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HMS Albion is beginning a month and a half of training as part of her Operational Sea Training package.

Ship’s staff moved back on-board Albion at the end of January 2017.

Commodore Rob Bellfield, Commodore of Devonport Flotilla said:

“With a strong command lead and an extremely enthusiastic and engaging ships company, the ship is immaculate which is indicative of the ship’s company’s collective pride.”

Two Dutch landing craft have joined the ship as part of long-standing partnership with the Netherlands’ Korps Mariniers.

According to a press release:

“Albion took part in the regular Thursday War off Plymouth, including some damage control training; bomb disposal experts from Plymouth’s Southern Diving Unit scoured the assault ship from keel to main mast as part of a terrorist homemade bomb training exercise; five female sailors dined on Victory with counterparts past and present to mark the 100 anniversary of the WRNS forming; Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue teams practiced evacuating casualties from the 19,500-tonne vessel; helped Falmouth Coastguard save a yachtsman in distress.”

In October 2017, the BBC’s Newsnight reported that the Ministry of Defence was considering decommissioning Albion and Bulwark, as part of a package of cost-cutting measures intended to mitigate the expense of the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers. This has not been confirmed.

48 COMMENTS

    • Paul.
      The RM and Dutch Marines have a close relationship going back to the Cold War when Netherlands Marines would join 3 Commando Brigade if the balloon had gone up.
      Nothing new.

      • I confess my post was a bit tongue in cheek. I’m afraid my cynicism got the better of me. Notwithstanding the QE carriers the idea of decommissioning the flagship was too much for me.

    • A dead cert it will be scrapped?

      I’m only half joking, knowing the bean counters in charge. That being said, recent claims in the media that Albion and Bulwark will be scrapped alongside 25% of all helicopters and 2000 marines strike me as over the top. My fear is that these figures are being floated to soften the blow: “ah well you see, the media was reporting X amount but in the end we only got rid of Your amount, thanks to our rising defence budget yadayadayada…”. I sincerely hope that is not the case though.

    • Exactly, spend £90 million on a refit then sell it for £8 million. I wouldnt put it passed HMG to sell it to Argentina !!!

  1. I really hope we haven’t just paid 90m to refit the vessel, just for it to be sold off for a bargain, it really would highlight the poor forward planning within the MOD/Government. Saying that, considering the government couldn’t sell their plans to the DUP without throwing a huge amount of money at them, tells us they really are the wrong people to running a country at the time of huge uncertanity / financial debt. Saying that labour doesn’t appear to have a clue either.

  2. Refit
    Flagship
    FlogIt

    With this level of farce Shakespeare would have a whole new folio to pen

    Hammond / May / Fallon should really GTFO

    • It was the same with the previous government and the one before, so at least a major part of the problem lies with the MOD’s inability to manage its budget properly.

      • I think it’s much more like;

        Budget cut by 30% SDSR 2010
        CASD deterrence then transferred from central funding to MOD
        Pensions & other items barely allowable by NATO then get added
        Then Brexit devaluation – the only one I don’t directly blame the Govt for

        I didn’t agree with previous government cuts to defence either and would be saying the same thing whoever was in charge

        • Ian, I agree. Most of our current issues are to do with a crippling SDSR 2010 and the fact that CASD got transferred over to the MOD. What did they expect? Cutting the budget and then adding a 20-30 Billion pound project on to it.

          • the armed forces were gradually being cut even before sdsr 2010, I doubt it helped the problem but neither is it the cause.

  3. Hopefully it is just rumours. The active LPDs operating costs are under £30 million a year, even less for the one laid up in reserve. Scrapping both might save £50 million a year but since savings of about £500 million a year are needed it really won’t help much. Better to cancel the Type 31 program and use the savings to keep what we already have. Further down the line if the budget improves then order another 3/4 Type 26 (we have 11 TAS 2087).

    • I don’t think we can afford to lose our escort numbers. With the LPDs we would lose our main means of amphibious assault, but with a decrease in frigates we would lose our ability to conduct our current missions and patrols. Neither options are acceptable, the military has pretty much hit rock bottom, time for the government to increase funding, if not then it is going to keep dieing.

      • I agree we can’t afford to drop escort numbers but it’s a better choice than loosing the LPDs. If they go why keep the LSDs? No amphibious ships, then you don’t need 5000 and certainly not 6000 RMs. with no LPDs or LSDs do we need 6 tankers and 3 FSS ship Ship? Probably not so the Waves go without replacment mid 2020s and we will get 2 FSS not 3. This is a slippery slope and the loss of the LPDs will signal the end of the RN as a true global force. Perhaps a few more OPVs in the meantime could help cover basic tastings but if not I would prefer to “gap” certain commitments to ensure we retain of war fighting capability.

      • merge the bloody lot, scrap the M.O.D AND JUST HAVE A U.K DEFENCE FORCE.it works for japan,israel and several other nations.

    • Rather than cancel Type 31 I would make sure the chosen design can tow 2087 and further reduce Type 26 numbers or at least slow down the build program; which is what seems to be happening by default. Type 31 needs half the crew of Type 23. It must succeed if we are to increase RN hull numbers within current manpower.

  4. if we manage to avoid any expensive land forces commitments over the next decade and reduce the number of air attacks with insanely overpowered / expensive weapons, the budget might sort itself. I.get the feeling that the trump administration however is going to make that impossible.

    • I don’t think that will be possible to be honest, not with the current state of the world. Sure we would save alot but not enough to make up our current deficit. Once ISIS is mopped up within the next 6 months our large air campaign will come to an end. We must have spent hundreds of millions over the last couple years purely on that.

