The UK is set to acquire two Littoral Strike Ships with the ability to launch troops and their equipment via helicopters and boats.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed that the UK will purchase the vessels:

“Take the Royal Navy. They are exerting British influence through greater forward presence. I want to capitalise on that. Investing now to develop a new Littoral Strike Ship concept. And, if successful, we will look to dramatically accelerate their delivery. These globally deployable, multi-role vessels would be able to conduct a wide range of operations, from crisis support to war-fighting.

They would support our Future Commando Force. Our world-renowned Royal Marines – they’ll be forward deployed, at exceptionally high readiness, and able to respond at a moment’s notice bringing the fight from sea to land.

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.”

Vessels like this are often called Expeditionary Transfer Dock’s (at least, by the US) and are typically a large auxiliary support ship to facilitate the ‘seabasing’ of an amphibious landing force by acting as a floating base or transfer station that can be prepositioned off the target area.

Troops, equipment, and cargo would be transferred to the vessel by large-draft ships, from where it can be moved ashore by shallower-draft vessels, landing craft like the landing craft or even helicopters.

Is this practical?

The United States already does this with the USNS Lewis B. Puller (pictured above), a floating staging base for U.S. operations in the Central Command Region, an asset that is uniquely suited to facilitate special operations missions.

The vessel has a sister ship, the USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams, there are another three of this ship type planned by the US.

The vessel is a modified Alaska class oil tanker design.

The US Navy say that Puller has the third-largest flight deck in the naval services after aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships and can also launch small boats or unmanned surface vehicles from its mission deck.

In addition, vessels of this type can be configured with containers to support almost any mission.

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This sounds like a good idea and increases the capability of the Royal Navy. It would be interesting to know whether these will be purpose built and if so where, or whether they will be converted. If purpose built, lets hope they will be classed as warships and built in the UK.

Feel free to sign and share this petition, we’re getting there slowly.


Interesting. A conversion along the lines of RFA Argus ?
But with improved facilities to support SF and RM & support helicopters.
Petition signed.

Well done Andy…you got it in again!

remove that superstructure fit a full deck HL.P. i hope it will get sufficient means to defend itself unlike the albions.

hang on, we’re getting two of these yet we couldn’t replace ocean??

Who cares, at least these are additional rather than alternatives. We will need this kind of reach, and as I’ve always said, Global Britain means having the equipment to back up international trade with meaningful military assets.

looking at the picture i can easily imagine that layout could easily be turned into a floating fortress, plenty of room for torpedo searam 76mm gun e.t.c i like the way the russians use every space they can find to put a weapon, we leave capital assets criminally under armed, the albions for instance are very big ships, but have little or no defense to them i’d be interested knowing main specs size,speed,crew size e.t.c.

Andrew Smith

No it makes no sense what with the gaping hole in the defence budget as it is. I think it’s all grand standing for a general election in the very near future. More ships rule Britannia…. should score points with some voters

more ships that are WARSHIPS

i’d sooner see another destroyer these are a waste of time

is it april 1st? NO, its a P.R stunt


They’ve said they are scouting for two cargo or passenger liners that are suitable for conversion.


Wouldn’t be surprised if these are built by the Us seeing as they have to knowledge and recent history. So makes logical sense.

Mixed RFA/RN/RM crewed.


That’s a surprise. It’s not often that we get the announcement of 2 pretty sizeable new vessels out of the blue. So possibly converted oil tankers with reasonably significant aviation facilities and due to size I assume a good amount of internal space? Doesn’t sound that dissimilar to Argus so perhaps the first one of these coming into service, maybe in combination with the previously talked about possibility of a hospital ship funded by the foreign aid budget, would clear the way for Argus to be decommissioned. If all that happens then one heck of a lot better plan that… Read more »

I would say if this comes to be Argus would certainly have to go, I still think a hospital ship is a terrible idea but don’t wish to go over old ground.

For me what is most useful about the idea is it would go some way to replacing RFA Diligence as there would certainly be space for workshops.

