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.

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Callum
Callum
4 months ago

It’s certainly an interesting question, but unless I’m missing something there isn’t anything particularly new here.

The direct amphibious assault has arguably been dead for decades, and I can’t see any new system bringing it back. The Falklands approach of exploiting weak points and approaching from unexpected angles would still seem to hold. So aside from further integration of networked sensors, what is fundamentally different about any of this?

JohnG
4 months ago
Reply to  Callum

I believe many people believed that these ideas had been shelved, so for me its certainly refreshing to read they are back under consideration again. I do hope they won’t be used as a replacement for the Albion’s though.

Johan
Johan
3 months ago
Reply to  Callum

flexibility @ best these are 2 cargo hulled type ships, block built in a non-UK shipyard like the TIDE Class. to respond to various mission capabilities without the need to send a Full-blown warship. UK Yards busy with frigate orders and could offer a yard work to see thru Brexit/covid crisis.

Callum
Callum
3 months ago
Reply to  Johan

It seems rather unlikely the UK will have any warship built abroad again for while. There’s general dissatisfaction with the Tide-class programme, and the political wind is firmly in favour of domestic production. There are several options for a UK build, primarily either H&W in Belfast or CL in Liverpool. CL is better positioned due to currently being active in shipbuilding, but if H&W win the FSS contract then they’d be well placed to follow up with the Littoral Strike Ships

James
James
4 months ago

Why not chop the deck flat all the way to the front of the ship giving much more space for helicopters?

Sjb1968
Sjb1968
4 months ago
Reply to  James

And move the bridge to the starboard side, increase the freeboard and add a couple of lifts down to a hangar for the helicopters. Then if you want water borne craft to move heavy equipment provide a flood able dock in the stern. Hey presto an LHD.

ETH
ETH
4 months ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

Sounds like a good design, perhaps someone should build a ship like this.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 months ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

Agree sub. This does seem to be a poor man’s lhd

Noth
Noth
4 months ago
Reply to  James

Because you’re using a ship that can pass for civilian, especially if painted up like one. Stealthy approach for surprise attack. If you want an LHD, get an LHD. This is closer to the US Navy’s sea basing concept, using commercial ships with holes cut in the hull for access to various bits.

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago
Reply to  Noth

Yes, I think this is also the thinking with the River 2s. Their presence and humanitarian role converts easily to a conflict role ….just add UAVs, 50 RM with say pedestal launched missiles and containerised Merlin capable light vehicles. And its difficult for a potential adversary to distinguish which configuration is sailing off your coast.

ETH
ETH
4 months ago
Reply to  Noth

I’m sure there’s a Geneva Conventions violation in there somewhere.

AJP1960
4 months ago
Reply to  Noth

Don’t think it’s so much about the Q ship concept (naval vessel masquerading as a commercial vessel at any level) but it’s much more about price and (possibly) speed of build

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  James

Because that forward bit is where the explosives are stored since there will be no deep magazines.

It also provides a bit of weather and wind protection to the deck – noting forward facing hangars which I’m still not sure how that will work. Damn cold and draughty place to work with water guaranteed to be blown in, and thats before it starts raining. Not encouraging for effective ac maintenance.

I’m assuming flight ops will have to be at zero ship speed… (hangar and airflow distirbance off the front).

But Im sure they’ve thought all this through…

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Agreed, you and the US Navy seem to share the same concern. Their version of the LSS (USS Lewis B. Puller for instance) had a rearward facing hangar at the bow presumably for this very reason

Jon
Jon
3 months ago
Reply to  James

Not what they want it look like It’s not supposed to look like a war ship

George Royce
George Royce
4 months ago

Really glad to see the Marines return to their original role, of amphibious landing and assault. However, this ‘future commando force’ is a very fancy name for ‘cuts’ . I hope the news isn’t true, that Boris is thinking of cutting 10,000.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  George Royce

Technology will make up for a lot of those potential lost numbers. Capability is key, not the total number of personal. And the conflicts of the future will be fought very differently from those in the past. Even Afghanistan would be done very differently today.

SoleSurvivor
SoleSurvivor
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

What tech do we have today that we didn’t in Afghan? And how would it of changed the conflict?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  SoleSurvivor

There has been the growth of easily deployable ISTAR assets like miniature drones, or the rise in better communications, coupled with an increase in firepower for most infantry units. This means the level of situational awareness, operational understanding and the ability to deliver an ever wider array of effects means even Company or Platoon sized forces will have an ability to influence matters in a way previously not available.

SoleSurvivor
SoleSurvivor
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I don’t think that makes up for another 10k chop at all Robert, numbers are a capability in themselves, especially with the army. There is absolutely no justification for army numbers being cut anymore.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  SoleSurvivor

Maybe, but i think that could be the reality we are facing. I think we face smaller interventions in the future, smaller groups of highly specialist/capable groups that are highly deployable. In a perfect world we would have an Army 100k strong, and all the best toys, but it doesn’t working like that. We haven’t even been at 82k for years. Maybe the cut in numbers through natural wastage will pay for the very best kit, and the ability to plug n play into the American system for day 1 of a conflict. If not, they might just ask us… Read more »

Andrew
4 months ago
Reply to  SoleSurvivor

Well said solesurvivor ,if Boris wants a goble Britain you don’t cut the Army that’s for sure

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

In what way would Afghan be done differently?

properly? I.e. recruit a 150,000 strong local Army with western officers all under direct western command? Appoint western “district officers” (civilians) and spend decades building up local capacity?

