HMS Albion heads to the Baltic Sea to lead a multinational task group in support of European security, say the Royal Navy.

Thousands of UK armed forces personnel will take part in the first UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) maritime deployment.

According to a news release:

“HMS Albion carries the joint staff who will command the deployment – codenamed Baltic Protector – drawn from the Plymouth-based headquarters of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines and the staff of the Commander of the Amphibious Task Group.

It marks the first deployment of the military force which comprises of nine nations including the UK, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. At its peak a total of 3,850 sailors, marines, soldiers, and airmen will take part in the deployment along with more than 17 naval vessels in the Baltic region.”

Captain Peter Laughton, the Commanding Officer of HMS Albion, said:

“I am really proud of the work my team has completed to prepare HMS Albion for this unique and exciting deployment. This deployment represents the largest UK-led operational deployment of a military force in Europe for decades and demonstrates our ability to react quickly and decisively to any crisis in the world.”

The first phase of Baltic Protector is an exercise in the western Baltic and eastern North Sea, before the task group joins the US-led Exercise Baltops.

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Lusty
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Lusty

Deployment also including at least RFA Argus and HMS Kent and some P2000’s I believe.

Will be interesting to see the photos from this one!

Steve Taylor
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Steve Taylor

Especially the Archers used in (faux) anger.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

You read my mind Lusty, was going to ask. Thank you.

Lyme Bay is also involved with 45 Cdo Group.

Why the P2000’s???

Lusty
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Lusty

Yes, Lyme Bay is also joining the deployment, with 6 helicopters and 6 P2000’s.

P2000’s have deployed to the Baltic before, mostly just to visit local communities, a bit of flag waving and provide some training for the students onboard. Yet, similar to the RN hawks, they can be used in an aggressor role, locating and reporting locations of warships, harassing them and testing their defences in a variety of conventional and often unconventional ways.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

I’m interested in that sort of thing concerning the Archers.

Used by the URNU’s I know but could they have a more useful role, like use in the English Channel?

As for harassing warships, rather them than me. Sitting Ducks in war surely? What are these unconventional ways???

David B
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David B

Any FAC is a sitting duck, but, several attacking together and only one needs to get luckt and your HVT is a gonna… hence, the opportunity to practice in the Baltic because if the Swedes add their numbers of FAC and all the calculations of the Braid stating that the FACs could be taken care of, might be seen to add up to the wrong conclusion

Lusty
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Lusty

Yes, I wouldn’t like to be sat in one when the shooting starts, put it that way. Though fortunately, I don’t think they’d be used in that way – they’d more likely be used as basic harbour/waterway patrol and recovery craft. I believe the harrassing part is more part of their current role, rather than something they would do. Could be used in the Channel I suppose, but that boils down to requirements to an extent – OPVs, border force and fisheries patrol vessels are all regularly out there,each working towards a different goal but still providing an element of… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Thank you Lusty. For me the Archers in the Channel is about presence. Week after week reading reports of illegals trying to cross, smugglers, weakness at our smaller ports and airfields, and so on. There is no harm in showing some commitment, some actual positive action, now and then in allocating additional assets. Rather than the hollow words we are used to from HMG. I believe even including Border Force and the RN FPS the assets are few. The Archers are numerous and widely dispersed around the UK so I would support their use. RAS for an Archer??!! That I… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Sorry I did not respond to your last sentence!

You have a long memory. That article produced some fond and hilarious memories for me..even though some did not see the funny side!

Lusty
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Lusty

No worries, but ah, that article! Fun indeed.

Agree with presence – I would argue for a future increase in small vessel numbers, maybe an extra Magpie survey vessel as the current one appears to be working at quite a pace.

Nick C
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Nick C

Bearing in mind that life in the Gulf could get interesting quite soon, having a few P2000’s to simulate Iranian swarm tactics will keep everyone on their toes. And driving the small boats to try and upset the big ones could also be quite a lot of fun!

Cam
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Cam

There’s been many times in history where small boats or mini submarines have defeated huge battleships and the like. It’s not all about fighting frigates and destroyers.