It could be a more flexible and useful solution than Argus.

Andrew Smith

It’s all smoke and mirrors ahead of a GE. Wont happen


Daniele Mandelli

Wow didn’t see this coming. I believe the US pre positions assets at Deigo Garcia, maybe that could be the location of the East of Suez vessel? The DS makes the Amphibs force sound great talking of all 3 Bay and the 2 LPDs joining together. If only that were reality. The spare LPD is a shell I believe when not in use. The 3 Bays coukd be used together if only we had other vessels to be MCMV support ships in the Gulf and another to replace the Bay in the Caribbean. There’s been a lot if talk of… Read more »

Levi Goldsteinberg

Diego Garcia quite possibly, but it was Gavin Williamson himself that announced about a month ago that a base would be built closer to the South China Sea; likely in Brunei or Singapore. Quite possibly that base is planned around supporting an amphibious strike group that these new ships would slot right into

Daniele Mandelli

Yes Levi.

And re reading my post, maybe the Bays WILL be released from their roles, by these assets.

will need escorts i think

singapore/ back to sembawang, best run ashore ever bugis street? wow, what memories, there and the ‘gut’ in malta, oh for the good old days of empire.

i’d fear for one of the albions. despite recent comments saying they are safe.

Kevin Rhodes

What’s the betting an older single hull oiler RFA gets a quick conversion x 2. Job done. Save on budget and provides required platform. Mind you still needs a lot more bodies to man. Will keep reserves busy.

david alcock

we had one and just sold it for peanuts to Brazil ex HMS OCEAN!!

We sold Ocean to Brazil for a fair market price as a hot swap as it had been in service for twenty years and the QE class is coming on line. Brazil had a need for a vessel of that type and it helps them out of a bind as the Nao Sao Paulo was no longer economically practical to run on. It allows them to at least keep a toe in the Carrier game until they have made a decision about their planned future indigenous Carrier program. It is a good exercise in UK soft power that ensures Brazil… Read more »

the old ocean will carry a few f35’s when brazil can afford them

David let it go. We needed the crew for the Q.E’s.


if we can suddenly afford these, why was ocean not replaced like for like? or her proposed sister ship built? i smell a con here. (but i’m just a cynic).. i don’t think the t 31e will happen either!!

captain P Wash.

This Is so very Vague, Are these ships New Builds, Conversions or Pipedreams ?
I don’t seem to remember them being part of the 168 billion. It all sounds a bit at odds with the black Hole in defence funding.
Anyone have any actual facts ?

Maybe foreign aid budget. That hasgot £15 billion a year which we seem to squander. Would only take £500 million from that budget to build these 2 forward base vessels. With the loss of Ocean this is a great idea steel is cheap, thus get the largest damnvessel you can afford and cram it with helicopters. A modern day Atlantic conveyor.

Daniele Mandelli

Need the helis first!

CHF has 7 at the moment I believe!

Maybe this was in mind with that announcement of the new Chinooks.


CHF currently has 6 Wildcat AH1 and is currently converting its 25 Merlin to the HC4 standard. About 3/4 of CHF’s Merlin aren’t currently being upgraded or in depth maintenance.

Daniele Mandelli

Exactly. I meant those same Merlins.

hang on, we’re getting two of these yet we couldn’t replace ocean??

foreign aid last year was 13.2 billion, that’s a good bunch of t31’s (which i’m beginning to think won’t happen).

as long as they’re exocet proof. we should have learned not to put all the eggs in one basket.

when i google and see how much money and where it goes to i get angrier and angrier! the numbers are a disgrace, millions to nations who harbour and allow terrorists to operate on their soil,(pakistan) the same amount to a nation with the regions biggest economy,(india) another shedload of money to a nation run by inept despots who waste it while those who DO need help go without(nigeria).

pointless what beaches are we expecting to storm/ the M.O.D hasn’t a clue the type 31 looks less likely to happen whenever a P.R stunt like this is made.

the best known facts are, that the M.O.D CANNOT BE TRUSTED

David Flandry

They are conversions based on info from Defense News. Wonder where they will get the crew?

