Assault ship HMS Albion is due to sail from Plymouth to head the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), operating in the Mediterranean. 

Captain Tim Neild, HMS Albion commanding officer, said:

“It is a huge privilege for us to fly the flag of the NATO task group commander in such a high profile deployment. 

This symbolises the importance that the UK and the Royal Navy places on our role in NATO and in assuring the collective defence and security of NATO allies and partners.”

According to a press release:

“This new tasking fulfils a vital contingency role for NATO in the Mediterranean. The task group will protect NATO interests by promoting security and stability in the region whilst offering options for NATO to deal with any emergent tasking.

Over the coming months, HMS Albion will undertake presence and security operations as well as conducting multi-national exercises aimed at increasing the way the navies of the task group work together.”

The commander of SNMG2, Commodore Mike Utley, said:

“Our role in NATO sits right at the heart of British Government policy to reinforce our commitment to international partners and their broader security.

What better way for the UK to contribute than to lead this task group from HMS Albion – I am immensely proud to command such a highly professional and internationally diverse force.”


  1. Let us hope the RN do a full value rating of this deployment to reinforce their argument, in retaining it in active service. Such data could prove to be invaluable in front of the joint defence committee if and when, the subject of decommissioning is next raised?

    • And according to a recent Parliamentary report the present Tory Government is going to get rid of them also , including the Marines as well. I suppose all those new British citizens currently in Calais could be employed on zero hour contracts by the MOD seeing as they all have amphibious and weapons training under their belt.

      You know what, as bad as it sounds Labour under Corbyn are looking like a much better choice than the traitor May and her odious Government. And I am somebody who has never voted labour ever.

      • I will vote labour if the tories water down Brexit to such an extent that it is meaningless,hopefully the 17 million who voted to leave will do the same thing thus destroying the tories as a political entity and then allowing Labour to destroy what is left of my country we then pick the pieces up and start again.

        • Have never voted Labour, never will if they keep to the current script.

          Most of those people at Calais are economic migrants, nothing more.

          If these are “refugees” why are they not claiming asylum at the first safe country as per UN rules.

          And why in photos we see exclusively males, of fighting age. Where are the Women and Children?

          I will never vote Labour with J Corbyn, McDonnel, Abbot, Momentum thugs harassing people, and a willingness for an unlimited open door immigration policy which is what many voted for Brexit to try to prevent, amongst other things.

          Blighty Cafe with Churchill Bust. “Racist”
          Really British Shop, in Muswell Hill. “Racist”
          Nelsons Column. “Racist”

          This is Cultural Marxism.

          The Tories, if they were proper Tories, would be stronger on defence I feel.

          • It’s not May it’s Hammond, remember he was once Defence Minister and knows all the MOD tricks. At the end of the day, he and only he, has real power and May is all too aware of his threats and maneuverings in front and behind her back.

          • Daniele – Once again you hit the proverbial nail on the head. And when you see the prime examples of Corbyn’s Momentum people at work in Bristol when Rees-Mogg was speaking, having been invited so to do, you see vividly what our future holds under Corbyn and McDonnell and Abbott. They can destroy Labour all they want I don’t care but I and many others will never let them destroy the UK.

            Last time round they only got 4 more seats than Brown did in 2010 and they think they won!

      • Farouk – What ‘Parliamentary report’ is that then? The only report this week is one from the the Defence Select Committee saying the Ministry of Defence shows “a worrying lack of financial expertise”

        Nothing about “the present Tory Government is going to get rid of [Albion & Bulwark] also , including the Marines as well”

        You then throw in the usual trigger phrases like ‘zero hours contracts’ without actually realising that some 70% of those on them like the arrangements as it suits their lifestyles (mothers, students, retired). The most recent ONS survey shows that barely 2.8% of the entire workforce are on them.

