UK maritime forces have ‘reaffirmed the UK’s Defence ties with Vietnam’ during a visit.

Around 60 Royal Navy and Royal Marines are currently taking part in a five-month French naval deployment to the Indian Ocean and Far East, aboard French assault ship FS Mistral.

The arrival of UK maritime personnel in Ho Chi Minh City further strengthens the UK’s Defence relationship with Vietnam say the government.

Two Royal Navy Merlin Mk3 helicopters are also embarked with France’s annual Jeanne d’Arc naval deployment, which will include port calls in Singapore, Sri Lanka, Japan, Guam and Australia.

Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mike Penning said:

“Alongside French forces, our world class Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel are flying the flag for Britain in Vietnam, one of our important partners in the region.

This deployment continues to show the flexibility of our Armed Forces to work with our partners, particularly with France, and contribute to international maritime security.

The UK continues to work globally alongside Vietnam, both of our countries contributing personnel to the UN peacekeeping mission South Sudan.”

During the Jeanne d’Arc deployment, UK maritime personnel will also take part in multilateral amphibious exercises.


  1. HMS Ocean is being sold off early to the Brazilians for just £80 million, without replacement and yet this deployment onboard a French mistral class lphd demonstrates the clear need for this type of ship in a balanced capable navy.
    Instead of allocating a £3 billion QE strike carrier to this role we simply have to find the required £500-600 million to build a purpose built replacement for Ocean. Ideally 2 lphd vessels that can be teamed up with Albion or Bulwark and the Bay class to make a capable ARG. 2 Hulls should guarantee 1 is always available.

  2. I agree that there is a clear need to replace “some” of Oceans capabilities ie, a large hull that can carry some helos and troops. £500-600 million is still a lot of money when Types 26 & 31 still need funding (hopefully more than 13 hulls). As a cheaper alternative why not convert 2 of the Point class RoRos replace Ocean/Argus. Seal up the back door, extend the superstructure aft, add hanger under bridge and maybe some modular berthing below decks. Nothing fancy but we gain 2 auxiluarys capable of embarking maybe 6 Merlin and a few hundred troops. This could probably be done for about a third the money say £200 million (£100m p/s). We would loose some heavy lift capability but we are never going to use it anyway. I cant see us deploying our shambles of an armoured division ever again and if we do have to at some point the difference of 2 Point class wount be the critical factor in play. These ships would also enhance the amphibious forces but crucialy they would not represent any “compitition” to the LPDs and would not therefore represent a threat to thier future replacement. I have a feeling if we get a new £600 million LPH then we wont get replacments for Albion and Bulwark.

    • RoRo conversion. A nice idea. Is your idea to plate over the forward deck between the front of the existing superstructure and the bow to create the flight deck with the hangar that you mention “under the bridge” having its doors facing forward for access to the flight deck? If yes then Wikipedia has the Points listed as 193m long and from the photos it looks as if about 40% – 50% of the ships length comprises the area that I think you have pegged for the flight deck. Assuming a conservative 40% used that gives a 77.2 metre (call it 80m) flight deck or maybe even up to 95m if closer to 50% of the overall length could be utilised. Does anyone know what those numbers translate to in terms of Merlin & Chinook sized landing spots? No problem with 2 Merlin spots I would think, even with the conservative 80m length estimate but with a Chinook at a bit over 30m length probably only a single Chinook spot. If the bigger 95m deck was possible then we’re probably talking 2 chinook spots or 3 Merlin spots?

      The other nice idea about this is that in an emergency it would be far easier to requisition a commercial RoRo ferry or two to make up for the Points lost due to the conversion than it would be to pick up a couple of LPHs from the commercial market (the latter being impossible of course).

      I take back my opening comment, it’s not a “nice” idea, it’s a brilliant idea.

    • Come to think of it another idea might be to accelerate and expand the MARS SSS program. The current plan is for 3 ships and the old concept drawings show what appears to be a 2xMerlin or 1xChinook flight deck plus 3xMerlin hangar. Some clever design to allow the hangar to overflow into a stores area if required should allow a 6 Merlin capacity if required and modular bunking in the stores area allow for troop capacity.

      The wiring glitch not withstanding the MARS tankers (Tides) seem to have been tremendous value. If similar cost-efficiency and speed (again, discounting the Tide-class wiring delays) could be applied to the MARS SSS build then adding a couple of extra hulls to that program, possibly with the extras fitted for but not with the heavy RAS stations since I suspect those are expensive, that might be another way to come at the problem of getting some relatively cheap and cheerful sort-of-LPHs.

      And I bet a few people can guess what the closing statement is going to be. Given their utility for disaster relief the aid budget should pay for the two extra MARS SSS!


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