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

I think that’s called Empire!

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

Maybe! But its the only way to actually acheive what we said we did. Not very PC or likely though 🙂

Send 10.000 Brits out to live in and command afghan forces, you get the longevity, continuity and everyone is on the same tempo and timeline so it gels. You all work and live together so that gels and the result is an effective and united force.

The opposite of what our “in and out” western roulemants vs marathon running locals who get the crap jobs and kit by comparison.

Mark F
Mark F
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

I think you assume that the Afghans would agree with?

Last edited 4 months ago by Mark F
Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark F

It didnt appear they all agreed with what did happen. It also doesnt appear that the significant blood and treasure we expended, acheived much. As Einstein said, doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. A key issue in Afghan was the mismatch between “here today, gone tomorrow” western troops who had amazing kit and wanted to sprint through their 6 month tour before going back to comfortable home for tea and medsls, and the local forces who were in it for life yet were used as expendable cannon fodder with at best indifferent lewdership… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Think your talking a bit chuff and quite disrespectul in regard to your comment about “wanting to sprint through a 6 month tour and back home for tea and medals”! Was that a sprint throught he first tour or the 5th? And many of us didnt spend time in bation of KAF, operating from FOBs or patrol bases. I appreciate not everyone can or did tours there, or even spend time in the military but your rather generalisation and presumption, using others opinions and news reports not quite fair or correct. I am presuming you have never operated with the… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Wow thats a big chip and an awful lot of guff about knifes and all sorts of other irrelvant rubbish. ANA mostly I’m afraid, limited ANP. Very much embedded. Does doing something 5 times make it more or less pointless than doing it once? Fact is nearly everything we were doing was wrong, and most gains were lost the moment we stopped doing it. That is and was pointless. ANA needed kit, training and leadership. What they didnt need and didnt like, although they kept it quiet not surprisingly, was the “fly in, fly out” Westerners who were not committed… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

So if someone challenges a certain part of your post, its due to a chip, inersting, and you spent time in uniform, in the mil, and you have never come across the underwater knife fighting piss take?….mmmmm….once again most interesting. However, back to the post, if you didnt like your tour, and wanted to get home quickly for your tea and a medal, thats fine, but try not to presume that others were the same. I have no idea of your service/Arm/Reg/Bn/Sqn/Ship/Chip shop unit you served, however there are professional, motivated people and organisations out there that see operational tours… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Surprisingly populations tend to get a bit unhappy about being ruled by foreigners and tend to start showing it in various lethal ways.

Steve R
Steve R
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

And who exactly is going to sign up for that?! The army struggled to retain people in part because so many deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq that interfered with family lives, and now you suggest long-term deployments lasting years. That would make recruitment and retention ten times worse.

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

?? Recruitment and retention clearly isnt your thing. Paid to live for free overseas is an extremely popular thing with forces and ex forces people including myself. It is a world of opportunity out there. In days gone past they never lacked for recruits to the overseas opportunities (whilst UK forces did) and the same draw is there today. This would be a complete break with the roulemant idea, a new force effectively If anything, the “rest of the Army” doing its part time 6 months every 2 1/2 years would be the one struggling… I agree some locals (the… Read more »

Damo
Damo
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

The lesson of India is to be a set of aggressive duplicitous scum bags with no concern for killing of locals etc and not too bothered about British infantry deaths. Completely different time and place to recent Afghanistan. Our population wouldn’t stand for that now

David Flandry
David Flandry
4 months ago
Reply to  George Royce

Cutting 10,000 from what? Everything is at or below the bone already.

Richyrich
Richyrich
4 months ago

Why does UK military posture need a more specific amphibious assault bent. What geopolitical message is this stating: Is it about countering any Chinese aggression in the south China sea, helping US and ASEAN balancing and containing them: Is it something similar in the Baltic with Russia . Why now , when clearly if we need new ships , as is much debated here, we need frigates . Personally I support anything that increases our forces , but worry this proposal is not the whole story..

Sjb1968
Sjb1968
4 months ago
Reply to  Richyrich

How would you propose the U.K. reinforce the northern flank of NATO something, which is something we have done since the 1970s and please do not say by airlift. It not a case of a “more specific amphibious assault bent” but retention of a capability that is essential. It was cut in 2010 and that should be reversed if we are serious about being a small but influential player. Given the proposed reduction in the army, our elite units, RM’s and Paras need increasing in number and have the full range of equipment so we at least maintain a limited… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
4 months ago
Reply to  Richyrich

The main NATO role to the Royal Marines is to support Norway in defending North Norway against Russian invasion. In recent years the Russian army has been crossing the border into Norway claiming they are lost! It is an easy claim to make given the border is unmarked, up the Russians didn’t seem to have the same difficulties as they do these days! The problem would be getting the RM ashore on a very rugged coastline and possibly with near by ports closed by air attack. So this capability would potentially allow a landing, supported by Norwegian forces, to be… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