Harry Nelson

Where is the money coming from and also the crew??


I second the where is the crew coming from? we cant even man our current ships let alone 2 new ones. the forces need to drag themselves up to compete in the work market, civvy street is far more appetising straight out of school these days

DFID has £15 billion that is squandered every year. Order 4 of these vessels and fund the crew and helicopters and boats and all operational costs from DFID and label them disaster relief vessels. Creative accountancy, the Tory party know all about that.

foreign aid and press gangs!

Where is the money coming from ? No idea. The crew ? RFA ?

when i google and see how much money and where it goes to i get angrier and angrier! the numbers are a disgrace, millions to nations who harbour and allow terrorists to operate on their soil,(pakistan) the same amount to a nation with the regions biggest economy,(india) another shedload of money to a nation run by inept despots who waste it while those who DO need help go without(nigeria). the millions going to syria and afghanistan are an apology for bombing the cr*p out of them methinks

the crew will be lower than 100


Maybe it could be named HMS Ocean.

captain P Wash.

Or HMS Pacific and HMS Atlantic ?

Levi Goldsteinberg

Glorious and Furious

Ark Royal and Eagle.

Oh, ignore my double posts!

Geoffrey Hicking

Agoniser and Excruciator.


Cockchafer and Gay Centurion

or h.m.s won’t happen


HMS Rainbow and HMS Diversity

HMS Mohammed and HMS Buddha


Overlord Class:
HMS Sword, HMS Gold, with the option of a third, HMS Juno.


Penny Pinch and Stealth Cuts.


Ark Royal and Eagle.

Gladys and Brenda!

or poodle and beagle

intrepid and fearless


HMS Cuck and HMS Simp, funded by the aid budget.


Hope they are purpose built as the US ships look ugly.
Also confused how they are different from a normal amphibious ship like we have already? Are they smaller, less navalised or tankers converted on the cheap with a Heli deck and a hanger?

Daniele Mandelli

Our LPD with well dock carry LCU LCVP and numbers of RM, as well as considerable C3 facilities.

I envisage these to be much more basic. Floating SF bases basically.

The US has these types of vessels already.


Know what you mean Andy but if you get rid of acronyms the comments are going to get a lot, lot longer !


Daniele Mandelli

LOL. Can I help you? 🙂

Cam Hunter

I hope they get ordered new with the solid suport ships so thy last longer and are modern and all get built at the same yard in the uk to save money, or even convert two old RFA vessels like the old forts but I think RFA fort George has already been scrapped hasn’t it.

speaking of lasting longer how long did pakistan get out of the 6 type 21’s they had, maybe the first retiring t23 in exchange for their return, refit, upgrading with all new systems could fill the gap waiting for the clyde to actually deliver something! 6 short term frigates bought for very little outlay, might be worth considering? very, very popular and capable ships in their time re equipped with ceptor e.t.c nice especially as they’re already built.

The picture released by 1SL appears to be closely based upon the US MV Ocean which is a conversion from a fast RoRo. It is on the whole a smaller and arguably more handsome solution than the tanker based Expeditionary Transfer Dock.

If this is going to come to be then expect a conversion, there are more than one UK yard that would appreciate the conversion work.

neither, they’re a P.R stunt

so are these going to be replacing the gap left by HMS Ocean,quite a shock that we are getting 2 I just hope this does not affect the number of frigates,we all know they like to penny pinch so where has the money come from or what is being planned to scrap something else to pay for them??

Daniele Mandelli

They wont replace Ocean, no.

SF use or company sized RM deployments I’d imagine, using small boats and helicopters.

As for your other worries. I agree.

Maybe the DSF budget, which is considerable, and which is separate from other areas, pays for them?


Where is it stated that SF budget is seperate? Should GCHQ et al now come under Defence, I.m confused with SF not being so.

Great idea, where do the boys and girls come from?

Names? Wishful and Thinking.

Daniele Mandelli

GCHQ SIS SS consider Single Intelligence Account. Not part of Defence Budget.

