The Ministry of Defence has refrained from revealing the specific date for the return of HMS Bulwark to active service.

This marked departure from their routine of often providing comments on when a ship is anticipated to enter service was brought to light after a written parliamentary question from MP John Healey, the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence.

Mr. Healey’s question, referencing an earlier answer from 2nd September 2021 concerning the HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, sought clarity on the ship’s status.

Responding, James Cartlidge, The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, stated: “HMS Bulwark remains in Devonport Dockyard undertaking a period of upkeep. She is now in a period of transition with her sistership HMS Albion. We do not disclose the fine detail of forward availability to preserve the operational security of the Fleet.

HMS Bulwark, an Albion-class assault ship of the Royal Navy, is designed to deploy Royal Marines both by air and sea.

While the ship’s projected out-of-service date is 2034, it was briefly considered for decommissioning in 2017 as a cost-saving measure. However, this was reversed in September 2018.

After her dry-docking in late 2020 for the second phase of her optimised support period, she was slated for a return to the fleet in 2023. Yet, newer reports hint that she might not resume active operations until 2024.

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Lisa has a degree in Media & Communication from Glasgow Caledonian University and works with industry news, sifting through press releases in addition to moderating website comments.
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PTT
PTT
2 months ago

And here we go again 🙃
I do wonder whether this British Government (and this includes all the previous ones as well) have lost the trust and ability to make decisions on the future of our military.
The similarities to the 30’s are stark

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  PTT

We never learn do we?

pete
pete
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Perhaps the Government should bring this work back in house as outsourcing does not work ?

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  pete

It’s clear that the MOD is not fit for purpose and major changes must be made our defence policies are as big a big a mess as the floor in Fred carno’s circus. The lunatics have taken over the asylum!

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

As we probably won’t be storming any beaches anytime SOON, they’re not totally necessary, although to lose the capability to do it would be a massive backward step in the credibility of the whole royal marines existence. I don’t think we’re far away from some seismic changes in the whole structure of the umk armed forces as we know it and my m.p told me at a recent meeting, the words merger are in the air again. Th army regiment are not unused to the practice the need for two special forces could be amalgamated.as could the fleet air arm… Read more »

Paul Mawhinney
Paul Mawhinney
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Absolutely not….and the Admiralty should emphasise the motto of the RN…If you want peace, prepare for war!

Martin Wood
Martin Wood
2 months ago
Reply to  PTT

You’ll surprised by how much investment in defence took place in the 30s. Most of the larger modern ships that served through the bulk ofv the war were laid down in the mid to late 30s. Ark Royal, King George v, victorious etc. The shadow factory in Castle Bromwich started spitfire production in August 1940, at the height of the battle of Britain. In June 1940, we were out producing Germany in both tanks and aircraft, in the case of the latter, I believe we out produced Germany throughout the war just by ourselves. We were in many ways better… Read more »

ChrisLondon
ChrisLondon
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin Wood

I thought the whole horse thing was now put down to fuel. They had Romania and Russia, then just Romania. We had the world.

Duker
Duker
2 months ago
Reply to  ChrisLondon

“The standard German infantry division (1939 pattern) required anything from 4077 to 6033 horses to move. ”
The mechanised tank and panzer grenadiers units were maybe 25% of the divisions.
remember the people per car in germany in 39 was 90 per 1 car. Not many knew how to drive
British army 1939 was a lot smaller
https://www.flamesofwar.com/Portals/0/all_images/Historical/Stalingrad/German-Horse-05.jpg

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 months ago
Reply to  ChrisLondon

The German army of WW2 were seriously hamstrung by the lack of oil fuels. Once they lost the Romania oil fields to the Russian advance they were doomed to lose the war.
It is true by mid to late 1940s the British empire and commonwealth easily out produced the axis forces in aircraft numbers, tanks, munitions and especially shipping.

Tim
Tim
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin Wood

They didn’t have the fuel that’s why

DH
DH
2 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Ersatz. 👍

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin Wood

…in WWII we wound up with things like the Ministry For Aircraft Production (MAP). One of the things this did was to standardise design on common parts and systems across aircraft. This helped widen out British and Canadian industries involvement, and helped get aircraft to the front line. Worth remembering in 2024.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago

Yes to both of you.

Last edited 2 months ago by Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

As in Churchill / Beaverbrook should have appeared

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  PTT

So whats next do away with the royal marines who are these people who are involved in the process’ How do they qualify for the job? How come none of us gets an invite?

BobA
BobA
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Funny you should say that, because I was in Main Building a few years ago when the RN offered just that as a cost saving…

I think they assumed that the Army would take them on, or that they had done another “Royal Yacht”. ie When asked for a saving in the late 90s they put forward the RY believing the government would just say no.