The ships , built to I assume commercial standards, would be death traps unless operating within a defensive umbrella providing total protection from surface, sub surface or airborne attacks. They are large, relatively easy to hit vessels with little to no defensive armament or sensors. I think if we need LHDs or LPHs let’s just get a specific vessel built to military standards. I know 2 hulls provide useful additional presence and “showing the flag” but that has to be countered against their survivability if put into harm’s way. For operations vs pirates or armed insurgencies such as Sierra Leone… Read more »

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
4 months ago
Reply to  Richyrich

Way I see it, literally any engagement or war we undertaken now will require an insertion from the sea unless it is a guerilla war against insurgents. Having more ships to serve this purpose – especially those that are almost as flexible and much cheaper than LHDs – in my book can only be a good thing

Andy P
Andy P
4 months ago

How I see it too Levi, these could be quite handy for disaster relief, a ‘mother ship’ for smaller vessels like MCM’s etc too.

Sjb1968
Sjb1968
4 months ago

And move the bridge to the side, increase the freeboard and add a couple of lifts down to a hangar for the helicopters. Then if you want water borne craft to move heavy equipment provide a flood able dock in the stern. Hey presto an LHD.

Paul42
Paul42
4 months ago

Interesting to note there are MV22 Ospreys in the pic above. Are we finally going to consider purchasing some?

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

Not at £70 million plus No.

Paul42
Paul42
4 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

In theory…..an MV22 is clearly depicted and this may in fact solve a major problem we have. Under no circumstances whatsoever will a QE operate as an LPH sitting just off a hostile beach. But the range and speed of the Osprey means it could operate from a large vessel in deep water and still put troops ashore fairly quickly despite the distance it might have to fly.
I would put money on this being a future consideration.

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

I would bet my house we never buy V22.

Vastly expensive to buy.
Vastly expensive to run.
Horrible accident rate.
Capacity of less than a Chinool/Merlin.
Horrible downdraught environment.

Happy to let USMC provide them though as is the case 🙂

Paul42
Paul42
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

I suspect Uncle Sam will happily lease some to us. They have a far greater range and speed than a Chinook, totally outclassing it. and the safety rate is now much higher. A number of early incidents were later attributed to pilot error, due in the main to crews being unfamiliar with certain characteristics of the aircrafts behaviour, particularly in descent.

pkcasimir
pkcasimir
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

No way in hell will the Marines or any other service let go of their Ospreys. They are just too valuable and capable. Criticism of them may have been justified 20 years ago but they now have an enviable safety record and a solid record of achievement.

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

Why would we lease V22s? Why would the US let us smash their kit with flying hours?

Please link to public evidence of this “enviable” safety record.

As someone who sees actual stats, I hated flying in them, horrible experience as you cant see out and get very disorientated. Also quite cramped inside.

Chinook any day of the week please.

pkcasimir
pkcasimir
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

The Osprey has the best safety record of any rotocraft the USMC flies. Look it up. Who cares whether you liked flying in them and you felt cramped? Absurd way to evaluate an aircraft. A better way is to examine the Osprey’s combat record and the abilities it gives the USMC as opposed to any other helicopter. Combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan gives the mod to the Osprey, Hands down. That’s in the opinion of the Marines who have to go into combat, not someone claustrophobic. My point was that they are so valued by the USMC that they… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

Ah so no link provided. If you cant evidence something, telling people to “look it up” is even stronger evidence you are talking complete BS. And now, instead of “enviable” safety record, as in the UK should “envy” it vs our own. Its just the safest of USMC rotorcraft – AH1, UH1, CH53, CH46 – none of which are renowed for, guess what, a good safety record. I like how you’ve decided I must be “claustrophobic” becuse Ive dared prick your fanboy balloon, and so I’m betting youve never been near one let alone in it. I also note you… Read more »

Paul42
Paul42
4 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

Exactly!! But the US is also keen to see the UK, particularly the RN move forward and increase its capabilities as it finds itself deploying increasing numbers of assets in the Pacific and South China Sea. The advent of the QE class has been a blessing for the US as its key ally now has 2 large carriers that could be used to ease the pressure on US assets. Leasing the UK some MV/CV22s is not as far fetched as you might think, indeed you could find USMC units with these birds operating from one of our carriers. We carried… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

Its insanely far fetched. We did the Osprey work so USMC units could operate from our ships with us because that makes loads of sense. Not so we can buy penny packets of equipment at vast procurement and in service support cost to look like a really small version of the US forces. If we really need a V22 for something, it’ll be a joint op and they’ll provide the V22 and we’ll provide the deck or the pink bodies that slip into the night from it. Otherwise we’ll do it another way or not at all. I’m not sure… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

Ospreys are old hat now, better we go for one of the newer, more advanced/developed tilt rotors & hopefully cheaper too.

Paul42
Paul42
4 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

The Osprey is the best in its class, and like a good wine it just gets better with age. There are no other tilt rotors that match it, and probably won’t be for a long time yet.

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

Have you been in one?

You literally state “best in class” and then that is is the only one in its class. By your own statement it is also worst in class.