        If you think that Marxist, CND supporting idiot Corbyn would have any positive intentions towards UK Defence you are seriously deluded. And given his best mate Comrade McDonnell is going to borrow £ Bns to buy £ Bns of railway rolling stock, Nationalise BT, British Gas, Scottish Power and place every privatised sub contractor onto the Government payroll (and everything else) do you really think he gives a flying one about new ships or tanks or aircraft? Because they don’t vote. And he is all about bribing the dim and conning the vulnerable as he did in the 2017 GE. And then do an immediate ‘about turn’ of which a Guards WO1 would be proud!

        And why is may ‘odious exactly? Because she is trying damned hard to execute the will of the British Electorate to leave the EU despite the vested interests around her? Or because she is STILL trying to make the country live within its means, reduce the deficit and still find the extra funds Defence, the NHS and all the rest say they need?

    • Not if you attribute quotes I think. However you make a good point. The article is not news, neither is it an opinion piece. The bloggers supply the opinions…..

  2. Lead story for the BBC and Sky this morning, warning against cutting Albion, Bulwark, and the RMs. let’s hope the message gets through!

  3. I always wondered why a ship with such a large landing pad for helicopters, didn’t incorporate a hanger. I can’t imagine it was a cost decision, surely a hanger wouldn’t have cost that much extra. Does anyone know the logic behind the decision?

      • any question is why they haven’t invested in a temporary one like they have built for the bay class. It seems such a tactical mistake not to have one on a vessel that clearly is designed to deliver troops and I assume supplies and close air supprt via helicopter.

  4. If Theresa May’s Government decommissions both LPD’s and the cutting the numbers of the Royal Marines. Then they should get rid of ‘Penny pinching Hammond’ and possibly a leadership challenge?

  5. Except Labour is not in power! Why do all these comments gravitate to Tories v Labour.

    However the last time Labour was in power they done better on defence than this tripe! I don’t defend Corbyn but he has called for the forces to be properly funded. His stance on the nuclear deterrent is also well known, but I understand he is willing to allow the trident renewal on party approval (Not his).

    One of the reasons we are in this mess is the huge cost of deployments to Iraq & Afghanistan. It could be argued that the foreign aid budget could have helped supplement the funding on these campaigns. At least in Afghanistan which is less contentious.

    But even someone with half a brain can see the cuts being made are not to pay back the national debt. The Tories have borrowed more than the Labour government. What has been achieved? Even they concede that privatisation of the gas industry has resulted in higher bills for every household. The railways… don’t get me started.

    But I am sick of all the bigots on here saying they will never ever vote for something else. Perhaps you are the problem.

    • Gary – I won’t even get started on your theory that Blair / Brown in any way managed defence better than it is being managed now. After all who left behind a £35 Bn black hole in the Defence budget alone?

      So lets look at your other quote:
      “The Tories have borrowed more than the Labour government”
      I take it you have factual proof and sources for this statement? I doubt you have as it is a fundamental ‘sleight of fact’ perpetrated by the Left. What this does is fabricate the myth it was all zero in 2010 and what happened since is entirely of the Tories making (forgetting we have only had 2 1/2 years of Tory rule). The mountain of a deficit (some £150 BN a year) the Coalition (not Tory) Government inherited in 2010 is by definition ‘debt’ from the moment it is created month by month. And despite reducing that annual deficit by some 65% in 7 years we are still racking up ‘debt’ at a rate of £50 Bn a year.

      And despite that inheritance the Tories have NOT created more ‘debt’ than Labour

      Now if you want to know what ‘austerity’ really would look like try to reverse a £150 Bn deficit in 12 months. YOU do the maths …..

      And as you mention railways OK yeah I will get you started. Your point is exactly?
      * The infrastructure is owned by the Government and has been, despite another Labour ‘sleight of fact’, since they killed Railtrack.
      * The Franchise operators produce about £0.6 Bn surplus for the Government even after poorer lines are subsidised to provide key social benefits
      * The freight trains are entirely private and receive no subsidies at all
      * The rolling stock is owned by private investment companies bought with private people’s money. They take the risk and take the profit from leasing it. in just the recent 7 years 6,000-plus new carriages costing £10 billion have been or will be delivered from April 2014 to March 2021
      * For all its faults the private rail industry has doubled passenger usage in 20 years after BR killed it in 50

      I have never EVER voted for Labour despite my working class background, my mother being a cook and Father a book keeper. One Grandad was a train driver and Grandma took in laundry and the other was a Nottingham Miner and Grandma was in ‘Service’ to landed gentry. What killed Labour for me was being beaten up by Union thugs at gate meetings when I didn’t want to strike. So I guess in your book I am a ‘bigot’. Well so be it Pal. I don’t actually give a flying one. And I can see the thugs have returned to Labour under Corbyn.