DI does come under Defence Budget as it is indeed a part of the MOD.

DSF reports to the VCDS st the MOD. It’s been stated many times it has it’s own budget separate from the TLBs of the 3 frontline commands and DES.

Daniele Mandelli


DSF has it’s own “voice” and funding stream within MoD. Still a part of MoD budget, though separate from that of the other TLBs, Top Level Budgets, Land. Air. Fleet. DI. DES. DIO, etc.

Not separate like thecibtelligence services, which are part of the Home Office and FCO.


bashful and snoozy?

i still think the removal of a bay superstructure and fitting a full length deck to make a h.l.p would be a better idea, especially as they’re already built.

CAN WE HAVE LESS ACRONYMS ON HERE? get lost by half the posts on here lately

Daniele Mandelli

Apologies Mr Reeves.

I guess FFBNW is gone then?

Missing the Gosport Ferry are we? Or your Archer Squadron?

BAFFLED, THANK YOU, the archers(fanny boats)are a total waste, a squadron of those, say 8 or 9 to replace the poor old sabre. in the gib squadron. and see if they are worth the prefix of h.m.s

if these actually do happen, i think the issue of losing albion or bulwark could still happen. like the t 31e i’m having my doubts if they’ll ever happen.

captain P Wash.

Can’t find anything on any Official site about this. Also, given that they are “Strike” Ships I guess they will be classed as Warships so will be built in the UK ?
It is worrying what might be axed though.

Daniele Mandelli

They are “Strike ” ships because UKSF and USSOF will delpoy off them using heli.

Floating special ops bases.

We are not talking ocean replacements, amphibious landings, LCU LCVP, armed to the teeth with sea viper !

I’d imagine boats would include RIB, RRC, ORC, and the HSIC used by the SBS and seen racing round Poole harbour on a regular basis.

captain P Wash

But They are Littoral Ships, I’m guessing they will have some sort of Defensive Systems especially carrying such important “cargo” just off shore. This whole “What Is a Warship” business, just adds to the confusion of our Government Members.
Call them Warships, Build them Here In the UK, preferably in England before we actually lose all Capability.

Then we can have a “National Shipbuilding Program”.

Daniele Mandelli

I’d hope so Captain, at the very least some guns and the usual Defensive aids.

And yes, build them here. I’d say convert them here more likely. Argus and Dilligence were conversions I recall?



@capt p wash. I think this is coming from a speech the Def Sec is giving at RUSI, he also has mentioned squadrons of drones being used to overwhelm air defences and the deployment of QE in2021 (as per another article on this site)

warships? my ars*

Wait, new ships? Gav’ you’re meant to be cutting the RN down to only one ship because that’s clearly all we need according to HMG. Joking aside, this is an interesting development. The ‘Special Forces’ spin is always a good way of securing some extra funding, but I do wonder if these ships would come at a cost. Would one of these ships basically be a ‘replacement’ for Argus? That would be better than simply cutting her with no replacement and would increase the need for a dedicated hospital ship. But also, would these vessels be RN or RFA? New… Read more »


Lusy the proposed hospital ship can’t be a replacement for Agus, the rules around hospitals ships would prevent that (they include a legal obligation to allow search by opposing powers etc), the legalities mean a hospital ship does not fit allied joint doctrine for medical support (with UK national elements), although there is nothing to prevent a change in doctrine a Hospital ship (as legally defined) does not fit with UK requirements for an afloat role2E MTF or role3 MTF. Having your MTF on a warship allows you to manage wider security and stabilisation elements of a deployment, which although… Read more »

Well aware of the rules.

Still think a pair of hospital ships would do wonders for soft power and would free up Bays and converted ships like Argus from having to be on hurricane or humanitarian relief watch for large portions of the year.