What you also miss is that the class isnt worth the candle vs other classes that are safer and more generally useful, eg Chinook.

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

Who needs Osprey when we have something British and better?https://www.aviastar.org/helicopters_eng/fairey_rotodyne.php

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Another waste of resources on what was obviously a dead end just due to noise let alone complexity.

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

It could outlift, outpace and outrange an Osprey with 1950’s technology. Use modern engines, composites, fly by wire and noise cancelling and you could have a winner.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Might be worth revisiting that concept with modern technology and materials science. I bet UKPLC could make that work. At least in prototype form until HMG pull the rug out from under it.

Herodotus
4 months ago

Does anyone have any idea as to where we might want to invade in the foreseeable future?

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Realistically any engagement will require insertion from the sea. South China Sea, Falklands (unlikely but you never know), NATO engagements in Norway or the Baltics all will require the bulk of our materiel and men arriving by sea

Airborne
Airborne
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

I think its more to do with having the ability to do so if needed? Its all about preperation, and if you havent got a capability then it reduces your options, making a bad option seem feasible, through lack of preperation…..

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

By pass Calais?

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Look at a map, there is pretty much nowhere left we havent invaded, generally several times.

As the disclaimer always says, past petformance is no predictor of the future, but on the other hand, it usually is!

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Which is precisely my point! I would rather we commit to our European responsibilities….this makes sense for our own national security. With a bit more concerted effort from us and our European partners gangster-land Russia could/should be under serious threat….and bloody-well should be!

Sjb1968
Sjb1968
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Sadly as it stands the British Army is a minnow and is a ill-relevance in mainland Europe. It is not what I would like but it is fact and we are not about to increase the size and capability of the Army any time soon. We therefore have to think about what we offer to Europe and beyond in a different way. Our maritime, airforce, deterrent and elite light forces are where we offer the most and it is where our future lies. I genuinely believe China represents a bigger danger to U.K. interests than Russia, which can be deterred… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Our European partners are of two minds. Western Europe doesnt give a sht about Russia and just wants to spend the money on other things. Eastern Europe cares very deeply and is putting its money where its mouth is. They are much more aligned with us strategically (also being very pro US vs western europe which is waiting to open the champagne on the US collapsing and wants to compete). Given the UK-EU relationship, this is a prime opportunity to get in with Eastern EU nations in terms of shaping our relationships and EU behaviour. The future of NATO also… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Odds on the C2 upgrade will go ahead and that a workable solution to the Warrior issue will be funded and that we will forward base armour in Europe, possibly Poland. An anti EU friend is a friend indeed 🙂

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

‘An anti EU friend is a friend indeed’….Trumpski, Tsar Putin, gob-shite Farage and half the trousers down daft brigade of the Tory party. I’d reassess your friends if I were you!

Last edited 4 months ago by Herodotus
Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

We are looking forwards to the sunlit uplands of Brexit. Who needs friends when you have trade deals? ?

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Anyway, what’s wrong with the Poles. Word is their squadrons made the difference in 1940.

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

If I were a Pole I’d think you were an arseh..e

Airborne
Airborne
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

The term Pole isnt acceptable any more, as they are Polish. If he was a Pole, he would be stuck in the gorund possible having various items attached ;0)

Airborne
Airborne
4 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

gorund…mmm…am I Polish?

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

What trade deals?

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Well the EU for a start. I’m looking forward to seeing lots of Scottish langoustines, Cornish shellfish and Welsh lamb in Sainsburys.

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Special services intervention or humanitarian rescue intervention in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Mozambique, Yemen quite likely I would have thought. Another Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Carribean hurricane season, another typhoon in the Philippines, see these ships being very busy replacements for Argus and Ocean.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Greece, France, Germany.?

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

In all honesty. I could see a requirement to reinforce Taiwan from the sea against Chinese invasion. That is the most scary scenario.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I would hope any threat of Chinese invasion would result in a massive show of force from USN and its allies. Not sure the world could ever allow a democratic country of 30+ million to be invaded by China.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
4 months ago

Interesting, especially the idea of “low-signiture shipping” presumably it referring to the SD Victoria. However, I can’t see the existence of the Bulwarks if these LSS come to existence. With only two commando available for amphibious operations will we even have the manpower to justify all four ships.

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
4 months ago

Sorry for being naive or ignorant, but what is the benifit vs an LHD i.e. HMS Ocean V2.0? Seems to me that LHD has more room for helicopters on deck and can launch beach landing crafts to ferry armoured vehicles ashore (apc, ifv, tanks, etc…)

Sjb1968
Sjb1968
4 months ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

The only benefit is price but they will have limited military value and if procured to replace the LPDs then you have just disabled the Royal Marines.
If they were to supplement what shipping we already have then they would be useful to Sea base some forces but definitely non front line vessels.
They remind me of RFA Reliant a merchant ship converted aviation support ship procured post the Falklands war that was deposed off after only 3 or 4 years service. The cost of conversion was about £6m in 1983 from memory and she was a failure.

Sjb1968
Sjb1968
4 months ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

Here she is

FB4958CF-953B-4C2A-97E4-208BEDDCC6FB.jpeg
Sjb1968
Sjb1968
4 months ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

Sorry ‘disposed’

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
4 months ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

I am confused because AFAIK Bay Class does what these LSS do and more at a competitive price. Bay class are not old, are they already being retired?

