James Cartlidge, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, stated that according to the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the Multi-Role Support Ship is expected to enter service in the early 2030s, currently in its pre-concept phase with efforts focused on defining requirements and ensuring affordability, making it too early to confirm budget details or exact service dates.

The information came to light in the following response to a Parliamentary Written Question.

James Cartlidge, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, stated:

“As set out in the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the Multi-Role Support Ship is anticipated to be in service in the early 2030s.

The Multi-Role Support Ship Programme is currently in its pre-concept phase. The focus is on determining the requirement and on setting the programme up for success ,with work ongoing to ensure affordability. It is too early to confirm details such as the estimated budget or precise in service dates.”

The future Multi Role Support Ships

According to the ‘Defence Command Paper’, the UK is looking at ‘Multi Role Support Ships’ to provide future littoral strike capabilities, but what will they look like?

The 2021 Defence Command Paper, titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age‘, describes the planned acquisition:

“Multi Role Support Ships (MRSS), to provide the platforms to deliver Littoral Strike,
including Maritime Special Operations, in the early 2030s.”

One option is the ELLIDA concept, a 195m multi-role support and logistics vessel designed to provide the capabilities needed in “future global operations, offering the flexibility of a large hull, with internal vehicle and stowage decks, weather deck stowage and additional accommodation”.

It has the utility to transport and deliver troops, vehicles, equipment and supplies from anywhere in the world in support of amphibious warfare and littoral manoeuvre.

Its mix of ship-to-shore offloading and logistics capabilities allow support to naval operations through landing craft, boat operations, multi-spot aviation and replenishment at sea.

According to the BMT website:

“The first member of the ELLIDA family is a 195m multi-role support and logistics vessel designed to provide the capabilities needed in future global operations, offering the flexibility of a large hull, with internal vehicle and stowage decks, weather deck stowage and additional accommodation. It has the utility to transport and deliver troops, vehicles, equipment and supplies from anywhere in the world in support of amphibious warfare and littoral manoeuvre.

Its versatile mix of ship-to-shore offloading and logistics capabilities allow support to naval operations through landing craft, boat operations, multi-spot aviation and replenishment at sea.

BMT considered the operational background and future requirements during the development of ELLIDA – including the development of operational concepts against current and future doctrines of several navies. The result is a balanced design, able to react to the dynamic operational requirements of military commanders in support of government policy for a number of different nations.”

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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monkey spanker
monkey spanker
15 days ago

So these need to be able to support marines for long deployments, able to store and launch boats, aircraft and some vehicles. They need to have awareness of threats and hopefully some self defence capabilities as they may be working alone and in contested areas.
A frigate on the front and amphibious ship at the back.
Depending on how many there may be scope to have modules, like command module, extra storage module, hospital module, extra hanger module, missile module and so on. How that would actually work in practice is above my knowledge.

James Fennell
James Fennell
15 days ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

I think the idea is they carry a set of Navy PODS (containers) up front, enabling them to reroll rapidly by loading the relevant set (i.e medical, precision fires, drones, C2, power, data, RM C3, DEW detc.) and also supply PODS to escorts.

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
15 days ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

Something like that you want 6-8 at least surely. If they’re meant to replace the Bays, maybe Albion/Bulwark(?) too. Mini USMC expeditionary forces in other words, one of those, a T31 or two. At least that’s what I’m assuming the idea is

Mark P
Mark P
15 days ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

How I understand it is that there would be six ships, a couple to replace Albion & Bulwark and four possible a slightly different configuration to replace the bays and Argus?

Ron
Ron
15 days ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

I agree with 8. Four to replace the Bays, two to replace the Fort Austin/Rosalie and two for the Royal Marines. We could even use the design to replace Argus and possibly the hoped for hospital ship. That would give ten possibly 12 ships in the class. Yes I know money and manpower. That is a diffrent issue. The RN/RM/RFA needs to have a ballanced fleet that can do the the job on a world stage. As for a T31 as an escort, I think if we could build the T32 based on a Damen Crossover Combatant this would be… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
15 days ago
Reply to  Ron

Looks like you’ve work it all out Ron 🇬🇧

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
14 days ago
Reply to  Ron

Ron there are way too many projects out there with similar acronyms. The 3 replacements for the RFA Forts are already on order and due to be built by a H&W / Navantia consortium at Belfast under the FSSS programme. They are going to be pretty big beasties (@40k tonnes). They are in the NSBS shipbuilding plan in the slot before MRSS, so one gets built followed by another and so on. The MRSS project is an idea to replace the Bay, Bulwark’s and Argos with a Swiss Army Knife, multi purpose ship. We will see what eventually happens but… Read more »

Exroyal.
Exroyal.
14 days ago
Reply to  Ron

Ron I am afraid you will never hold high office. You speak complete sense to me. Since the Drone or UAV is here to stay all ships whether RFA or RN need to have air defence in Ciws and missile form. This rubbish about fitted for but without needs to end now. As for your other comments buy the steel start building.