The result of the latest offering was Future Commando Force – which is obviously just a way of getting rid of a major cost (sorry capability)without admitting that you can’t afford the real thing.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  PTT

Yy

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago

Maybe this kind of press is a forewarning to the ship being decommissioned altogether. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen this kind of disclosure.. the H.M.S Ocean saga started like this.

Cygnet261
Cygnet261
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Ocean was not past its best. She was wasted by the MOD. Why else would the Brazilians want her?

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  Cygnet261

She was knackered. I did a maint period on her during a mid east trip. She was a mess.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Hi GB, Rather than the scribbling of impending doom from some about being decommissioned could the tight lipped MOD just not be wanting to admit a crew shortage ?
Both QE’s are out at present and I am thinking QE must be due a docking session and maintenance period up at Rosyth. If that is the case and with Albion is due to go into reserve and then a refit 2024 makes sense for Bulwark.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

An LPD has a crew of around 300. It really isn’t that big considering the size of the thing. FAA and RM additional personnel embark when you are going to do flight ops and the LCs/ORCs are with the ship. In the greater scheme of things for engineering and OPS depts it comparable to a T23. The Loggies have a bigger footprint as do the CIS Depts when compared to T23. More wardroom carried as well. When I got sold an LPD draft by RN Drafty he described it as “just like a T23 but with a ferry port and… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

If that’s the crew required to operate the ship safely then that’s what’s needed. They are such useful ships in so many ways. Large flight deck, carrying capacity for landings and disaster relief, flag staff for running a fleet/ops and the list goes on. I put them up then up the top of the useful ships needed in the navy. The fleet should be based around an carrier with minimum 1 Destroyer and 1 frigate escort. An LPD with the same escorts. A bay with frigate escort, 5 forward deployed patrol boats, Mother ship with frigate and MCM/patrol boats for… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 months ago
Reply to  Cygnet261

Agree. In fact Atlantico is still serving Brazil very nicely. Seeing as Brazil have just stated Putin is welcome to attend the G20 there in 2024 without any risk of arrest I’d say we shouldn’t be providing anything to Brazil least of all selling them highly capable vessels like Bulwark which is a capital ship.
Bulwark should either be retained in frontline service or put into a reserve fleet. No RN warships should be sold off. We should be retaining them for reactivation if required.

Ali
Ali
2 months ago

The world appears to be convulsing towards WW3 and the UK treasury are still pretending that it will all go away. January 24 Taiwan has an election. How low do they want us to go to try and avoid an expensive war? Cut cut cut and then the evil Brexit Tories or self serving Labourites can’t comit to help our allies or protect ourselves. If, or when, it starts thanks to Whitehall mandarins and their politicians it is going to be a lot worse and go on for far longer than it would have needed to… We need a properly… Read more »

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
2 months ago
Reply to  Ali

Unfortunately it’s Service Families that suffer the loss not HM Treasury and Whitehall mandarins.
Apparently they can’t account for loss and human value.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
2 months ago

Actually we don’t do much for India anymore, Pakistan gets way more. The biggest drain on the overseas aid budget is providing accommodation for asylum seekers.

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Tell me about it 😟💰💰💰💰💰💰

Duker
Duker
2 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

yes. Half of the budget is spent in UK for asylum/refugee cases

Whole of Africa gets £1.5 bill

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
2 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), which distributes aid, sent India £33.4 million in aid cash in 2022/23. But the FCDO’s annual report, published this week, reveals that the total is set to rise to £57 million in 2024/25.
Not a huge amount but still going up

Gareth
Gareth
2 months ago

We could start by cutting any aid to countries which have shown any ambiguity over their relationship with Russia and the instigators of the war in Ukraine.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
2 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Absolutely. Without consequences there is no accountability.

David Barry
David Barry
2 months ago

You might be surprised. Our area of Copeland has lost its MP at the next GE.

We are having a Barrow in Furness candidate foisted upon us by Labour and he is being questioned on Monday night; now where are my ‘How to interview a suspect’ notes?

And my town is solid Royal Navy, with a pretty big smattering of them, RRA, RS, and Royal, with a solitary RMP thrown in for good measure.

‘Our’ Labour candidate is not going to get an easy ride.

Nick C
Nick C
2 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

Give him hell, and if he doesn’t get frightened, and has the answers, then he’s your man. If he doesn’t measure up then you have to work incredibly hard to get someone in post who is both able and willing to fight tooth and nail for all Barrow means to UK defence.

David Barry
David Barry
2 months ago
Reply to  Nick C

Cheers Nick. Will do.