ETH
ETH
4 months ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

Bay class have very poor aviation facilities.

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

If its Albion and Bulwark going for these we need 2x 25k+ LHDs.

If they wre extra then the civillian concept, permamently afloat with zero – 100 SF and support (eg RMs) is the answer.

The delay is I suspect due to ensuring the two bits above arent merged for lack of money and they replace the LPDs which would be awful.

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Noting the graphic does not show the LPDs… and the author had to drag up Williamson’s original “and LPDs” vs the language now used. So pretty discouraging.

The problem with Reliant was the ISO container “modular” approach which was unsuited to the realities of being at sea (leaking/flex etc) vs a properly built-in permament hangar structure as Argus acheived. (LCS take note!

john melling
john melling
4 months ago

YESSS! Its brilliant to see some updated news on the LOV \ Littoral Strike Ship

When I first read about them in 2019 via the RUSI paper it showed what the future of the RN and RM would and should be.

What a surprise to come on and see this

So I do hope they invest in its future

Andy
Andy
4 months ago

It would be nice to have a price tag for comparison. Generally I’d rather build these than LAWs.

Airborne
Airborne
4 months ago

Oh dear, this could be an excuse to chin of Albion and Bulwark, to be replaced with two cheap used hulls, with minimal conversion to “littoral” role, while still claiming we have “landing ships”……thoughts?

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

I cannot see LSS being acquired in addition to our LPDs. Despite the recently announced increase in funding, much of the equipment budget black hole remains. It is becoming worryingly clear that some hefty cuts are going to be announced. Much of the pressure on what by most standards is a large defence budget comes from 2 projects: Trident successor and the carriers. Cheaper alternatives to the former have been reviewed and rejected, so this will go ahead. But, given our unwillingness to buy more F35s,( and the ongoing problems with the aircraft), should we consider operating just one fixed… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Yes, we are going to operate just one fixed wing carrier. The second is in reserve, training, refit, whatever, and can be taskedin emergency, be that carrying helicopters or even splitting the F35 forc3 between the 2.

Merlin remains a problem as too few to split.

The LSS in no shape or form can replace the LPDs and their capabilities, number of LCVP and LCU, and Command facilities.

They should ideally be used as forward deployed floating SF bases, with the LPDs added if something more akin to a Commando Group is needed.

I remain optimistic.

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago

Building a£3b carrier just to sit in reserve is bonkers( another Gordon Brown winner!). A new ship needs to be operated but we don’t have enough F35s to fill one carrier. So by default, POW will have to be mainly a helicopter carrier. Although that seems a poor use of an expensive vessel, its better than sailing round empty. We would need more Chinooks but they are cheap compared with Merlin or F35.
My money is still on the retirement of the LPDs with an LSS or two as a sop to critics.

Steve R
Steve R
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

We didn’t build a carrier just to sit in reserve. We built 2 carriers so that we always have one available. A single carrier, like the French, means we have to hope a war doesn’t happen when it’s in refit or maintenance.

The Americans have 11 super carriers; they have zero intention to ever have all 11 deployed at once! They’ll have 3 deployed, 4 at most.

We also have two carriers to be able to operate them together under surge conditions, but that would be a SHTF, brown-trousers type of conflict. Basically WW3 or leading up to it.

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

Not strictly true. We ordered 2 carriers with a plan for 140 odd F35s. We built 2 carriers because the contract prevented DC from cancelling at least one. Despite cutting everything else to help fund them, we have shown by the F35 numbers we will not fund to the original planned capacity. Of course 2 means we should always have one available. But now we have PoW coming onstream, it has to have a meaningful role. It won’t be launching.F35 sorties ( unless we split the already inadequate aircraft fleet). Developing a different normal non surge role will need training… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Maybe Combat UAV one day? 1SL commented that drones will be trialled from POW this year.

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago

But the limitation of the design( no cats or traps) means the ships cannot launch or recover large UCAVs !Ike the x47. So they will either be small or rotary.
I’m not sure about the feasibility of recovering a long range turboprop drone, but I guess that if this was feasible, we wouldn’t need Crowsnest.

Steve R
Steve R
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Not current large UCAVs, but who’s to say we can’t develop a VSTOL UCAV in future?

ETH
ETH
4 months ago

I’d imagine that may be delayed until possibly 2022 following the flooding and subsequent repair work.

Steve R
Steve R
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

We committed to 138 F35s “over the life of the programme.” I don’t think they ever intended to operate all 138 together, same as they never planned to operate both carriers together except in dire straits. The MoD and HMG has said all along they would operate 4 frontline squadrons plus an OCU. 12 planes in each comes to 60 airframes, then 20-30 spares, so likely we’ll get 90. This does also allow the possibility of standing up a 5th squadron in dire circumstances, which is how 809 Squadron formed in the Falklands in 1982. If we do get all… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

A 2nd carrier could be deployed with 207Squ(OCU), in home waters/GIUK for at sea training and ASW exercises.