Cam
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Cam

Yeah and the p2000 are fitted for but didn’t get 20mm cannons. And there speed was almost halved due to the engine choice of the p2000s.

David B
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David B

I thought it was HMS Westminster.

Geoffrey Hicking
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Geoffrey Hicking

I can only presume that there is absolutely zero chance of us building any through-deck assault ships in the next 20 years? Anyone know?

GWM
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GWM

The RN will be too nervous of the Treasury saying they can get rid of a carrier if they have other flat tops so don’t think so.

Nick C
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Nick C

I doubt anyone knows yet, and I don’t think that our current LPD’s are due for replacement until the 2030’s. At present full length flight decks are the fashion, will that still be the case at that point? It may be that, assuming that they are replaced, we stick with what we had before, LPD’s plus one or two LPH’s. I have no doubt that some set of bright sparks are already having a go at scheming out what it might look like, but we won’t know for another ten years!

Lusty
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Lusty

BAE drew up some plans for an Ocean replacement, partially detailed on here.

Not sure if it will go anywhere in terms of an Albion class replacement, but it’s worth noting.

DaveyB
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DaveyB

There is a major benefit of having a “through deck” design compared to just an aft flight deck. With a through deck you can have faster turn rounds and near continuous ops. However, with just an aft deck you have to choregraph the landings and take offs more carefully to maintain separation. If we could build a couple of landing platform docks like HMAS Canberra, they would be a worthy replacement for Ocean as well as Albion/Bulwark. The carrot with the Treasury would be that because they have a well deck they can do better humanitarian work or act as… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Exactly. Put the Union Jack on them. Fill them with aid and helicopters. Help people. Create some positive news and increase Soft Power.

And, heaven forbid they are needed in war they are available.

Cam
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Cam

Yeah but Albion and Bulwark are mainly amphibious assault just what they were designed for. The carriers and some RFA ships will no doubt be used for large helicopter assaults. I like how RFA fort Victoria can carry 4 merlin sized choppers shame the tides can only carry 1. I think the two other forts can carry 3 helicopters.

Dan Liao
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Dan Liao

Aka commando carriers? You just finished building two. Now what is needed is not more flattops but escorts for them, aircraft to launch from them, and LPDs for the bulk delivery.

Martin
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Martin

We have significantly more aviation shipping available than aviation assets. Having an LHD only puts our QE class carriers at risk of the chop. QE unlike CVN’s are multi role assault carriers able to operate helicopters and fast jets. Realistically what would an LHD such as Canberra Class do for the UK, smaller and less capable than CVF in the aviation role and you need to risk all the task force helicopters to get in close enough to deploy assets from the dock. Better to stick with CVF and an LPD. The Albion’s can probably go for a long time… Read more »

DaveyB
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DaveyB

The point of having a Canberra type vessel, is to allow the carrier to do its primary role i.e. provide local air superiority and dominance, whilst the LPD conducts the assault. If you use a carrier for the mixed role of assault and air defence you will have to reduce the number of F35s available. This is because the helicopter assault will be conducted by using both Merlins and Chinooks with perhaps Wildcats and Apaches providing CAS. Chinooks take up a lot of space, especially as they don’t have blade folding. You also want to deconflict helicopter and fast jet… Read more »

Geoffrey Hicking
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Geoffrey Hicking

” If you use a carrier for the mixed role of assault and air defence you will have to reduce the number of F35s available. This is because the helicopter assault will be conducted by using both Merlins and Chinooks with perhaps Wildcats and Apaches providing CAS. Chinooks take up a lot of space, especially as they don’t have blade folding. You also want to deconflict helicopter and fast jet operations, as doing both will affect the sortie rate and round trip times. ” I suspect the carriers were designed to be large enough to circumvent that problem. 24 F35s… Read more »

Geoffrey Hicking
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Geoffrey Hicking

In asking the question above I have exposed my embarrassing level of ignorance and shown myself to be a fantasy fleeter yet again. I apologise for bothering you with this.