Totally agree but only if they could somehow be manned outside the present pool of staff as stripping the pool of health professionals that are available to staff the role3 MTFs is an issue. Exemption from mobilisation could hit deployment of long term role3 MFTs if we overused a hospital ship. NHS employers don’t like doing it, but the state we are in at present means to we risk impacting on role4 if we we tried to staff a hospital ship as well as our army and navy role3 commitments (especially if they became long term commitments). Running an already… Read more »



It’s a discussion and discussion never ends, and stop shouting I’ve got a headache


Where are the crew and helos coming from then? Is the nest announcement a new Merlin order? Doubt it.

Daniele Mandelli

Dont know anout Merlins Rob.

But I read over on Gabs Twitter feed the DS also says that the RAF “Will be able to deploy swarms of drones ” by the end of the year.

Watch this space!

Cam Hunter

The commando helicopter force has a couple dozen helicopters that are getting upgraded and will all be done by 2021. But we have apache, chinooks, pumas and wildcats and the commando Merlins and carrier Merlins a couple hundred airframes atleast. And the likes of ocean could only take 18 max.

A ‘couple of hundred’ down from 500+ mearly 10 years ago.

IF THEY ARE AS I FEEL ALONG THE SAME LINES AS THE HARPERS FERRY CLASS OF THE U.SN,then the crewing issue shouldn’t be too high they carry crews of under 100

Cam Hunter

Once Hms ocean left we lost the mass commando helicopter lift. Apart from using our carriers obviously. But I didn’t see this coming, they will no doubt be RFA a replace argus and ocean. But why sell ocean then? Was it because she was worn out and only fit for a second tier navy? I’m surprised they opted for two ships though. A nice capability that we needed for the commando helicopter force. I can’t wait to hear more about the details, size, compliment ect ect.


Surely two Mistral class ships built under license would be ideal?

Daniele Mandelli

Massive overkill Alex.

too expensive, a total non starter a contract like that wouldn’t be given to a foreign builder

Steven B

Quite clearly stated that they are to to be tanker conversions

captain P Wash.

Steven B , Does It, I’ve missed that ?

Steven B
captain P Wash.

Steven, Where Is That ? I can’t find It in the Headline Post ?

Cam Hunter

It doesn’t say that atall! Yes the American ones are ex tankers. And it will if it does what what they say kind of fill the role of Hms ocean.

Looking at the artist’s impression from the RN above they look like a modified Tide design. Good 30000 Tons and a large internal volume should yield a ship able to support a couple of hundred troops and 6-10 helicopters each. That’s not a bad idea, good use of resources delivering a worthwhile capability (auxillary carrier) for not much money.


The Sun have an article on this also.

Great news, assume they will not be as large as the US vessels but great news all he same. Hopefully new build as if these are littoral you’d expect survivability not offered from a commercial conversion. Assuming they follow the principles set out in the Nation Ship Building Strategy and we’ll see a competitive UK based tender to meet a fixed price with a minimum spec like the T31.

Agree that there should be a competitive tender between UK yards as per the type 31. Wonder if they could be built at Appledore, maybe it’s too small a yard.


Too big for Appledore unless its a block build and Appledore pick up some of the blocks. Cammell Liard or H & W would be my preferred yards. I’d also be OK with foreign design, I don’t think its a design area the UK needs to have expertise, better to focus design funds in other areas. Keep the cost down focused on delivering the build.


I’m not so sure, from the sounds of it these aren’t meant to be actual fighting platforms, more like support ships. Survivability isn’t likely to be a high priority.

My biggest concern though, is funding. I was under the assumption that T31 was being built as a class of 5+, with any additional funding found being used to build extra hulls. The LSS certainly seems like a nice to have, but imo returning mass to the fleet and protecting existing capability is more important than shiny new toys

captain P Wash.

“Literal Strike Ships” sound like they would probably have some Defensive Systems.

David Flandry

If they are to carry Special Forces they will have to have defensive armament and countermeasures, plus some casualty treatment facilities.


Where the F*** did that come from! Got to admit I am pretty shocked. Very interested to see how this develops. Let the speculation begin!

It must be said though, that concept that has just been edited in looks a hell of a lot like a modified Point Class vessel.