      • Then the Treasury bean counters will start looking at RAF aircraft numbers. ‘Not using them? Then clearly you don’t need that many’…. it’s shear lunacy but that sadly is the mentality

  5. David – are you aware of the work involved in being a ‘bean counter’ or of the years of study required? As for ‘mentality’, take a look at the teenage dreamers on this forum who know nothing of budgeting and fiscal reality.

    • Do you ever stop? There is only one person on this forum who sounds like a teenager and that would be you trying your best to start a fight in an empty room. There can be no other reason for you to frequent this blog. You are clearly not interested in the material and come here only to rattle peoples cages. You must have a very pitiable existence. Maybe take up a hobby other than impersonating Lilly Allen.

  6. What a depressing bunch you all are. SPECULATION is the word. For goodness sake, either wait for something to happen or write something constructive to try and stop it happening. If the politicians read some of the rubbish being posted here it’s no wonder they don’t feel like taking any notice.

    • Yes, that’s why I said hopefully it’s just rumours. Are you TH in disguise? What is it with your kind being unable to let others discuss a topic which interests them without having a go at them. Maybe you and TH should go out on a date, you will find plenty to bitch about together.

      • Unfortunately, your response to TH wasn’t there when I posted so we overlapped. TH and I have clashed before. Yes I would like to DISCUSS defence but so much of what I read here is speculation, re run press reports and anti government, who are the very people that we should be trying to convince, then I’m sorry but I think we are doing our armed forces a dis service. As for”my kind ” and” bitching with TH” Unnecessary I think.

        • I thought this site was for sensible people not for school ground insults. David that was a little uncalled for. Your post at 23.35 is completely at odds with what you then posted just 6 minutes later.

          • I dont think it is Rob. Like Geoffrey says our posts overlapped and when I was writting the second comment Geoffreys comments appeared to include me “what a depressing bunch YOU ALL ARE” so I responded.

        • Fair enough Geoffrey, I responded to the part which looked like it included me and my comments, if it was not intended that way then I appologize. If you have clashed with TH before then I sympathize.

          • Ok fair enough 🙂 we all agree on two things anyway. We need to properly fund defence and would like TH to find a hobby so he doesn’t frequent this site so much!

          • David Stephen and Rob,
            Much appreciated. The fact that we get wound up at least proves we care!

  7. The cost of the nuclear deterrent should be removed from the defence budget and paid for in a separate government department as it was before.

      • What budget would you suggest the CASD is moved to and what could be cut from that to achieve it? Just moving a figure from one spreadsheet to another does not get rid of the budgetary problem.

        • Rob, there are plenty of choices within the overall fiscal envelope. Triple lock on pensions should move to average earnings like its working population, inheritance tax cuts are an oxymoron for any one who says they believe in meritocracy, corporation tax cuts are now inverting the corporate Laffe curve, NICS is deeply regressive, huge Aid increases at a time of public service cuts is beyond comprehension are a few budget ideas for starters.

          • Politically speaking can you see the Govt making those changes to pensions, NI, or IHT? I can’t, not with their wafer thin ‘majority’ coalition, or whatever they call it. We have a huge budget deficit so whatever is cut needs to be taxed elsewhere anyway.

            Foreign aid needs looking at granted- we need to include humanitarian assistance in that budget and stop giving money to countries that are corrupt or who just do not need our money – like India. That should free up some money for the MOD.

            I would suggest adding between 2 and 5 pence to the high rate of income tax as the simplest and fairest way to increase tax take. We need to look at avoidance more too though or people will find ways not to pay it.

  8. The UK needs to go to +3% GDP to defence ratio now. Fallon is right about that. Especially as bloody Cameron and Osbourne bunged strategic national deterrent, armed forces pensions etc into the core defence budget. good work there Eaton educated buffoon’s.
    If we scrap the LPDs then the Royal Navy is in terminal decline and there is no way we can put any gloss on anything but that fact.
    I agree with lots of previous comments on this site, the foreign aid budget should be pumped into quasi military budget with all RFAs, a future assault carrier replacement for Ocean and the logistic corps funded from this budget. All disaster relief efforts should come from foreign aid budget. That would be a much better use of the funds, then sending money to India (nuclear armed state with carrier battle groups and a space programme) or other states of slightly questionable human rights issues (as bad or worse than Spain…..just joking there)

  9. The foreign aid budget will not get scrapped. It is an international agreement/aspiration we signed up to and is backed by both major parties. However I would suggest that part of the money should be set aside for humanitarian/disaster relief. So for example the costs of a Bay in the Caribbean for 6 months a year should be met from this budget. Maintenance/running costs of a couple C17/A400M ‘s along with same for say two merlin and two chinook. I am sure that their is equivalent kit for the royal engineers etc. This retainer would mean that these assets would be prioritised for use in h/d relief at anytime other than the country being at war/ This idea by itself would not fix the black hole in the MOD budget, but it would be a step in the right direction.

    • I think you are right Paul the aid budget will stay and it probably should. It gives us influence that we would not have otherwise but the amount in question should not be so high. Around £13 billion a year is just too much. Diverting even 10% to the navy for say 10 years would solve the problem. Since the RN is the main provider of HADR it seems perfectly reasonable that part of the aid budget is used to fund the ships and equipment needed for that role.

  10. The only valid reason for getting rid of Albion and Bulwark would be to replace them with two more modern large deck amphibs, which should happen seamlessly.

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