RFA Argus has arrived at Bermuda in preparation to support British Overseas Territories in the region with the response to the Covid-19 pandemic if required, say the Royal Navy.

According to a news release, RFA Argus’ deployment to the Caribbean had been scheduled for the hurricane season, but she will now be able to play a part in ensuring the UK Government is ready to support the Overseas Territories during the pandemic.

RFA Argus Dispatched to Support Caribbean Region - DefPost

“As Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines continue to stand ready to assist the United Kingdom in its efforts to defeat the pandemic at home, the support ship left Devonport today to cross the Atlantic and head south for the Caribbean.”

Captain Terence Barke said:

“RFA Argus’ ship’s company, consisting of both Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Royal Navy personnel, will rise to this challenge. We understand that there are people in need in the UK Overseas Territories who require our support.”

Minister of State for Defence Jeremy Quinn, responsible for the Overseas Territories, said:

“The Armed Forces are taking decisive and coordinated action both at home and overseas to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak. The Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary have worked hard to ensure that RFA Argus is ready for the hurricane season in the Caribbean and now also able to support the UK’s Overseas Territories during the pandemic. The deployment of this ship is just one way the UK Government is supporting communities at home and overseas as together we face the biggest public health emergency in a generation.”

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Geoffrey Roach

As I understand it there are no plans, or at least no funds, to replace her. Surely in the upcoming INTEGRATED review her role as a receiving/hospital ship and as a vessel able to give aid overseas a replacement could be paid for out of the overseas aid budget. Could her training role not be taken over by a Bay class?

David Barry

There needs to be an adult discussion on several platforms and roles and perhaps developing a common hull where possible with different topsides. Given that Royal want to use T26 / 31s with RHIBs are we ever likely to see tanks embarked in the future?

If not then LPDs could be reconfigured as well.

Of course, ELAC – economic life after COVID – will change utterly and with it spending plans.

Meirion X

Actually, the best way to get the recovery going after COVID19, is to bring procurement plans forward. Cutting back just creates more negative feedback in the economy.

Lee1

It is complex. However there are certainly going to be cutbacks when 35% of the economy is gone. We are going to be so in debt that it is going to be hard to justify even more borrowing when millions of people are going to need support.

Mark B

I understand Lee where your thinking is going but there is a flaw in your argument. The economy has stopped along with every other major economy. We have not lost business elsewhere it will be as if these months don’t exist. From a productivity point of view it will be like having an 8 or 9 month year. On paper this will be a drop but in reality many businesses will spike when this is over and there will be a lot of overtime going on. Assuming the Government invests heavily in the right areas the support will be temporary.… Read more »

Lee1

Nope. You seem to totally misunderstand economics… If other countries are also suffering then it make our situation worse not better! We sell abroad and those countries will not be buying like they were before. We also buy from abroad and so prices could go up or shortages could cause supply chain issues etc. It is not as if these months have not happened, it will be as if someone took a sledgehammer to the worlds economy! Lots of the people that are currently furloughed will never be going back to their jobs. Millions are going to be in severe… Read more »

Mark B

This is interesting. Without any intervention from Global Governments I can see what you are suggesting will happen. It is a little like the predicted 510,000 deaths in the UK which clearly will not happen because of intervention.
In my view there will be intervention, exactly what is still a mystery. We will see. I hope you are wrong!

Andy

Defense spending is a great way to boost the economy. A lot of research has been done on this recently to support arguments to build the proposed FSS in the U.K.

GO IN

maybe even looking ahead to the t 45 replacement. the current t 45’s are being flogged to death and they will be well worn out by their projected use by dates, although a reconfigured t 26 could easily be designated a destroyer.

Nicholas

Exactly, well put

GO IN

i think the cost of converting a ship taken up from trade makes more economical sense especially a cruise ship with many cabins and accommodation spaces.

Andy

I agree Geoffrey and David. I think the MoD have learned a lot lessons from the aircraft carrier alliance, the submarine delivery agency and the type 31 procurement, dual production line and (hopefully) mass production. I hope we are also learning from China, who are showing everyone how it’s done. We need a similar alliance with industry for a fleet of support ships. But we also need to build the £200m Type 26 frigate factory in Scotstoun. It’s very low risk now we have 2 partners that are building Type 26 production lines. We can stimulate the Glasgow economy, reduce… Read more »

Ethan

I can imagine the gov is hesitant to build a 200m factory just for the Scots to decide they don’t want to be British anymore…

Andy

We should build it because being British has benefits, like getting frigate factories and because broken promises are a very touchy subject in Scotland.

Boris would love to win MPs in Glasgow, and around Scotland, he is probably in power for 15 years so he can think long term.

Mark B

Geoffrey any sensible Government would be well advised to look again at any areas which contain an element of providing capacity for emergency situations.

Future Governments will not get away with a lack of preparedness.

DaveyB

In a way the end of the Cold War caused a lot of problems for future planning. A lot of units dedicated to CBRN were thinned out then binned only to resurrected again in the hour of need. A lot of the research into CBRN was shelved or had their teams thinned out, especially at Porten Down. This goes hand in hand with the PPE. As a military force the stocks of CBRN equipment was allowed to reduce to a just enough amount, i.e. replacement CBRN suits, respirator filters and detection equipment. Granted the UK forces have now got the… Read more »

Mark B

Hi DaveyB I think you are right. The cold war not only created a situation where assets were thinned out but they were also not modernised. The whole issue fell off the radar. The issue with obtaining key equipment is the same in the Military and the NHS etc. A certain quantity are needed in reserve and in a safe place. However you also need to know that you have control over companies which can switch production at short notice to produce either the product, components etc. it is not rocket science. There is a cost but it is minor… Read more »

dave12

Little fact RFA Argus was used in the film World War Z playing the HQ ship at the beginning of the film.