Last edited 4 months ago by Meirion X
Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

And I would think would also be the fastest way to provide close air support to forces defending Norway against Russian incursion. Its a thousand miles from Lossemouth to Tromso,

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Agreed Paul!

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Yes. Even with a reduced order of F35, we could operate say 4/6 on PoW to provide air defence. But we need to get the contracted 48 delivered to be able to do that and have a 20+ load on QE.

Steve R
Steve R
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Well we have place the order for the initial 48 so if we welch out of that we’ll have to pay LM anyway. We’ll get all of that 48.

To be honest I think we’ll end up with around 90 F35s total.

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

Just re-read a long article on the NAO report. The costs of 48 contracted F 35 are included but there is no funding in place for more. And even with this small number, there is a multi billion shortfall over the next 10 years. I think we will not see more than 48 over that period. Our problem might be that the growing disenchantment in US defense circles with the cost and poor availability of the aircraft might see it cancelled after much smaller than planned orders have been met. The F22 was chopped early despite the plane having far… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

The F-35A is Not to be chopped!
The USAF is still planning to forward deploy 48 F-35As in Lakenheath later this year.

Even the Harrier was problematic when first operational, in the early 1970s!

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

I mean the F-35A’s will be permanently based at this Suffolk base for years to come.

Last edited 4 months ago by Meirion X
Paul T
Paul T
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Yes,its not exactly a Vote of Confidence in the F35 when even the USAF are looking into other Platforms to replace their F16’s.

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Of course it is! Ships will probably be supplied by chums of Hancock!

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

What on earth gives you the impression the UK operates by patronage? 92 hereditary Peers, 26 Bishops and 692 political place men in the House of Lords perhaps?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

I’m optimistic, mate. These should be additional, not instead of.

Enablers!

Paul C
4 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

My guess is Albion and Bulwark will be decommissioned early and replaced with a compromised solution of some description, probably involving converted used hulls. Whether they are anything like the LSS concept remains to be seen. Never been a fan of LSS myself. The LPDs are approaching 20 years old so going with a converted hulls fudge now means no direct replacements for the LPDs in a decade or so. Could be wrong of course but that’s the way I see it.

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul C

Then how would we reinforced Norway with RM, from You know Who(R) attack without the LPDs?

Paul C
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

I’m not saying it is what they should do but what they may do. Fearless and Intrepid faced the axe as part of the 1981 Nott review. How would we have reinforced Norway then when the threat was far greater than it is now? Ditto the 1975 Mason review, which began the run-down of the assault capability and indicated that no further specialist ships would be built. Presumably there were ‘gap filler’ alternatives under consideration that could have been used instead, e.g. adapted merchant ships? Even when the decision was taken to reprieve and eventually replace Fearless and Intrepid, they… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul C

Albion and Bulwark have both been in reserve and deep extended readiness. Their hulls are not worn out or their engines fatigued. I would think they both have at least another 20 years viable service life left in them.

Paul C
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

The planned out of service dates are 2033 for Albion and 2034 for Bulwark, so much less than 20 years. Given a decade is required to plan, design and build replacements we need to begin work on this during the current parliament. Hopefully the integrated review will provide clarification. It is not just about their material condition but how much they cost to crew, run and maintain, particularly as they age. Ships are often decommissioned early if the on-going costs are not justifiable when there are more important priorities. For example, are the RM moving away from beach landings? If… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul C

There is No other way we can hold Norway without substantial forces insertion, which is the LPDs role.
As you said in the previous post, we were planning to lose Norway in the 1980’s, is the UK Gov planning the same exercise again, to make Norway an easy target?

Paul C
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

We would struggle to make much of an impact with two modest LPDs, only one of which is actually operational. Surely the US with vastly more resources would take the lead with the RN, RM and European allies playing a relatively minor supporting role. I am not opposed to the assault capability or indeed LPDs. But if we are just being tokenistic and keeping it going as a sacred cow (I get the impression that to some extent we are) then continuing with the status quo is not a sensible use of resources. It is an issue that has to… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul C

We did hold off the Germans in Norway for a few weeks in WW2! If only Uncle Sam had joined the War at that stage(April 1940), would have been enough time for reinforcements to arrive across the pond, and Norway would have been held.

Once you have loess
a foothold, it is harder to get back in
again!

Last edited 4 months ago by Meirion X
Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Do we really need LPDs to reinforce Norway? If there are no ports available to off load men and heavy equipment,Norway is already lost.

Meirion XThe
Meirion XThe
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

You Don’t need ports with LPD’s!
Their landing craft can land on a beach with heavy equipment. That is the advantage of LPDs, if ports are inaccessable for some reason.

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

You Don’t need ports with LPD’s!
Their landing craft can land on a beach with heavy equipment. That is the advantage of LPDs, if ports are inaccessable for some reason.

It can be undefended beach as well.