I agree, ignore the floating base stuff, the first picture makes it look like a Point class conversion.
The US has something very similar already for its Special Forces:

…And we have two spare point class, lucky!
Probably RFA manned, extra amphib capability with existing spare assets


You might be on to something there. If they took back the 2 Points they let go so it didn’t affect existing numbers it would be reasonable, commonality of a lot of onboard systems, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this ends up not being 2 new vessels but actually being converting 2 of the currently in-service Points to this new role.

Daniele Mandelli

That’s a good spot Julian.

There were 6 points reduced to 4.



You beat me to it. Agree. Definitely looks like recycled Point Class. But very welcome nonetheless. Williamson gets 10/10 for positive spin.


The image does look a bit like various concepts for cheap helicopter carriers. Not complaining though. I think it is a great idea.

Thought this was an April fool. I’m disproportionately excited by this!


I was working on the Puller not long ago. God it is ugly!
However it does a job.
A huge flight deck and Aviation support facilities and under the deck is room for LC and Hovercraft/LCAC or other goodies that SF like to play with in and below the water.
Looking at the RN supplied picture that is a modified Point Class Ro/Ro. So instead of leasing them it looks like an outright buy and convert job. Cover the vehicle deck to make a flightdeck and still retain all the storage inside.


Could it be a modified Absalom and built by Babcock? Or converted waves, if they are surplus? Or Dutch Derutyer

Sorry, what??!! An increase in ship numbers, a new class of ship???!! Wow! What will TH say to that? The idea the Uk purchase anything other than unarmed coastal patrol cutters will infuriate him ???. My only question is where do helicopter airframes come from to load these out? Am I too wishful to think we might get some extra soon?

Daniele Mandelli

7 Squadrons Chinooks.

Or even the 14 new builds recently announced?


The Point class look good but are now aging, some well worn, and in need of replacement for strategic / heavy lift.

If they are going to be built build them in Appledore.

Cam Hunter

appledore did build Hms Scott but could it fit anything bigger in the dock hall? I’m not sure.

I’ve had to go and lie down….the MOD just doesn’t work this way. Okay so who are you…and what have you done with the real Secretary of State?

Nah…they had to turn Scott at an angle to get it in!

Cam Hunter

I thought it was a tight fit, appledore was fine for patrol ect boats though.


This is great news. However we still require an increase in escort numbers. Couple of 26’s would be nice.


We should build the Type 45 replacement on the Type 26 hull and speed up the glacial build rate.

We should aim to increase the size of the Royal Navy to 8 anti air Type 26 (type 45 replacement), 8 anti submarine Type 26, 8 Type 31s, another Astute for a total of 8 attack submarines and a couple more River class O.P.V.s.


And B.A.E.S. should be encouraged to build the new frigate factory on the Clyde with the steady stream of work (16 Type 26, 8 x anti air and 8 x anti sub).


From other articles it sounded more like a conversion of a tanker than a new build.
Either way an innovative addition to our amphibious forces.
The RN just has to come up with escorts for them….

Daniele Mandelli

If they are forward deployed on SF missions would they be escorted? Not necessarily.

In wartime yes.

To me this is welcome news. Too often MOD cut the enablers as well as the fighty end. These enable SF to operate off terrorist shores, example Somalia, enabling our Bays, QEC and others to do other jobs.

Looks like they will be Point conversions and managed a manned by AW Shipping, so not really new ships, and won’t require RN or RFA crewing


They do look a lot like Korean Tankers. I suspect that is where they are coming from.
New Zealand has a Korean tanker with an ice hardened hull. I would want that on these, if the RN is to aid the Baltic NATO states in Winter.
I would prefer them built in a UK yard, but not holding my breath.

captain P Wash.

Let’s not all get carried away here.

All I’ve found Is a Comment saying that the MOD are Looking Into possible options and that Funding has already been Allocated. Nothing else at all concrete.
Nowhere does it state New Builds or Conversions specifically, nor are there any Facts or Figures.

Time Will Tell.

