Both assault ships are to remain on their current schedule to be retired from service in the early 2030s.

In what is now an annual trend, speculation has been mounting that the Albion class LPDs would be retired earlier.

Luke Pollard, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, asked via a written Parliamentary question.

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the out of service dates for HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark have changed as a result of the Integrated Review.”

Jeremy Quin, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, replied:

“The out of service dates for HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark have not changed as a result of the Integrated Review. Both ships remain on their current schedule to be removed from service in the early 2030s.”

The out-of-service dates for HMS ALBION and HMS BULWARK will remain 2033 and 2034 respectively.

What do the Albions do?

In the words of her operators, the Royal Navy, the role of the HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion, is to ‘deliver the punch of the Royal Marines ashore by air and by sea, with boats from the landing dock in the belly of the ship and by assault helicopter from the two-spot flight deck’.

The LPDs can carry 256 troops, with their vehicles and combat supplies, and this can be swollen up to 405 troops.

The ships act as the afloat command platform for the Royal Navy’s Amphibious Task Force and Landing Force Commanders when embarked.

A former Defence Secretary had warned that withdrawing the Albion class would ‘end British amphibious capability’. Lord Hutton was speaking during a debate on British defence forces in the House of Lords where he said:

“I am absolutely opposed to the United Kingdom acting unilaterally—for example, by announcing the end of our effective amphibious capability. I do not believe that the QE2 class carriers—they are brilliant ships and I am proud to see them serving in the Royal Navy—have the equivalent capability. Neither do the Bay class ships. They are incapable of supporting and mounting large-scale amphibious operations with the fighting vehicles that the Army now has.

Our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan led us, rightly, to conclude that they needed to be better protected: they needed to be stronger, heavier vehicles. We need “Bulwark” and “Albion” to retain that capability. So we must tread pretty carefully. I am all in favour of the defence industry co-operating with government in the efficiency review: I think they should. I am certainly in favour of our thinking carefully about how we use the overseas aid and defence budgets together to secure greater security results.

HMS Albion operating at night.

But it is hard to avoid the obvious conclusion that we will need to spend more now to preserve UK effective capabilities. The painful lesson from history is that spending less on defence does not make us more secure; it does not make those threats go away, it just makes us less able to deal with them.”

Lord West of Spithead, a Former First Sea Lord, has argued that Britain’s security and prosperity requires amphibious capability. Writing in Politics Home, the former naval chief argues for the retention of the vessels that rumours say may be axed.

He states:

“Under fire particularly, it seems, is our invaluable amphibious capability. So what exactly is this amphibious capability? Britain’s security and prosperity requires unimpeded maritime access and transit. As an island nation, the country needs a broadly maritime strategy – one that has sea control at its core, but which enables power and influence to be projected inland. Indeed, being an island, all operations beyond our shores are expeditionary and demand theatre entry. Strike carriers and amphibious forces are the enablers for this theatre entry capability. The true fighting power of a navy is its ability to ensure entry around the world using carrier air and amphibious forces and to cause sea denial using carrier air and SSNs. Since 1945 this entry capability has been used over 10 times including Korea, Suez, Kuwait (1962) pre-empting Iraqi planned invasion, Brunei, Falkland Islands, Sierra Leone and the Al Faw. And the Royal Marines have been in almost continuous operations consisting of 30 different campaigns.”

American General Ben Hodges, commander of the US Army in Europe, has said that he was worried that British forces were already stretched too far. The General was quoted in the Financial Times as saying:

“British forces have global commitments right now. Any reduction in capability means you cannot sustain those commitments. That creates a gap. I don’t know what the magic number is, but I do know that we need the capability that the British army provides, and any reduction in that causes a problem for the alliance as well as for the United States.”

Hodges served as a battalion executive officer with the 101st Airborne before becoming Aide-de-camp to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe in August 1995. He became a battalion commander in the 101st Airborne in 1997. He was Congressional Liaison Officer at the Office of the Chief of Legislative Liaison between 1999 and 2000.

After graduating from the National War College in 2001, Hodges served at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk. Taking command of the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne in 2002, Hodges led the brigade in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Not long ago, American Colonel Dan Sullivan said cuts to the Royal Marines and the loss of two amphibious assault ships would change the military relationship between the US and UK.

