 6 merlin or 2 chinook hanger 2 spot chinook landing deck 2 lcvp 2 Rhibs 2,000 lane meter Steel beach Rear ramp 40 tonne crane 8k m3 fuel 1k m3 aviation fuel 450 m3 potable… Read more »

Sean
Sean
1 month ago

The U.K. is not bankrupt as anyone who understands the economy and is not blinkered by political bias will tell you. It’s truly a sad spectacle witnessing a person hate their country so much that they gleefully wish disaster upon it.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Sean

There are many of them it seems, sadly.

Trevor
Trevor
1 month ago
Reply to  Sean

Well said.

Col
Col
1 month ago

Any news on Dragonfire?

Lee Cook
Lee Cook
1 month ago

The concept looks an awful lot like an Albion-class in terms of dimensions and tonnage, though it seems to pack a much more offensive punch with that large/medium calibre gun at the fore. A few air defence missile canisters and it would be an interesting combatant.

Marked
Marked
1 month ago

Give it a deck gun as well for providing its own gunfire support. The escort fleet has enough to do with limited numbers already.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago

They look good. So 8 @ £250M a piece then?

Pacman27
Pacman27
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Perhaps that is the price point we should aim for, although I suspect given most platforms like this are c.£400m each we should be aiming to commit to 8 or even 12 of these at a benchmark price of £300m each. if we can reuse the aegir Hull and apply lessons learned from the tide class, maybe this will be possible. I would stop the £50m upgrade to a bay (why) and transfer to this capability and get it right. 12 of these plus 3 FSS will bring us nicely up to replacing the tides and GMS Scott. cammel Laird… Read more »

Steve
Steve
30 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Zero chance there will be an order of 12 if the unit price is £300m. There just isnt the budget for a another £3.6b in expenditure and I would guess actual price would skyrocket as is always the case when it comes to governmental purchases.

Pacman27
Pacman27
30 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Hi Steve

of course there is budget to spend £300m each year on a major surface support ship.

3 x FSS
4 x MRSS type 1
4 x MRSS type 2
4 x MRSS type 3
HMS Scott replacement
4 x Tides

We have these hull numbers now, so if we are not going replace then we are reducing once again, all because we can’t seem to plan ahead and give industry the certainty it needs to invest.

The MOD must do far better with its equipment budget, especially now it is getting back to 2010 levels.

Steve
Steve
30 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

The question is where is the money coming from? The NAO review stated the current equipment budget was unaffordable and that resulted in the cuts of earlier this year. That unaffordable budget did not include these vessels.

Pacman27
Pacman27
30 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Hi Steve,

understand where you are coming from here and it is a major problem.

we now have so many capability gaps that they are all coming at once, however £300m for a fleet that needs to be replaced is a pittance in the long run.

having said that you are probably right, and we will end up with less, costing more because we are inefficient and the doom loop will continue.

In fairness it will Never stop until all forces start proper fleet management. If Eddie Stobbart can do it why can’t the UK military…

Bob2
Bob2
1 month ago

There might be an opportunity to develop these vessels in collaboration with Italy who are looking to replace the their three San Giorgio-class amphibious transport docks vessels with 2-3 20k ton vessels.

mike grosvenor
mike grosvenor
30 days ago

why hasnt the new ship got any armemantfirepower like phalanx

Cripes
Cripes
30 days ago

I puzzle over the requirement here, what is it we are trying to do that requires a small hybrid LSD/air assault platform? The RM has been reduced to 2 Commandos in the amphibious assault role. They will be much smaller in manpower. Their role will be to carry out brief raids on an enemy coastline, and only where there is a low risk from hostile weapons. There may well be some need for a future smsll aiding force like this, but it is a wholesale reduction from the amphibious capability we have previously enjoyed. In this role, the RM will… Read more »