Daniele Mandelli

The thing these days is small, well trained professional forces, being able to power project as required, with the logistics, bases, and intelligence capabilities to back them up. Rather than sheer numbers, which indeed remains important, and which have as we know reduced far to much.

UKSF at the tip of that, and always in demand from the US and used by HMG.

In my opinion this is a done deal and will happen. And they can be used for humanitarian too, another tick in the box.

Cam Hunter

But it’s a nice wait for a change.


Lofoten and Engadine?

Gibraltar and San Carlos………

john melling

Hello Everyone

Good News , Long over due as well

The US version USNS Lewis B. Puller has a displacment Approx. 78,000 long tons (87,000 short tons) fully loaded

Obviously we are not getting anything that big, same size as QE and POW!! haha

HMS OCEAN was 21,500 t

So are we looking at something similar in size to HMS OCEAN or a little bigger?
Anything smaller for helicopters, drones and UKSF plus crew and storage might be pointless
Defensive armaments…

Its going to be interesting to see what designs etc come out


I was actually being sarcastic when I suggested ‘Ocean’ as a name.
Anyway, I have just read in today’s paper that there is a 3 billion pound pensions shortfall at the MOD, which the Treasury will not cover. So it would seem that the 1 billion pounds granted to the MOD earlier will go on this. That still leaves 2 billion pounds to be found from elsewhere. So the question is, where’s the money coming from?


It’s an interesting idea but presents a few questions. Where does the money come from? A few have suggested foreign aid but at a political level there’s been no serious suggestion that would happen. Plus raiding foreign aid isn’t a zero sum game, yes undoubtedly some is wasted but some of it helps prevent conflict in areas that might otherwise destabilise, so you can’t just redirect it all or any one part of it necessarily with no consequence. In the long term redirecting the wrong funds could cost more than it saves. But, if not foreign aid then where? Where… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

As floating bases forward deployed and I guess not in use for much of the time, and resident at Diego Garcia, Gib, or wherever, what permanent crew would they need?

A big tanker has a crew of 30 odd does it not?

SD Victoria operates world wide with HSIC and SDV on it, that I don’t think has many crew.

We are actually buying something? Surely not! I thought it was a joke but then i saw it wasn’t April the first. This buy was quite unexpected but hopefully good news as long as there are no hidden surprises e.g scrapping the rest of the surface fleet. (nothing would surprise me)


Conversions of the 2 Point Class Ro-Ro ferries we let go? Anyway, looks like a thought through replacement for Ocean which avoids sending QE class inshore. Forward based assault troops and Chinooks to be the norm?

Daniele Mandelli

Looks useful Paul.

I’m optimistic at these. Seems like someone somewhere had a plan.

Didn’t the DS get quoted months back concerning converting ferries. It may have been these.

Thought that was for Brexit…oh no that was the transport wowser and the ferry company without any ships. Priceless!

Daniele Mandelli

Lol I know what your referring to. That Tit Grayling and his Ferry contract.

No this was earlier, some time last year when the amphibious capability was rumoured to be on the chopping block. The DS was quoted as suggesting that converted ferries could be used as troop ships.


Failing Grayling….specialist in failure lol.

captain P Wash.

In all fairness, I think you will find that the Company was 60% owned by one of the Biggest Shipping Companies somewhere, can’t remember the details but It’s out there somewhere.


Maybe, I don’t recall. Makes more sense to create these purpose designed ships than try to modify QE class to replace Ocean. I think ‘the plan’ is still work in progress, but these ships look like thought through improvements on eithef sending exoensive QE class inshore or building a straight Ocean replacement. If they are based on a RoRo design they might be able to perform the mother ship role done by fhe Bay in the Gulf. So maybe think of them as replacing the Bay we should not have sold and Ocean? As ‘Littoral Strike’ ships they will be… Read more »


May be correct, possible the ACA have quoted silly numbers to modify the carriers for this role so cheaper to convert a commercial vessel.

captain P Wash.

When a Subject like this gets so many Replies, It’s really hard to work out Who Is Replying to Who and at which point in the Conversation. It’s not exactly a free flowing, easy to keep up with format, that’s for sure.