Last edited 4 months ago by Meirion X
Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
4 months ago

Williamson clearly considered the LSS as additional to rather than replacement for the LPD, but I have not received the impression that this view is mainstream MOD. Seems difficult to believe UK could support all those assets i.e. from A/C to Bays plus all the facilitating troop platforms they’d require to be effective. LSS are interesting concept, but I understand their main u.s.p is as helicopter strike platforms to aid rapid littoral assault over the vulnerability of landing craft to modern guided weapons. Sound by itself, but we have few Mk4 Merlin and the like at high cost per unit.… Read more »

Mark F
Mark F
4 months ago

This has come to light again probably to counter any leaks coming from MOD main building of the future and upcoming defence review. This is the future of defence as I have said many times before the army are going to take a big hit and be re- roled. Heavy armour as we now it is going right or wrong as for traditional land warfare its not going to happen in the planners mind. The top brass know this and are going to kick up big time. I can see the RAF changing the way it does buisness in the… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark F

I think you’ll be wrong. This review will be more of the same. Same general force structure, some salami slicing. Boris is not a revolutions person (even less than Cameron and his daft “no capbadges” ruling) and just plays esch side off to deliver an otherwise mundane outcome. There is no way he’ll put his name on initiating some major change in defence direction like binning heavy forces given the flak the Army and retired Generals would throw at him and that’s one quarter still broadly on his core team, especially as its those that give the UK a European… Read more »

Mark F
Mark F
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Under Cameron and Fox we lost entire capabilities, no salami slicing there.The whole point of this review is less people to do more. The Secretary of State has dropped alot of hints over the last 12 months and none of it was to gauge public opinion for what its worth. We now have laughingly Space force, Cyber security corps and a carrier battle group. The RAF is and will still stand QRA and a flexible transport force. The future we are told is the loyal wingman concept unmand drones, swarm drone technology and more autonomy. Less crabs, less pongos but… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark F

Caneron just cut stuff that was due to die anyway (Harriers shagged, Type 22s with no ships in the yards to replace them). Absolutely nothing revolutionary in strategy.

Note Hercs and Pumas in not dissimilar state today…

But Boris doesnt want to be a “cutter” and appewrs to have a magic money tree so that dynamic is worth watching.

RAF future is Tempest, noting loyal wingman has to have something to be loyal too!

The question is what of the magic money goes on mew useful capabilities and what goes down the pan with the usual procurement…

Mark F
Mark F
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

I think you are wrong but we will see.

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Would it make sense for the Army to forward deploy equipment in Eastern Europe?

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
4 months ago

So long as it isn’t a replacement for conventional amphibious assault ships, this seems like a really versatile and flexible way to expand amphibious capability on a budget.

Rob
Rob
4 months ago

If there is enough money to build these ships, keep Albion & Bulwark operational and enough escorts to escort both amphibious groups as well as the carrier group I’ll eat my hat. Also the idea that one group is based east of Suez and the other west really signals the death nell of 3 Commando as a Bde group. Presumably they see a commando group with each amphibious force, a bit like a USMC MEU. In turn that would mean our ability to rapidly reinforce the Norwegians with a amphibious Bde of arctic trained commandos would be gone. I still… Read more »

Grant
Grant
4 months ago

All good stuff – two would make a useful replacement for Argus and go someway to closing the gap left by Ocean going. Not sure how flying operations will work; I’m sure there is a good reason that all other ships either have a through deck or a deck behind the superstructure of the ship…..

This plan will need a lot more sea going helicopters – do we need 72 Chinooks? (and F35s obviously)

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago

“Autonomous Advance Force”

What were those autonomous semi submersible things believed bought for SBS trialled last year?

Challenger
Challenger
4 months ago

Mother-ships forward based to launch small Royal Marine teams and helicopters on day 1 of a crisis rather than waiting weeks for the carriers and/or other amphibious ships to arrive makes a lot of sense to me. They’d at least partially replace the LPH capabilities lost with Ocean and allow any Argus replacement to be a dedicated hospital vessel rather than a compromised design too. Controversial view but with these in place for low level SF stuff and the carriers providing ample planning/command & control facilities for larger ops i don’t really see any need to have distinctive LPD’s in… Read more »

David Flandry
David Flandry
4 months ago

Reviewing is fine, just build the things soonest. The capability in some form is needed.

Ron
Ron
4 months ago

As anyone that have seen some of my posts on this site I like some of the ideas from the Dutch Damen group. Especially for the new T32 as I think the Crossover Combatant would be a good fit, in the Crossover family they have an Amphibious version able to carry 200 Royal Marines and their equipement, a hanger for two medium helicopters (Merlin) assault craft LCVP/CB-90 and able to defend itself. So possibly the Crossover Amphib could be a good start for the LSS especially if the T32 could be based on the Combatant. By doing things this way… Read more »

Pacman27
Pacman27
4 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Hi Ron I think there is 2 parts to this. the T31 / T26 should/could be able to dispatch a company of RM using CB90’s or similar – but we need to factor this into their builds now (Absalon has this capabilit, nothing to say we can’t add the extra deck back into the Huitfeldt design which itself is an upgrade on the original Absalon design) If we want something bigger/meatier, then we need to look at the Karel Doorman type design as it offers so much more than any other vessel out there. I know a lot of people… Read more »

Ron
Ron
4 months ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Pacman, I agree that we do need to get more out of less. There is as you say a few ways to look at this issue. The first is what do we want or need to do. To put Royal Marines ashore we need one type of ship but to put battlegroups from the Army ashore something diffrent. I agree that the KD is a good design but I think that should be used as a Bays replacement. The reason for my idea is we want to build our frigate numbers and carry out small scale raiding by the RM.… Read more »

Pacman27
Pacman27
4 months ago
Reply to  Ron

The problem as I see it is that the need to land a brigade is really niche now and the beauty of the KD type vessel is we can get daily value by assigning them to replenishment, mothership and humanitarian tasks, but when needed they can be turned into a respectable landing platform

the key enablers here will be S2S connectors which themselves are expensive, but again offer flexibility (think recent floods in uk)

I would really like to see all of this wargamed up to see which platforms give the most utility and vfm and ruthlessly pursuing these assets.