“My message is to articulate how important having that capability in our partner is. And how damaging I think it would be if our most important coalition partner potentially takes the hits that are projected right now. If you want to be decisive you have to be able to project power ashore at some point. From a military standpoint as the UK continues to diminish and as the Royal Marines in particular take a hit, I think that our view of what we will be able to do together in the future changes.”

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David
David
5 months ago

Lord Hutton, former Labour MP for Barrow in Furness defended the town against potential cuts by Labour and was willing to fall on his sword if needed. Great MP, was with him in Ulverston for a Remembrance Parade back in the noughties before moving to the RBL whereupon the submarine service piled in and it was a great afternoon. Subject in question, watched both launched and watched both sail out of Barrow dock – and that was a tight fit – reach out and touch. Given small forces of circa 250 personnel operating around the world are these not ideal… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
5 months ago

Given the announcement about conversion of a Bay class to an LSS role, retention of the LPDs is no surprise. Before the IR I had expected them to go early to free up funding for other projects. Although precise numbers are hard to pin down, I can’t see that that the announced cuts across all 3 services are big enough to balance the equipment budget. In 4/5 years time, we will hit another overspend crisis.

julian1
julian1
5 months ago

I don’t know whether I’m impressed that a shadow Labour minister has asked this question – particularly when his brief is DEFRA. I wonder what motivated his interest?

Paul
Paul
5 months ago
Reply to  julian1

He is one of the three MP’s for Plymouth which is usually split between Labour and the Conservatives.
To be fair, the Labour MP’s have, over the years, always given the Marines and Royal Dockyard a lot more support than the local city council. More so than the Conservative MP’s who, until recently, tended to just nod and toe the party line whilst accepting the flow of men and materiel to Rosyth and Portsmouth

julian1
julian1
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul

yes, i thought there must be a constituency interest

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Paul. There are two Plymouth Mp’s one Labour and one Conservative. I can’t argue about your comments about our Labour friends on the City Council but I would make a plea for Johnny Mercer, Conservative Moor View. He is ex Army and has probably done more for veterans in the last three years than the rest did in the previous thirty.
Incidentally I’m not aware of any ships moving to Rosyth or Portsmouth, certainly not in recent years anyway.

Sjb1968
Sjb1968
5 months ago
Reply to  julian1

He is MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport.

Herodotus
5 months ago
Reply to  julian1

Well that’s two reasons to be cheerful then Julian 1, someone saved our ships and a Labour MP interested in defence issues. Happy days 😁

Last edited 5 months ago by Herodotus
The Artist Formerly Known as Los Pollos Chicken
The Artist Formerly Known as Los Pollos Chicken
5 months ago

All the shite about this platform getting cut 😂 so many dafties in here baw bawing shite about stuff getting axed and complaining about every piece of positive news . I really should go have a look at the posts where some eeeeeeeddddddddiiiiiiiioooooooottttt (canny mind who?) Cos there’s so many U.K. armed forces haters in here had this written off! Aye just like tanks marines, paras etc etc and everything else that was apparently for the bin ….👋🏻💩💩💩💩💩 Great vessels , great news the DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince of amphibious landing capabilities 👊🏼💯 world class when utilised with… Read more »

Herodotus
5 months ago

So eloquent, couldn’t have put it better myself 😊.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
5 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Ha ha! Brilliant comment. 🙂

The Artist Formerly Known as Los Pollos Chicken
The Artist Formerly Known as Los Pollos Chicken
5 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Indeed ya cheeky old Kent ye 😂👋🏻

Herodotus
5 months ago

Actually, I was born in Kent….how did you know😉.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
5 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Hali–Kent-assus?

Something different
Something different
5 months ago

😂

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago

😁 Aye, give that man a Cigar.

Herodotus
5 months ago

Feathers a bit ruffled?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Afternoon H. Not at all! I was agreeing with him! He has a way with words.

Herodotus
5 months ago

You can say that again! I would love to see him do some articles for the Guardian…..perhaps a critique on INDE 2 vote!

Andy P
Andy P
5 months ago

It doesn’t matter what the subject is, forums and sites like this will attract an element of ‘knicker wetters’, the joys of sharing opinions I guess.

As for these vessels staying, definitely good news, hopefully they’ll (eventually) be replaced by similar vessels.

Jonathan
Jonathan
5 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

Everyone pisses their pants at some point, it’s like death and taxes.

Jonathan
Jonathan
5 months ago

I literally have no idea who or what DJ jazzy Jeff is, tots lost.