Is anyone else on any other Site that I can have a look at ???

(Not saying I don’t enjoy It here but, It Is a tad confusing at times).

Daniele Mandelli

Gabriel’s Blog at UK Armed Forces Commentary is brilliant, and I find myself constantly agreeing with his thinking.

He posts a new article every few months however, as I guess he actually has a life! Accordingly the comment section is not on going like here.


Save the Royal Navy is also good for RN articles.

We need THREE fast modern dock ships similar to the USN San Antonio class.

I am still digesting the news.

Daniele Mandelli

Don’t take too long. Interested in your take on these.

I think they are alluding to something like U.S. Special Operations Command’s MV C Ocean Trader. This is a conversion of a sister class to the Points. Google them. We need something like the San Antonio, a class of three. One of these will follow the carrier. We have close combat company, a small TAC HQ, and a clutch of Junglies in the carrier. And the balance in the dock ship with support elements and other stores in a bay stooging behind. Deploying the carrier beomes the main ‘overseas’ activity (in peace) for the RN and the RAF.

captain P Wash.

Well, It looks like MP’s are trying to stop HS2, so I guess That’ll free up 20 Trillion ££££’s or thereabouts !

Steve R

My guess for some of the things discussed here is as follows: 1) new build or conversion? My money would be on a conversion of another ship. Much cheaper and as it’s basically a floating base for SF, doesn’t need as much as traditional RN surface ships like frigates and destroyers. 2) crew? As this is an SF floating base my assumption would be an RN crew, due to the nature of the missions of would undertake. Secrecy would be paramount. I’d assume that few apart from the captain and some key staff would know what the SF are actually… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

This is my view too Steve R.

As for RFA and OSA. Do Serco Denholm people have to sign the OSA? I guess so? As when there are SBS aboard training with their kit in far away places they will have some knowledge.


The Drive

U.S. Special Operations Command’s Elusive Mothership Is Packing Stealth Speedboat

Photos Surface Of Elusive U.S. Special Operations Mothership In Seychelles

Daniele Mandelli

Yes seen that before. Agreed.

Daniele Mandelli

A far more capable version of SD Victoria, which has just the one mission bay for boats and no aviation facilities.

Yes in a way. But we sold a Bay not so long back. And we have two LPD’s that we struggle to man.

Steve, exactly the point I was about to make. We couldn’t run Largs Bay and presently struggle with manning the remainder of the RFA. I am delighted with the news, however not going to hold breath until I see what exactly we are going to get.

I am not opposed to ‘civilian ships’ being re-purposed. It actually has been a passing interest of mine since 82.

And I think our main maritime threat in the next three to four decades won’t be China but us policing the North African coast to protect Europe. We will need lots of hulls for helicopter, UAVs, and small boat motherships; we don’t need full on warships for that job. Saying that I am concerned about non-state actors using AShM……..


I did a bit of work on that one as well.
It was Civvy manned .
You couldn’t get access to the SF areas which was understandable. Those areas where all cypher locked compartments and spaces.
Big floor area under the flight deck though for all sorts of goodies. The flight deck is big (not Puller sized) with a hanger . They had been operating Little Birds, Pave Hawks and drones from it .

The Points have impressive endurance. Something like 9000 miles at 21kts………

I don’t know. They seem a good answer to a different question. A question that is different to what we are asking…..

Geoffrey Roach

Just got in. Excellent news….and extra (?) drones. Sorry about this but Fish and Chips…landing from the sea !

Let’s hope that means an increase in surface escorts – T26 & T45. A couple of extra SSN’s to provide asw support is too much to hope for, I suppose.


Sounds like good news. I too think these will be conversions rather than new builds.

David Johnson

And in the real world the select committee reports that the MoD has still not sorted the huge gap between its budget on the one hand and its future equipment plan on the other. Until that issue is resolved, this is just political puff…..

captain P Wash.

You’re forgetting the £3 billion Pension fund hole in the Army mate. !

I just realised there’s that s-word again……..