A concept image (shown below) designed to show how the ‘Future Commando Force’ will operate shows two ‘Littoral Strike Ships’ as well as ‘discrete shipping’ being used to land British forces.
The Littoral Strike Ship concept has been off the radar for around a year, with nothing new coming into the public domain.
The concept was unveiled in 2019 and is essentially an adapted commercial hull equipped with command and control capabilities and an embarked military force. There were to be two ships, one of the ships would be permanently deployed east of Suez, and the other in the anywhere from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.
Then Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“Our vision is for these ships to form part of 2 Littoral Strike Groups complete with escorts, support vessels and helicopters. One would be based East of Suez in the Indo-Pacific and one based West of Suez in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Baltic. And, if we ever need them to, our two Littoral Strike Ships, our two aircraft carriers, our two amphibious assault ships Albion and Bulwark, and our three Bay Class landing ships can come together in one amphibious task force. This will give us sovereign, lethal, amphibious force. This will be one of the largest and best such forces anywhere in the world.”
This ‘coming together’ is detailed below, the ‘LS Group’ would comprise of LRG(S), LRG(S) aggregating together and operating as part of a carrier-based Maritime Task Group’.
The image above comes from a Ministry of Defence announcement discussing the fact that the Royal Navy will be hosting the next Maritime Enterprise Planning Group seminar/meeting on Tuesday the 16th March 2021 to discuss Littoral Strike.
According to a document released by the Ministry of Defence to industry as part of a call to industry over the capability, the intent for the Maritime Enterprise Planning Groups is to:
• Improve understanding. The problem led approach to future capability development will drive a closer relationship with industry.
• Enhance situational awareness. Providing industry with a common ‘customer view’ from which they can respond and develop solutions for RN capability requirements.
• Enable alternative thinking. Creating a thought-space where Royal Navy and industry can focus on the requirements for a solution to a problem.
The document also states:
“The complex problem set faced by the Royal Navy in the modern operating environment calls for a closer alignment with industry. This is required in order to both understand mutual requirements and to pursue transformative capability that will deliver operational advantage in a more agile way.”
What do we know about the status of the Littoral Strike Ship concept so far?
Last year we learned that work already undertaken on the Future Littoral Strike Ship programme will help inform the upcoming defence review regarding the UK requirement for the vessels.
Gavin Robinson Shadow DUP Spokesperson asked in Parliament:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress he has made on the Future Littoral Strike Ship.”
Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, replied:
“The Prime Minister has committed to undertake the deepest review of Britain’s security, defence and foreign policy. This review will examine how we strengthen and prioritise our alliances, diplomacy and development and will consider all aspects of our defence and security capabilities, including our approach to procurement and maintaining our technological edge. The work already undertaken on the future Littoral Strike Ship will feed into this review.”
We’ll see what happens over the next month or two.