James Fennell
James Fennell
15 days ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

Plan is for six to replace LPDs, LSLs and Argus I believe.

They add significant additional capability: extensive aviation facilities and the ability to carry containers and provide dry store replenishment (not ammo) to escorts in addition to a well deck, vehicle lanes and personnel accommodation and command facilities. Joint programme with Netherlands would bring Damen’s designs into the frame too. Larger than LPDs at around 20K tons.

Last edited 15 days ago by James Fennell
Pacman27
Pacman27
15 days ago
Reply to  James Fennell

For me we should start with the Karel doorman JALS design & build on that. I also think the davey G-LAM has some good bits to it (such as ice hull & medical centre) so merge the best of the 2 designs and add in a 128 VLS somewhere making it 210m+ and we won’t be far away. we can containerise fuel and use lane to add more lane meters & perhaps have a large permanent munition store instead. 8 should be minimum, but 12 would be optimal in many respects. We did well with the aegir hull (tide) if… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
15 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

I don’t think we should go in with the Dutch, the Karel Dorman design is elderly and would need massive modification to fit RN requirements with regards the MRSS programme. The BMT Ellida design has been proposed, designed, architectured for the MRSS programme from the outset.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
14 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

You do know MOD signed an agreement with the Dutch last year to do precisely that and cooperate on the next generation ships ?
The Bays and 4 LPD were all based on the older Damen design its evolved a lot since then. And unlike the BMT concept we know they work.

Jon
Jon
14 days ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Should be seven. How often have we bemoaned the selling of HMAS Choules née Largs Bay and called it a big mistake? It would be a big mistake not to replace it then.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
15 days ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

Wouldn’t BMT Ellida be a logical baseline design? Would have to customize for specific RN/RM requirements, but should still yield design cost savings. 🤔

JOHN MELLING
JOHN MELLING
15 days ago

Can’t wait to see what they finally decide upon!
The BMT – ELLIDA option has plenty of space and will provide flexibility
I had a read of their 2019 PDF again

Let’s get it done …

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
15 days ago

” to ensure affordability” Another smoke screen for “somewhere,sometime, someday, never?

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
15 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Or lets cut the programme from the required 6-8 to just 3, after all we don’t actually need a military in this current world of massive strategic risks, whilst our prospective enemies are arming themselves as fast as they can.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
14 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Deja vu as they say. Less 45’s less 26’s and on and on…..😕🚢

Exroyal.
Exroyal.
14 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Sadly Geoff we are 17 committee’s and 4 defence select committee meetings and 11 reviews before we get to your stage. Don’t forget the fact finding visit to Jamaica and Japan.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
14 days ago
Reply to  Exroyal.

Certainly not likely to visit Belfast, although a couple of weeks in Barcelona would be nice.

James Fennell
James Fennell
14 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Its disguise for a bunfight about how many, how big, what capabilities etc – Bulwark, Albion and the Bays lost aviation capability during such an exercise.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
14 days ago
Reply to  James Fennell

I didn’t know that but I acn’t say I’m surprised. Do you know any more?

Elio
Elio
15 days ago

BMT updated their ELLIDA concept in September 2023. The version shown in the article is out of date FYI

Elio
Elio
15 days ago
Reply to  Elio

With the FSSS now ordered they have reduced the replenishment at sea aspect of the design and that front section with all the containers has effectively been shrunk

Jim
Jim
15 days ago

If there in service by early 2030’s I guess it’s going to rule out H&W building them as they will still be building FSSS. If H&W don’t get the contract then I can only see CL being able to build them.