The Artist Formerly Known as Los Pollos Chicken
The Artist Formerly Known as Los Pollos Chicken
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Aye carumba 😳 please man tell me you are joking ? I mean come on there are some old gyts in here with some Neville Chamberlin type views but seriously your telling me you’ve never watched “ The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”?😳 im not gonna lie man the educational setup pre El Tonio Blair produced far more culturally rounded peeps. The kind of smooth operators who had no problem flying Tornado Gr3 and dropping JP233 bombs and not worry about what amnesty international had to moan and bitch about it …..anyways I wax lyrical the hit “ Boom shake the… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
5 months ago

I’ve watched a bit of fresh prince, but music wise I was always more acid house and rock that America rap, I my memories of the late 80s is a bit vague as I was either studying ecosystems, sat in mountain streams ( yes I studied Mountain stream ecosystems, very cold indeed), climbing up a mountain, sliding down down a mountain at speed, drunk or hospitalised after drunkenly falling down a mountain (a Scottish one actually). Which lead to my chemical Brothers and studying healthcare move into Emergency medicine phase.

The Artist Formerly Known as Los Pollos Chicken
The Artist Formerly Known as Los Pollos Chicken
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

👍🏻 Yes I’m glad you chose a Scots mountain to slide down as we have the best ones 😉 this shows your a man of good choice 👍🏻

superstar DJ’s here we go…………….

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🇬🇧👍🏻

BB85
BB85
5 months ago

Good news. I assume their replacements will follow the MRSS ships probably something with a similar Hull design.

John Stevens
John Stevens
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Agree. Good news, had a feeling they would remain in service – Looking at the white paper back in March. Seemed to show they would still be there on the page with the ship silhouettes for the 2030 envisaged fleet. I also think the plans for the British army look quite interesting. I think the idea of Brigade combat teams with the hopefully upgraded equipment is about right. For an army of 100,000 fully trained regulars and reserves, I think that will be about the right balance, following country’s like the USA. The only thing i’m a little bit disappointed… Read more »

julian1
julian1
5 months ago
Reply to  John Stevens

not sure it is 100,000 though is it – its less than 80,000. And forget the reserves since “fully trained” and “reserves” don’t go together anyway – not for the tune of 20,000 at any rate

James H
James H
5 months ago
Reply to  julian1

100,000 is the spin that’s being put on the cuts to try and make out they are not cuts, you should see how passionate bob stewart was yesterday in parliament talking about it.

John Stevens
John Stevens
5 months ago
Reply to  julian1

Hi.. Yup, 72,500 fully trained regulars, but was Just making the point that there are around 100,000 fully trade trained soldiers when adding the trained reserves. But of course not all mobilised. Usually in the hundreds any given time.. For example, reserves often deployed in Cyprus.

Something different
Something different
5 months ago
Reply to  John Stevens

It’s seems divisions are increasingly not in vogue across world while brigades of one variety or another seem to be ‘in thing’. Is it just because armies increasingly have less troops so divisions are going the way of army groups or is some other factor at play?

TrevorH
TrevorH
5 months ago

I’d have thought so. Starting from mid 1914-18 the size of battalions and thus brigades and the number of brigades in divisions have gone down, and the firepower has gone up, as has manoeuvreability and the range of artillery.

John Stevens
John Stevens
5 months ago

I think also, having more self – contained brigades is attractive these day’s. Listened to a guy talking yesterday on the Forces news site.. Commentating on the Brigade combat team issue. He said that Russia and China are now following the more self – contained brigade structure to. So it seems smaller or larger armies are going in the same direction when it comes to brigade build. I think more details will be released during the summer time about the British army brigades and units?

Pacman27
Pacman27
5 months ago
Reply to  John Stevens

this makes sense when you think about it. almost everything on the planet can be targeted and destroyed and it is more difficult than at any time in the past to stack a force to your advantage without being seen, so the days of massing a division or 2 on someones flank are gone. A dispersed army is more survivable in the above context, offering pockets of resistance at targeted points, it is essentially organised guerrilla warfare on a peer to peer basis. We need to expect that going forward in a peer confrontation, large amounts of people and materials… Read more »

John Stevens
John Stevens
5 months ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Yes, well said

Ulya
Ulya
5 months ago
Reply to  John Stevens

John, Russia is mostly brigades but western military district does have 3 motor rifle divisions and 1 tank division, each about 10,000 strong and based on 3 rifle/tank Regiment instead of of usual 4 from Soviet days. The 4 VDV divisions are each getting their 3 Regiment back to take them to full division strength of about 8,600 but that will change as they start getting a tank battalion each and increase of artillery and air defence

John Stevens
John Stevens
5 months ago
Reply to  Ulya

Thank you for the very detailed information, Appreciated.