Jon
Jon
2 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

Good luck. Let us know how it goes. 👍

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

Just goes to show that no matter what party is running the asylum, nothing ever seems to get better.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

I write to my local ringmaster (MP) every month concerning issues discussed on this site and ask for them to be forwarded to the defence offices on the odd occasion I actually get a reply which has the tone of who are you to question us? Followed by paragraphs about cutting edge aircraft carriers world leading destroyers and any other knick Knacks they, have foisted on the forces In fact one dangerous reply mentioned that not many nations can afford to operate three separate branches of the nations forces! Did that allude to the merging of areas in the structure?… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Andy reeves
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago

Sorry, dreaming again, but you do wonder what would have been if the RN had of purchased those two Mistral’s that then went to Egypt.

Paul Bestwick
Paul Bestwick
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Albion and Bulwark would have both been decommissioned and one of the Mistrals would have been mothballed.

Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul Bestwick

And we would never hear the end of the gloating over the Royal Navy using French warships!

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

I would be interesting to know if the RN did a serious look at them and what turned them off it. I really hope it wasn’t because they were French and it had something to do with capabilities of the ships or strings attached to the deal that were unacceptable. Considering how cheap they seemed to be, it was an odd decision.

Jon
Jon
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

This was when Osborne was Chancellor. Two quid extra spend would have been thought frivolous, much less £800m. After all, we were all in it together.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
2 months ago
Reply to  Jon

All in it together. 😂😂😂😂

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Are you saying we aren’t? Think of poor old boris/truss/Cameron/Blair on their barely breaking even multiple million pounds a year seeking tour. Min wage work for you.

Think of poor old sunak and the millions his made through laws that somehow confidently help his wife, or the India deal that is going to make his poor barely breaking even step dad billions.

Poor old mad nardine and her lost peerage gravey train after not representing for almost 2 years whilst writing her book. All hard work, don’t you know.

All in it together for sure, rough time and smooth.

Last edited 2 months ago by Steve
Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

🤞👍👍

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

The navys of the world have traded WARSHIPS for ever, we sell, usually at a massive loss, but we don’t buy why not? Is it because the ‘crusty old admirals don’t want to see the RN using other nations cast offs? We can grow the navy with ships ALREADY BUILT

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

There is no comparison though between the 2 types for ships, the French mistrals are a significant step up on the albions, mainly because they have a dedicated hanger to support helicopter operations, which would be essential for a landing in the modern era and why the RN was talking about using one of the QE for it, which would put them at great risk. It’s not about the admirals thinking we have the assets we just need to use them, its about them knowing we don’t have the cash to replace what we have and sp making it work… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Steve
ABCRodney
ABCRodney
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

The Royal Navy has a long and illustrious History of using well built ex French Warships.
So that shouldn’t cause any issues whatsoever. What may be a problem is that I don’t thing todays French would like the financial terms, then again they didn’t in the past.
Where’s my Cutlass and anyone up for a Boarding Party ? 🤣

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

No thanks I’ve only got a billyhook to fight with f

DH
DH
2 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Apart from scraping their dead out o the bilges phewww!
👍

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Who cares? I drive a foreign car and it is just what I need it to be if a ship can float, move and fight, it Is a warship, old or not those T23’S would never have been retired from service by most of the worlds navys. Does it look like a fight with a high tech navy is in the air? No. So why complain about having no ships and then getting rid of ones that millions of pounds have been spent on to extend their lives ark royal 5 years early the whole T22 class, two perfectly good… Read more »

andy reeves
andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

i think albionAND bulwark are for the chop. this kind of rumouring is identical to the ones first aired when oceans place was under review.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul Bestwick

Like the rest of the fleet.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Far better off and the marines would be far happier.

dazzler
dazzler
2 months ago

Do we actually need assault ships on active duties in peacetime? Would it not be better just to keep them in port with active maintenance and occasional outings for exercises. Then we could use the manpower to keep our frigates and patrol ships active, which do have a clearer peacetime role (i.e policing, anti piracy, patrolling, escorting Russians, etc).

Jon Hanney
Jon Hanney
2 months ago
Reply to  dazzler

In many ways assualt ships are much better suited to humanitarian and disaster assistance than frigates, having the ability to move heavy equipment ashore. This need will only climb as climate change increases such incidents.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 months ago

What’s the bet she will be sold off for a song to either Brazil (Russia and Mad Vlad the murderer supporters) or Chile.

andy reeves
andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

the brazillians will buy any sh*t from anywhere if they can get it cheaply enough.