Helions

The U.S. has just contracted for 5 of these. It’s a good concept and the first that I’ve heard of it.

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2020/04/14/philadelphia-shipyard-tapped-to-build-new-merchant-marine-training-ships

Cheers and stay healthy!

maurice10

She is a fair old lump of steel, and must have good sea performance with her superstructure so far forward? Due to COVID-19, she may stay in service longer than anticipated?

GO IN

without a doubt one of the best run ashores i ever had, the former royal navy base on Ireland island . shows what a grand old base it was. and how strategically well placed it was and still could be.

Cam

She can almost hold a squadron of choppers and has facilities of a medium size hospital, she will be missed when gone! Why not keep her in say Bermuda or even the Cayman Islands and not beach her but permenantly put her ashore lol to act as an aviation platform and even get rid of the aft chimneys and get power from shore, she could be the UKs commmand and control base in 5he Caribbean is this a bad idea guys? She would only be getting scrapped anyway, And couldn’t we have done that with say an old aircraft carrier.… Read more »

Airborne

Harold, HAROLD, military/RFA assets are yet again deploying to assist others, around the globe, to ensure their safety and infrastructure is maintained. Do you want me to thank them on your behalf?

Mark B

LOL I’m not sure that was part of Harold’s plan? The RN would only have a couple of rowing boats. The Overseas territories would have been renamed the Overseas Democratic Republics littered with modest communist Dachas. They would obviously be protected by the 37th Western Fleet of the Soviet Union.

Airborne

😂😂😂

Daniele Mandelli

Is there life in the old girl for an extension in service?

I

Supportive Bloke

She is quite well made of the best quality of, albeit, now very old bits.

Haven’t been anywhere near her for 20+ years but it is impressive what was done with a STUFT effort. Obviously, however ingenious you are the fundamental shape and structure are not where you would start from with a blank piece of paper.

Daniele Mandelli

Agree.

But to save money, maybe an acceptable compromise for such a role.

Diligence was another STUFT I think.

Maybe the UK can do it again with a more modern replacement?

Daniele Mandelli

Agree.

But to save money, maybe an acceptable compromise for such a role.

Dilligence was another STUFT I think, she also gave long service.

Maybe the UK can revisit the concept with more modern replacements?

Ulya

Most of you probably already know, but there is an interesting article on Save the Royal Navy about multi role support ship

Daniele Mandelli

I don’t go to the comment section there often.

My my, so many familiar names!

Ulya

You are up late Daniele. I don’t read comments there, last time I look there was too much troll this troll that so I get bored, but articles are still interesting. I read in other sections you work with trains, may I ask what you do? Understand this is not my business so no offence if answer is P-off Ulya

Daniele Mandelli

Morning Ulya.

Sorry for late reply, bedtime.

Not at all, its no state secret it is only work. I am a Signalman. Signalman work in a Signalbox and co ordinate the movement of trains by controlling signals and points. Basically, the driver makes the train go faster or slower, I decide where it goes, and if it goes!

Dan

Daniele Mandelli

“Signalmen” sorry.

Ulya

Thank you Daniele, I like trains and was just being curious. If I lived in a city I would like to work with trains

Daniele Mandelli

If you live in the country you can work with trains.

I take it the Trans Siberian Railway and the other lines of Russia have signal boxes?

Ulya

I live over a hour away from Astrakhan city, not many trains my way and no desire to move closer to city, and trans Siberian is much north. The trans Siberian is on my bucket list, I have never been east of Urals, still trying to convince my partner that 2 weeks on train is awesome holiday 😁. Maybe ask you to join me instead, you would appreciate it and not have to worry about inheriting Russian bride lol

Daniele Mandelli

Ha! Would love to. 😉

I know exactly where you are, as studying Russian ( and Soviet ) geography was a hobby of mine. You are way south almost on the Caspian but excitedly quite close to Volgagrad.

I have always wished to visit Volgagrad ( which was Stalingrad for those unaware ) and climb the Mamayev Kurgan. Just to pay my respects to the heroes who defeated the Nazis really.

Daniele Mandelli

Excuse me, Volgograd.

Ulya

The motherland calls, my brother take me there when little, it is important for us to remember. I am not surprised you know of this and for little it is worth you have my gratitude you wish to show respect. I will stop bothering you now, I have to much free time at the moment and not use to it

Daniele Mandelli

Not bothering at all Ulya. Happy to chat with you.

You said you work regularly in Tehran. No wonder I guess it is quite a quick flight from there.

Ulya

Yes I did, it was easy travel, but my time there is finished so once virus is over my company will send me somewhere else for new adventure

Daniele Mandelli

Good. Enjoy.

Nicholas

I’d prefer 5 more of something like these than 5 type 31s.

Meirion X

RFA vessels are not warships, they are to support the Royal Navy fleet.
The RN is still in need to replace the aging Type 23 GPs with Type 31 over the next decade.

Nicholas

I stand by my comment. I am aware of the difference between RFA and RN. The 31 will not be a convincing warship, it will however be suitable for the various policing duties. Ships like Argus witht he right personnel on board can and do carry out these duties effectively and are more flexible on top of that.

Daniele Mandelli

I agree with Nicholas. I would want 5 of both. But if I had to choose I go with 5 modern Argus type vessels.