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

I get the sense the RN is aiming for 2x LHDs to replace these, it is conventionally roling the QEs and the LSDAs will become more multi role dock/avn/troop/“space” that can operate independently (as Fort Vic and XXXX Bay hve for years) and then alongside these as required.
How this will work budget wise…

Meirion X
Meirion X
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

The USN/USMC is looking at Stern Landing Ships as replacements for LPD’s.

Last edited 5 months ago by Meirion X
Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Well that’s just daft of them I feel 🙂 If 70 years since mass vehicle landings were invented have taught us anything, it’s that docks and organic landing craft are far more applicable to actual landing geography and far more flexible in general. Are we really going to learn this lesson again? The US have perfected amphibious ops with the LHD/LPD/LSD triad, why fk with what works? Yeah some SLVs might be useful in lieu of say an entirely T-AKR fleet especially for follow on forces, but roll-on roll-off is also now established as far more efficient and flexible than… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

There are two main drivers to the USMC Light Amphibious Warship that MeirionX is referencing. The increasing vulnerability of large USMC focused ships ships and the need for a more distributed and flexible USMC presence in Asia. General Berger, USMC Commandant, said in his 2019 ’38th Planning Guidance’ – “We recognize that we must distribute our forces ashore given the growth of adversary precision strike capabilities, so it would be illogical to continue to concentrate our forces on a few large ships. The adversary will quickly recognize that striking while concentrated (aboard ship) is the preferred option.” He further states… Read more »

Paul C
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

I suspect it will be MRSS to replace both Albions and Bays, no LHDs. Personally I think this is a sensible route which offers flexibility and availability at modest cost. Follow the LHD route and you run the risk of sacrificing one of the carriers in the longer term. Would the RN be prepared to do this? I somehow doubt it. Better to have 5/6 multi-role hulls which are more suited to how the RM will be used in future.

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul C

I think they’ll split much as LSS E and W (N) have between a higher capable Western ship (RN) with potential to restore formation assualt, and a smaller Eastern type more sub-unit to Cdo sized (RFA). I know thats a bit due to legacy of LPD and LSD but it works better for what we want. 2 LHDs and 3-4 MRSS / LHD(A) ensures we can do different scales of operation whilst also having persistance. Pretty much as 2 LPD and 3 LSD(A) have enabled us to do. Moving to an all MRSS lacks that scalability and is overly customised… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

No, wrong sort of ship for landing equipment direct to shore! It would be better to eventually replace the Albions with Stern Landing Ships.

Last edited 5 months ago by Meirion X
Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

In 1982 we had 6 beach capable landing ships in our Task Force. Not a single one beached due to concerns that the terrain would damage ships, exacerbated by the lack of practice due to the costs whenever a beaching was done. The only reasons vast amounts of people, vehicles, kit and stores could get ashore was organic docks and landing craft. The landing craft were essential to unload conventional ships used to augment the force as there was no port at all. The overwhelming lesson was “have docks and have landing craft with you”, hence the UK spending its… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Thanks for the info about the Falklands Task force landing ships!
It seems landing craft are a better way of landing stores.

Last edited 5 months ago by Meirion X
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Don’t forget those workhorses, the Mexefloats!

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
5 months ago

Have you been at Think Defence!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Lol, yes they’re obsessed. Containers too.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago

Or was it bridging.

Jonathan
Jonathan
5 months ago

Interestingly from what I can tell the Australians being a neat and tidy bunch paint there Mexefloats the same colour as their ships, so they blend in and don’t clashes.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
5 months ago

Government now has its eye on the ball as far as shipbuilding goes – well, they have a plan at least. Common sense would dictate that the LPD replacement is based on a common hull with the FSSS and maybe MRSS too.

That, or MRSS is a direct replacement for LPD, in which case we best hope HMG are going to buy at least 6 MRSS as is the current commonly speculated figure

Last edited 5 months ago by Levi Goldsteinberg
Meirion X
Meirion X
5 months ago

MRSS would most likely need a functioning port to unload equipment ashore. What if you port is damaged or destroyed?