Dan
Dan
4 months ago

I didn’t think you were allowed to disguise military assets as civilian craft? Is this only in war or are the government being clever with word choice here to play by the rules?

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago

We need these ships. QE and POW are not littoral LHDs. HMS Ocean and HMS Argus?

Albion
Albion
4 months ago

Built to civvi standatd, this is a floating fuel tank/magazine probably made from a second-hand hull. Why not just go for an LPH/LHD in the first place.

Pacman27
Pacman27
4 months ago

I have to say I don’t think we need these ships, if we can commit to more T31’s and kit them out with CB90’s or similar we could get more for our money. We either go with a support fleet of 8 Karel Doorman type vessels and 3 SSS to replace the Bays (3), Bulwarks (2), Forts(3),Waves (2) and Argus (1) that would give us this mother ship capacity as well as the ability to configure for operation. Ultimately a T31 kitted out with 3 or 4 CB90’s would give us the required force if we increase the number of… Read more »

Paul C
4 months ago
Reply to  Pacman27

I am also a fan of the Karel Doorman. We should definitely be looking at ships of this type to replace some or all of our of our existing amphibious assets. A much better option than the LSS fudge and new hulls which could be built in UK yards.

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Pacman27

It would be best If KDs were fitted with a stren door to allow LXUUVs to deploy covertly?
And to prevent any lopsiding if lifted by crane, due to the weight of them.

Last edited 4 months ago by Meirion X
Pacman27
Pacman27
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

I would advise anyone to take a look at the specs of a kd and then look at the specs of a Fort class and the bays. They are just about as good as it gets for a multi purpose vessel and I am sure could be improved/tweaked as needed. 40 tonne crane 2 lvcp 2000 lane metre hanger for 6 merlins or 2 chinooks 2 Replenishment-At-Sea masts c. 8000 m3 of fuel, c. 1000 m3of helicopter fuel, c. 450 m3 of potable water and c. 400 tonnes of ammunition and other supplies. it also has war rooms and a 20 bed… Read more »

Ernest Harrison
Ernest Harrison
4 months ago

I think Gavin Williamson was an excellent defense secretary and his vision of using hulls already built is sound IMO.

Callum. Littoral Strike Ship would have been suited to the Falklands, gone are the days of charging a beach. I thought this idea had gone with GW, pleased to see it alive. Hope it’s not an the expense of Bulwark and Albion.

Herodotus
4 months ago

Gavin Williamson was no such thing….he is a cheap opportunist. Any ideas in the MOD during his tenure certainly weren’t his. Oooh Betty!

Nila
Nila
4 months ago

Basically, the UK really wants an LPD like the American San Antonio class LPD

Jon
Jon
3 months ago

Understanding the Procurement process. Ukgov is going to invest in services for supporting the country. Having a project on going is a way of delivering a contract for industry to survive the pandemic. Imagine having one of these as a self contained support platform. HMS Ocean was built on this scheme but reached her upgradeable limit for a modern navy. Brazilian navy down graded her to a lower spec. Modern navies will have less short build numbers and more flexibility within there ships

Johan
Johan
3 months ago

Point-class sealift ship Mark 2
4 ships have proved their worth over the last 20 years. time for a GTI Model.

CAM
CAM
25 days ago

Can I just ask, according to Mr Williamson’s statement, does that mean that these ships won’t be replacing Albion and Bulwark?

Louis DiFrancesco
Louis DiFrancesco
22 days ago

60 Strike Groups

USS Constellation FFG(x) Proposal (Hydrofoil Sailing Ship)
https://youtu.be/uJ7GJDjLmy0

Louis DiFrancesco
Louis DiFrancesco
22 days ago

Electroplated (no welding) Hydrofoil & Hull 1.Electroplate (from mixed metals of waste dump) ship as a single piece 1.“Star Wars” used this radical technology to win the “Cold War” MDA904-94-C-6210 2.Hulls built in 2 days at 10 different shipyards generates: 1.200 FFG(x) annually production 2.1,800 US flagged merchantmen annually production 3.150ft Strut gives hull-wave clearance & stability (in sea state 10) 4.Multiple hydrofoils allows 5-150mph (kite sail & GE LM2500 turbines) 1.Sprints 150mph fuel (World record is 322mph) 2.Cruises 60mph wind (20mph surface winds implies 68mph at kite sail elevation) 3.Range unlimited on wind  5.Hull floats regardless of damage (18… Read more »

Louis DiFrancesco
Louis DiFrancesco
22 days ago

This manufacturing technique will replace current ships and generate more profit for the shipyard.