  6. A realisitic debate on the future of the LPDs needs to consider diplomatic objectives, strategy, risks and probabilties? How likely is it that we will want to do another San Carlos on our own? How vulnerable was Sir Galahad? How likely is it we will want to storm a defended beach and /or land MBT? Apart from isolated special services RHIB based missions wouldn’t the other realistic scenario be for the RM to secure a port or a beach head using helos, light vehicles, Apache and F-35 air support and then land heavy equipment from the LSDs? I know this is tantamount to heresy but have to ask wouldn’t the money be better spent on more frigates, P-8s and submarines for the northern flank and more MBT in Germany or Poland?. Just asking….

  7. Paul P., Closing all of the German bases was always illogical, to retain troops you need to offer decent training. To train with MBT’s you need huge ranges like they have in Germany.

    I Think the two LPD’s are very flexible in what they can do and as a unit cost, they quite reasonable. We are only on about retaining two. They are key to helping the Marines protect the Northern flank (45 Commando – Norway etc).

    HMS Albion = ‎£225M
    P-8 = £250M
    Astute Submarine = £1,370M

    • Agree but cuts are coming. Big ticket Guchi items like Trident replacement, Astute, Typhoon, F-35 plus loss of control of projects like Type 26 and FRES have swallowed the budget and mean something has to give. Things are desperate when options for cuts include another 12,000 troops. We are in a cleft stick. The obvious move is to halve the F-35 order but that would hurt the ‘special relationship’ and BAEs credibility as premium project partner. So what’s left; either mothball the LPDs or lose Type 31. You might be able to finesse the situation by making do with 5 River 2s and building Type 31 after Type 26 but would you ever get back to 13 frigate escorts?
      The paras don’t parachute anymore since WW2. Ditto for the RM and landing craft really. Remember Sir Gallahad? QE class, Merlin and Chinook are the future. Marinised Apache replaces landing craft and Chally.

      • All valid points Paul but I feel Landing Craft have their place alongside air assets. I think we agree that QEC can replace Ocean, not ideal as I would prefer a dedicated LPH but there you go.

        If you need to move heavy equipment, supplies you need Landing Craft. And our stance of a single LPD with 4 x LCU and 4 x LCVP with the other LPD in reserve is already minimal. We have other Landing Craft and LCAC in 539 Assault Sqn too.

        Again with your point re the Paras. 16 AA Bde can deploy by Parachute at Battlegroup size with the Air Assault Task Group. Minimal already as most of the Brigade would be air landed,
        and proportionate with, as you point out, less likelihood of a mass airborne landing.

        That we keep the capability is key.

    • But remember Gary most training by the British Army concerning Armoured Manoeuvre of Battlegroup sized formations takes place at BATUS, not Germany.

      I’m happy to see the British Army garrisons being based in the UK, thus spending their money in the UK, thus benefiting the local economies of places like Tidworth, Bulford etc.

      However, I do agree with retaining some infrastructure in Germany, or prepositioning certain equipment.

  8. We need to keep these 2 vessels end of story. There simply is no debate to be had on the matter. It will be tactically, strategically and grossly incompetent to remove a vital capability for the issue of saving about £15 million a year running costs for each of the LPDs.
    The Tory and Labour parties are lacking in leadership, moral fibre, determination and quite frankly British guts. We have zero statement now in either party and I have in my ever extending lifetime never known such a desperate lack of parliamentary leadership.
    It seems the penny pinching bean counters in the treasury are controlling all aspects of government via the vitally important hard power capability of the excel spreadsheet.


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