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago

‘We do not disclose the fine detail of forward availability to preserve our covert cost cutting.’…..

andy reeves
andy reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

same old story another day ,another false issue from the MOD.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago

Doesn’t matter what party is running the asylum it will always be that the people making decisions are the wrong ones oh how much of the world must be laughing at our continuing desperate floundering around the mid table of naval power. The forces of the nation are a shambolic mess, because they are being run by morons many of whom still think war at sea is carried out by sailing both of your ships side by side of the enemy there are corridors of forgotten dusty old admirals who have cluttered the MOD for too long and nobody has… Read more »

David Barry
David Barry
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Which is why tomorrow night is so important.

The Cons are screwed at the moment by their blue rinse supporters who still think the French will invade – only demographics will change their selection process.

Labourcare equally screwed by the ultra-left in city centres. However, here in the sticks where our candidate is talking about social justice, they are in for a rude awakening. Ex-mining Town, there was never any justice, just hard work; but the town does believe in the Royal Navy, does believe in the Armed Forces and wants things to change.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
2 months ago

Bye bye Bulwark, and probably Albion as well in the not too distant future.

Tom
Tom
2 months ago

The beginning of the end for Albion and Bulwark? I can just imagine the conversation between two cabbage like bean counters at the MOD… why we got them two ‘boats’, when we got them other 2 ‘big boats’ at sea already

Paul.P
Paul.P
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Maybe they have a point. I’ll bet you could build an additional Enforcer / Bay class in 18 months.

Ernest
Ernest
2 months ago

In defense and many other ways -The UK are heading for the rocks.It’s sad but true – Even the police stations in lots of places are open just 9-5.

Really are no military brass able to stand up to the MOD and government, It’s a shame what is happening to our country and soon, it mean no way back, Look at the army now- They will cut it again.

Lee John fursman
Lee John fursman
2 months ago
Reply to  Ernest

God save us, oh heart of Oak and woodworm too.

Order of the Ditch
Order of the Ditch
2 months ago
Reply to  Ernest

You would think we have a small defence budget based on the way things are going. We are spending so much and getting so little for it, a pattern being repeated across other government departments not just the MoD. We really need to look at how the French do things, they generally are doing a lot better than we are; army at 118k vs our now 72k, over 100 more fast jets, 50 major transport aircraft vs our 30, fully indigenous nuclear deterrent.

Paul.P
Paul.P
2 months ago
Reply to  Ernest

Indeed, the roads are full of pot-holes, the road signs are grimey and illegible, the NHS is falling apart (apparently), the BBC is out to undermine the country, and the police force is supposedly full of sexual predators; cuts to services and the list of discontented people on strike seem endless. It’s tempting to take that negative view. But I notice today that BMW, with government financial assistance, have signed up to producing the electric Mini in Swindon – investment confidence. Suella Braverman has told the police that silent prayer outside an abortion clinic is not a crime and that… Read more »

Wasp snorter
Wasp snorter
2 months ago
Reply to  Ernest

Don’t worry everyone, Shapps is now in charge, I have full confidence he will bring in long term vision and increase spending, maybe one of his get rich schemes will come in and sort all this out.

Ernest
Ernest
2 months ago
Reply to  Wasp snorter

Grant Shapps -Works at all trades/departments – Master of none. He is proud to serve Sunak and Sunak is confident Grant will do the right thing by him.

Grant has been made brought in with the PM confident he will sort out the problem of excessive Ships. Troops and Jets. In short I am confident he is up to that job. I wish I was joking.

Paul.P
Paul.P
2 months ago

Got to wonder if this delay isn’t the other side of the ‘whether or how to finance Westminster’s Lifex’ coin.

Michael Docherty
Michael Docherty
2 months ago

I worked long hours at BAE in Barrow during the construction of the Albion,Bulwark and Waveknight at Barrow and all three ships were built in record time to a very good standard.The Bulwark and Allbion were built to the standard requested by the Royal Marines and prior to their construction a team of us went from Barrow to Portsmouth to ask the sailors and the marines if they wanted anything including in the construction of these ships to make them better These suggestions were taken on board and used so it would be criminal if these boats were taken out… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 months ago

Well Michael we all know how our government when it comes to Defence 😞🇬🇧

Razor
Razor
2 months ago

I wonder whether this is a manpower shortage issue cloaked under operational security. Both carriers are at sea and I can imagine there is some mission critical expertise missing? No doubt some of Albion crew after rest will be deployed with Bulwark.

JamesF
JamesF
2 months ago

Problem is crews – we have two carriers on ops – I’m pretty sure not enough sailors to do that and find another large crew for Bulwark. She will come back when one of the carriers goes into refit next IMHO.

Brazilian Sailor
Brazilian Sailor
17 days ago

Welcome aboard Bulwark, Brazil awaits you with open arms…🇧🇷