Last edited 5 months ago by Meirion X
Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

All the indications are that it’ll have a dock and landing craft.

Plus this isnt about seizing Cherbourg or Antwerp to send 21st Army Group through, but more about Lofoten and commando raids in general.

Paul C
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Yes, MRSS will most likely have a stern dock and landing craft as well as a large helicopter deck.

Paul C
5 months ago

My understanding is that MRSS replaces both the Albions and Bays. Up to 6 hulls of one class that can be configured for different roles. To me this makes sense as opposed to multiple classes which ends up being unaffordable. As Peter S. says above the next overspend crisis is never far away so best to keep ambitions modest rather than risk ending up with nothing at all.

Rob
Rob
5 months ago

Good news until the early 2030s that we will still have amphibious capability. Long term though they surely need to replace these two ships with 2 LHDs. That way we get to keep the ability to launch LCUs and keep the assault helicopters off the QEs thus allowing them to do their primary task which is as a Fleet Aircraft Carrier. If the new LHDs were large enough and had a ramp we could even forward base a few F35Bs to directly support the Commandos (like the US MAGTF).

Meirion X
Meirion X
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob

LHD’s are Not the answer to land large amount of equipment ashore, especially if your ports are destroyed!
And if it is too windy for the helos?

Last edited 5 months ago by Meirion X
Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

We don’t have large amounts of equipment to land anyway.

Helos managed well in the South Atlantic, if the weather is worse than that, then nobody will be doing much on land or sea or air!

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob

I agree – but lets not waste time and effort with ramps and maintenance facilities and ALIS security hoops and weapon stores and all the 100s of associated people. Our F35B force is insanely expensive and requires a lot of embarked support – that is the QEs job and justification (and indeed we’ll barely be utilising the carrier capacity we already have). Provided one can land on and take off as a lily pad or in emergency that is sufficient. We’ll struggle to justify a through deck for a replacement, hell the current ships don’t even have a hangar –… Read more »

Rob
Rob
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

It is realistic. The Albion’s cost £225 million (2005 prices). Mistral, for example, cost E451 million (£391 million, 2012 prices). So they are more expensive but remember we are replacing HMS Ocean too. Also S Korea, Italy, Taiwan & others are getting these ships and driving costs down. With 2 LHDs we’d have one E of Suez and one in home waters. I do agree that putting F35B on would be costly and probably unaffordable though. Each LHD could have 6 Commando Merlin’s (or the replacement of), a couple of Chinooks and a mix of 4 to 6 Apache and… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob

I agree something something mistral is doable, but not an America LHA nor do I think the Aussies were right on retaining the ramp on the Canberras.

I am not convicned the US really will sustain the penny packet of F35Bs on its ships due to the logistics and support requirements. Hence why I think they are looking at more, smaller but dedicated carriers to provide that.

Paul C
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob

We do not need LHDs for raiding and supporting fleet operations, which is how the RM are going to be used in future. I cannot see how these are a priority for the RN going forward when there are so many other pressing issues. As for LHDs operating F35Bs, forget it. Better to stick with MRSS as currently planned than end up losing one of the carriers to fund something which is nice to have if the money is there but definitely not essential.

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul C

You do if you want more than a sub-unit. The RMs are keeping 2 of the 3 main Cdos on C21 lines so these are intended to operate at unit level which requires a more substantial ship. I dont see raiding/supporting fleet ops as the only raison de etre for the RMs in any doctrine – simply that it is moving away from the full Bde/formation asslt and embracing some forward presence alongside afloat SF. What we are doing is moving from a formation+ full AWS into a more 2 tier arrangement, albeit it has scope to combine back again… Read more »

Paul C
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Personally I think this is over-ambitious. The reason the command paper is so vague is that nothing is set in stone. People are getting ahead of themselves in a heady atmosphere of positivity that most likely will not last. 5-10 years from now what kind of overspend crisis will we be facing? There are just too many plates spinning to start bringing LHDs into the mix. Tempest, Dreadnought, T32, T83 etc., the list is a long one. What RUSI says, what France does or what you and I believe are not really relevant here. The MoD has its priorities and… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul C