Louis
Louis
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

CL have no chance at building them. They got rid of most of their shipbuilding staff after RRS Sir David Attenborough was launched and now only have small shipbuilding operations building components for T26 and Dreadnoughts. Their shipbuilding hall isn’t long enough and they have nowhere else they could build it. The only shipyards with a shot at final assembly are Rosyth and H&W. H&W has enough space to assemble at least 5 large ships of FSSS/MRSS size, but won’t have enough space to build all the blocks so would have to include other yards for blocks. Rosyth has three… Read more »

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
14 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Not going to happen till the stockpile of old Boats at Devonport is reduced. So maybe 20 years away. As for the timeline if H&W get a wiggle on with FSSS then it’s not only doable but Politically advisable.

Frank
Frank
14 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

This whole N boat issue is huge…. the costs involved are staggering, the timescale is enormous….. I think it’s something like 14 at Devonport and 6 at Rosyth ? ….. then there will be Triumph and the 4 V boats in not such a long time….. (not sure if Triumph has already gone).

Louis
Louis
14 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

I know, that’s what I was saying.

Babcock can still use 1 and 3 dock if the carrier maintenance is moved elsewhere. There is also plenty of space for them to expand to build new facilities, H&W can’t really expand at all.

Appledore will be too busy to help but H&W does have two other yards they could build blocks at.

CGH
CGH
15 days ago

I like the flexible idea of these ships & it is vital that Albion & Bulwark are replaced. One small point is the placement of the 20mm CIWS, with the rear gun having very limited angle of fire. A more logical placement would be on top of the bridge wings Port & Starboard.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
15 days ago

Just before everyone goes yes let’s order x, y or z. BMT Elida is only one of the options and it is only a Concept with no previous track record. Last year MOD signed an LOI with the Dutch to explore replacing our various LPD, LSD, Argus and the 2 Dutch LPD with a Littoral Strike Platform and the Dutch will no doubt put forward a developed version of their well proven Enforcer design. Just remember that one of the RNs most reliable, cost effective and flexible ships are the Bays. And they are a large but basic version of… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
15 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Specsifacations and a host of images can be found via the attached link. HNLMS Karel Doorman class multi-function Joint Support Ship (JSS) – unique unit Builder: Galati Shipyard, Romania (ship) + Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding, Vlissingen, Netherlands (fitting out)   STATUS: Laid down: June 7, 2011 Launched: October 17, 2012 Commissioned: April 24, 2015 Technical Data: Length: 204,7 meters (671 ft 7 in) Beam: 30,4 meters (99 ft 9 in) Draft: 7,8 meters (25 ft 7 in) Displacement: 27800 tons (full load) Speed: 18 knots (33 km/h) Range: 9800 NM (18100 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h) Complement: 150 (ship),… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by Nigel Collins
Frank
Frank
15 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Range is good, Speed no better than Albion or the Bays, slower than the Tides.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
14 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Now go and take a look at the modern iteration of the Enforcer design.

Its a totally different ball game.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
14 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Would you happen to have a link to it?

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
11 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Just Google Damen Enforcer class. When I post links Inget sin binned for a few days.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
11 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Nice looking ships.

To post a link just do this and then copy and paste it into your browser leaving a space in between.

https://

damen.com/vessels/defence-and-security/landing-platform-dock-enforcers/landing-platform-dock-enforcer-12026

Sjb1968
Sjb1968
15 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

An evolution of the Bay class design is the right answer but just add the hangar back. The size needs to be similar to the Bays as any bigger and they become rather large vessels in littoral waters and I would argue you then move the upper-works to the starboard side and have a through deck vessel. (As most on here know a 1970s description to confuse our political leaders). Whilst I admire the Karel Doorman design it is perverse to build a naval vessel that large and not have the most efficient layout and that is a carrier configuration,… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by Sjb1968
SailorBoy
SailorBoy
15 days ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

I agree that an LHA arrangement, if not full function, would be ideal given the Marines’ focus on raiding. It would also in a pinch allow deployment aboard of a couple of those new cargo drones and maybe a few Mojave for close air support. Hey presto, a new aircraft carrier! However did that happen?

Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral
15 days ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

Absolutely. The Bays are a known quantity and surely the navy could provide an instant modification sheet to ensure the design is what is needed. Trouble with looking ahead is that the requirement changes all the time. A new crisis erupts and the features seen to be needed are not the ones from the last year resulting in yet more modifications and prevarication. The best design is one in service, not on the drawing board. Would be nice to have Ceptor space even if ffnw, besides Phalanx. Soft launch is a great feature for the missile, needing no ‘blast space’… Read more »

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
14 days ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

Forget the KD it’s a 30 year old design. Look at the modern versions.

