HMS Albion has arrived in Oman ready to lead the naval element of the largest combined military exercise for UK forces since 2002.

The MoD say that  4,000 British personnel will be tested in the desert alongside Omani forces in temperatures nudging 40ºC.

Commodore James Parkin said:

“HMS Albion represents the very best of the British Armed Forces – able to deploy globally, crammed to the gunwales with modern weapons and sensors, and capable of putting a potent landing force of commandos from sea onto land, at a time and place of our choosing, without having to ask anyone else’s permission.

Albion also represents the best of Britain too – right now she has a ship’s company of 400 men and women, and 200 additional embarked staff and military forces, drawn from all corners of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, from all backgrounds, ages, races, and religions. And with the enormous flight deck, and the cavernous well dock, full of Royal Marines fighting vehicles and landing craft, her sheer scale is as awe inspiring as to our friends as she is terrifying to our enemies.”

According to a press release:

“The tip of the amphibious spear is provided by the Royal Marines of 3 Commando Brigade and numerous constituent parts from the elite amphibious infantry of 40 Commando (based in Taunton), intelligence and information warfare experts of 30 Commando and gunners of 29 Commando Royal Artillery (both from Plymouth), 24 Commando Royal Engineers and Commando Logistic Regiment (both based at Chivenor in north Devon), landing craft/raiding craft specialists of 539 Assault Squadron (Devonport) and the Dorset-based armour of the Viking Squadron.”

Joining them on the ground will be British armour and infantry. Overhead there will be aerial support courtesy of the RAF, Army Air Corps and Fleet Air Arm such as Merlin, Chinook, Wildcat and Apache helicopters from Joint Helicopter Command, RAF Typhoon jets and E-3D Sentry aircraft and the host nations own F-16s.

22 COMMENTS

  1. “……her sheer scale is as awe inspiring as to our friends as she is terrifying to our enemies.”

    Oh good grief.

    • Agree.

      What utter claptrap.

      It’s just an LPD, like plenty of others.

      That those words come from a Commodore make them even worse.

      Say that about a Vanguard, not an LPD.

      • Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of either her or Bulwark.

        But she’s not quite as terrifying as HMS Warspite unloading full broadsides, is she?

        Should have written it like: “…she is a welcome sight to friends and allies, and a potent reminder of the United Kingdom’s Amphibious Capabilities. But we won’t mention the loss of Largs Bay and Ocean.”

      • I once heard a rear admiral talk of the ‘Royal Navy adapting to the defence markets of the early 21st century’ …….

        They have to say something in these media obsessed days. But…….

    • Coildn’t Agree more. A bit Hornblower! Did Cedric the intern write that? ‘Pitiful stuff’, as Captain Jack might say…HUZZAH!

  2. Also like the Commodore’s line about Albion’s ‘enormous flight deck’

    If 2 spots and no hangars is ‘enormous’ imagine how excited he’d be about a Canberra Class LHD’s 6 spots and hangar space below decks for up to 18 helos.

    http://images.defence.gov.au/20180602USAF00000_001_1.jpg

    Or for that matter the 1,000 plus troops (1,600 on overload) HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide can each deliver to shore.

    That PR release surely is the definition of hubris.

    • An American admiral might get away with it speaking about an ARG, but even then only in the context of it being one of a number and then as part of a greater whole.

      Albion’s aviation facilities were chopped on the ‘drawing board’ as part of a cost cutting measure.

      We really do need a new class of large dock ships to complement the carriers.

    • Who cares about “Canberra” class, with its 6 helo spots! Hms Queen Elizabeth is what you should have said, it can hold 70 aircraft and far more helo spots, and it’s British and is a great asset for the RM commando helicopter force.

      • Actually no it can’t.

        The QE Class is 280 metres in length or 50 metres longer than the Canberra Class, But the long narrow bow section on the QE means it has only 5 spots aligned along the port side. However her massive beam (more than twice the width of the LHDs flight deck) provides for a sixth spot on the starboard side stern. So despite the massive flight deck it has the same number of spots.

        QE was originally stated to have capacity to embark 250 troops but more recent statements in the UK Parliament quote up to 900 (presumably overload) compared to a Canberra’s 1000 troops or 1600 on overload.

        What it doesn’t have is a well dock or landing craft so its going to take some time to get them all ashore – about 30 Merlin or Chinook sorties (even if operating with Albions or Bays that do have landing craft)

  3. They should have said, look at our lpd, packed with no serious defensive weaponry and not escorted, a clear sign to our enermies that the royal navy is over stretched and doesn’t represent a realistic threat.

    More seriously, I do wonder if these missions are just about jobs for the boys and defence deals / floating cocktail bar (which hardly add anything to the UK economy) and nothing to do with strategic military messages.

  4. She should be replaced ASAP by a 30,000 ton vessel with full flight deck, docking wells, and room for 2 battalions of commandos.

    • I agree but we need two so we always have 1 available. But two 30,000t would be great you could Fit a couome battalionson it aswell. Hms Albion and bulwark will need to be replaced in a decade or so so I hope our Millitary is thinking ahead as the Royal Marines amphibious force is one of Britains world leading capabilitys along with the RM commando helicopter force that will be operating from Hms QE and PW, but it would be better if they could operate from the same ship as our amphibious troops in larger number than a two spot helo deck!

      • When these go out of service, they won’t be replaced.

        To me we need to firstly add a portable hanger to them.

        Then we need to think about how we arm our capital ships. Having no missile defense, only works when there is sufficient escorts to cover them, as that is not the case and they operate solo, something like seaRAM needs to be reconsidered.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here