What RUSI says is very relevant, as of course is France because of the connections and influence both have on policy. But I agree that what you say is not relevant, especially as you seem overly weighed down with depression on what might occur. What we are seeing is the development of an LHD plan. We had the LSS idea which got some budget (but was kind of nuts initially that wed have double the US SF platforms – a requriement that we dont really have). Now the MRSS which has some budget. This is a world forward from just… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

I’d agree with some of that, but for the reasons I responded with previously, I don’t see MRSS as a dock based ship. This is due to the vulnerability of large platforms, positioned relatively close inshore, for relatively long periods of time; necessitated by having to use landing craft, or worse mexaflote, to off load personnel, stores and vehicles. This is going to become a critical exposure in a world of persistent surveillance from LEO satellites. The Damen LST 120 concept is closer to what I see for MRSS. It supports RO-RO for most operations but when it has to… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Glass Half Full
Sjb1968
Sjb1968
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul C

Unfortunately none of us can see into the future and in 1981 Mr Knott wanted to scrap our two LPDs. Events proved him wrong and the current rationale for raiding is actually code for cutting our amphibious capability,which our US allies would take a very dim view of. Multi role replacements for the Bays with docking capability is required along with two small LHD’s. These ships do not need to be too complex or expensive but they are required if we are to maintain our commitment to NATO’s northern flank and give ourselves a limited but credible intervention capability. Ultimately,… Read more »

Paul C
5 months ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

I cannot see LHDs being built alongside maintaining 2 carriers and MRSS for Bay class replacement. When Fearless and Intrepid were reprieved the options for eventual replacement did not include like-for-like LPDs (or LHDs) and we most definitely had a commitment to the northern flank and an intervention capability. In fact the previous Mason review (1975) began the run-down of the assault role and indicated that no further specialist ships would be built. The carriers should be seen as power projection tools in their own right rather than being tied to the amphibious capability. If that were the case we… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul C

The carriers are seen in that role and have already been de-linked hence why PoW didnt get mods to be a giant LPH. Mason in 75 was just reflecting the withdrawal from EoS (and the Med) and that the CVSG program meant nothing could be planned until after that had finished, amphib wise both LPDs, all the LSLs and a fully combat capable 3 Cdo Bde remained as was seen a few years later. Indeed the RN’s ability to use its amphbious forces in a concentrated manner in 82 was only possible because it was no longer dispersed as it… Read more »

Paul C
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

You are of course free to believe what you want. My own position remains that LHDs are not a priority for how the assault role will develop in future. The Mason review was laying the ground for the decomissioning of the LPDs at the next review due in 1980 as the defence budget continued to shrink and ASW became the overriding priority. There is no depression on my part, only realism re. what we are and are not serious about and what the budgetary situation is and will be 10 years from now. Like it or not, everything comes down… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul C

As are you, and your negativity has the right to be entirely wrong. Your references to a half arsed defence review in the middle of economic turmpoil that makes today look calm, half a century ago, and which didnt actually happen, still make no sense. The facts are there in front of you, – LPDs retained, with C4 and heavy landing craft plus large troop lift – LSDAs retained with docks, landing craft and sealift and now getting better aviation facilities for indpt ops – LSS which lacked warship standard build and lacked a dock – funding for replacing current… Read more »

Nic
Nic
5 months ago

The is good news , It will give the industry a chance to build or convert replacement ships

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago

No surprise. If anyone saw the leaked slides on FCF one forms part of LSS ( N )

If a major operation is required the 2 LSS combine, if necessary with the QEC group.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
5 months ago

These are two non event speeches followed by a “look at me” question. Gavin Williamson confirmed that Albion and Bulwark would stay in service until the 2030’s back in 2019. This was confirmed by Ben Wallace last year and again in the ISDR.. They are here to stay.

Mike
Mike
5 months ago

These are very flexible vessels and it is good news that they are to remain in service.

Pacman27
Pacman27
5 months ago

I am delighted these vessels are being retained – it just makes sense, more so than upgrading a Bay for a few years instead of investing the £40m into a new vessel.

perhaps adding in a hanger to these would be a better spend of that £40m, but I will leave that for others to decide.

Very good assets, too often under utilised but at least that means they are in reasonable condition.

Ron
Ron
5 months ago

Good, we need these ships, I do keep thinking that if we can keep them in good order we could use them as mother ships when we get new replacements. As for replacements I really do think we need to go down the LHD route. We cannot afford to use the carriers in the LHP role, we cannot afford a dedicated LPH and LPDs but we could possibly afford two LHDs such as the S.Korean Dokdo class. Possibly we could do a tech exchange with the S.Koreans, some of our carrier tech for the Dokdo plans.

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Ron

I agree, in an ideal world we’d have replaced our 2 LPDs (great C4 and lift but zero aviation) with the 2 spare Mistrals – as interim pending FLHD for the late 2020s and when the Carrier Strike program would be complete.

LSD(A) replacement something like Elidah so can do troops, boats&dock, aviation and a limited replentishment/command for the enduring forward deployed ships. Can then also slot alongside the LHD as reinforcement. Ideally 4 ships for the 3 Bays and Argus, 2 LSG allocated and 2 LHD allocated (1 likely being refit/reserve or training).

Rob
Rob
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Yes and when these new ships are launched we could get that dance group from Oz that just launched HMAS Supply!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-56754868

Ron
Ron
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

I understand your point, I myself have argued that possibly for forward deployed RM Commandos the Damen Crossovers would be a good choice. In fact Damen have several versions the Crossover Combattant could be the base for the T32 whilst the Damen Amphibious could be the LSS these could combine with a LHD to make a Amphib Assault Group. A Combattant can carry 128 RM Commando’s whilst the Amphibious version carries 200 However the Mintral? The spare Mintrals that you are thinking of went to Egypt, they also cost about £400 million each. Also there is something about them that… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Ron

I agree on 2 LHDs, I figured the Mistrals were good enough for an interim, named Alliance and Resistance 🙂 I also think the Ellida (corrected my earlier sp!) is a good basis for Bay replacement and a 2:4 basis could work nicely, although the Bays are hardly old yet so if they can be modified with a better hanger that allows us to focus on the LPD replacement. Noting this also covers Argus in terms of having the medical/reconfigurable spaces and decks etc. I’m less keen on the Damen concept, too much in too little, and the T32 I… Read more »

Rob
Rob
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

If we had got the two Mistrals built for Russia, which I agree would have been a great option, being French we should have called them Temeraire & Arganought after french ships of the line captured in the Revolutionary & Napoleonic Wars.

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Hmmm, hardly in the spirit of them doing a deal with us though 🙂 Whilst celebrating a hundred years (meh, close enough most of the time) of alliance and how integrated we and their resistence were would be a pretty cool PR line to have, and they are good names with pedigree. Temeraire should have been an SSN by now, Agincourt likewise if we had more Astutes. Overall, I get the sense the RN is going to keep shifting the LSS-MRSS debate towards LHDs and the OSD past 2030 (e LPDs are ij great nick and the LSDs are pretty… Read more »

James
James
5 months ago

We need not only to maintain them, but need at least 2 helicopter/drone carriers to give our amphibious forces the cover they need. The Elizabeth class carriers are way too risky for such missions

Last edited 5 months ago by James
Andrew D
Andrew D
5 months ago

Nice to get good news remember been on HMS Intrepid many moon’s ago no doubt the ships now more capable and interesting to see the the USA wanting the UK not two cut them .Wish there could of saved Army numbers ,but let’s be happy for the RN 😀

Frank62
Frank62
5 months ago

A welcome outbreak of sanity. Bit concerned about “swollentroops”-sounds painful.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
5 months ago

Old ships! Had a great 3 years as the Warrant Weapons on Bulwark, my last sea draft in the RN. its good to see them being retained as they are immensley flexible in what they can do. Landing big formations with vehicles and Logy support via LCU landing craft or deploying small units via ORKs and LCVPs for riverine insertion. They also performed a huge security task during the Olympics acting as the offshore security hub during the regatta.Deploying cutters, LCU, LCVP and Helos as well as controlling the surface security picture. There use as future drone deployers will also… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
5 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Do you think the RN will ever get a new helicopter carried again in time ?

John Clark
John Clark
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Highly unlikely Andrew……

Kevin Garrigan
Kevin Garrigan
5 months ago

I have been saying for last 10 years we should go on a war footing to build our Arm Forces people lough i z you will be lough’g on the over side of your face The Russians are building up a Massive force on the Border of Ukraine NATO gone on High alert now who lough’g me think to late building these new ships for Royal Navy we want them now. and we are Running out of Time.

Andrew D
Andrew D
5 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Garrigan

With you on this one.

David Flandry
David Flandry
5 months ago

The two ships should be replaced by two small commando carriers, with two heavy landing ships along side.