Frank
Frank
15 days ago

Add a Catapult and chuck a couple of floats on Vixen and Hey presto…….. you get a Seaplane carrier too.

Genius init !

John
John
15 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Needs tubes for Tomahawks as well, and more gunz!

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
14 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Spooky but Damen are building pretty well that for the Portuguese Navy in Romania. No Catapult but a ski jump.

Frank
Frank
14 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

I was actually semi serious…… I think too much at times but….. There is talk of a medium capacity EMals system and most think it would be just added to the carriers but…. if you look back to WW2, Catapult launched and Crain recovered aircraft were seriously effective….. Saunders Roe developed the first Jet Engine power Sea Plane Fighter in 1947….. it never took off !!!! but it did fly and prove the concept….. Those catapults were rather simple compared to EMals but the concept is still good….. Vixen launched from this type of ship (with Crain’s) Is entirely do-able… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
15 days ago

Do like the look of this Design if they want this vessel to do what it says in the Article ,I would say a Displacement of a round 18-20 thousand tonnes .But if so for God’s sake Armand it .Message for the government it call going on combat operations 🙄 🇬🇧

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
14 days ago

Great looking and very versatile ship. Sorry for being picky but can I just say this, IMHO they’ll need to seriously fix the rear facing Phalanx between those exhaust stacks. There’s a very constricted firing arc. Extend the flyco deck out to increase this and so that they can clearly view all the flight deck and or push the exhaust stacks forward. Like to see containerised CAMM on these and all other RFA ships as well.

Last edited 14 days ago by Quentin D63
David Owen
David Owen
14 days ago

I would love to see at least 12 of these class of ships come to fruition, roundtable class would be something to call the class like the old rfa ships used in the Falklands, support British jobs,create more jobs in the rfa ,but the useless incumbent government will be gone soon,only now do these tory idiots realise that the damage they have done to our armed forces has helped people like putin and his ilk rubbing his hands at the fxxxxxxg arseholes stupidity,

IKnowNothing
IKnowNothing
14 days ago

I am concerned that they are going for a design with limited flight deck space. We know that supporting landings will increasingly involve drones. Many of those will need space to launch and recover. Would they be better thinking of a thru-deck design of some sort to allow a wider range of flight operations. We have no idea what might be needed ten years from now and we might regret limiting options for flying drones off them

Mike
Mike
13 days ago

Any idea of placing 20′ containers on deck has one simple flaw, namely the RFA has not had a reliable crane able to sustain foul weather conditions for years. The Bay class is OK but Tide Class cranes are awful. The crane is integratal to this concept working as designed so please ensure a maritime crane able to handle full 20′ containers and ammunition and not made by Pelligrini!

Val
Val
13 days ago

Affordability? Just pass them off as ppe, covid measures or to help banks out. How many hundreds of billions pissed away on lies then back to the old affordability and value to the taxpayer bullshit. Come on! How much value came from bailing out banks? How much value from stopping people to go work over a cough and ppe for certain people in places to not make, but grab tax payers money. How much value in building albeit a warlike product but still important for the defence of and interests of our Country. A real product made by British people… Read more »

Ex_Service
Ex_Service
13 days ago

They should be fitted with Sea Ceptor with a suitable Ops Rm just as the Fearless class was before them, I suspect these would come in handy given the world they will operate in.

Numbers wise, as previously posts in similar threads, 8 should be the absolute minimum, while 12 would provide flexibility and the ability to scale a suitable force to maximise the amphibious capability, and conduct multiple concurrent peacetime missions (scrapping the stupid poor mans operate one layup the other model). Of course this probably won’t happen, and 4-5 will most likely be ordered. Pity.

Cripes
Cripes
12 days ago

I’m intrigued by the numbers being bandied about here… eight… ten… twelve …! The only amphibious forces we have are two reduced-size RM Commandos tasked with light raids on an enemy coastline. There are no army infantry battalions spare to play the amphibious assault role. We are down to 30 battalions now, 12 of them at half strength and they are already over committed. Should it be necessary to deploy an armoured infantry brigade by sea, then the Points will carry the bulk of the vehicles and equipment. A couple of Albion replacements would be most useful, but there again… Read more »

Tom
Tom
12 days ago

A genuine question… When it comes to military ‘kit’ & equipment, does necessity ever outweigh affordability?

Frank62
Frank62
11 days ago
Reply to  Tom

Considering the gapping(Of essential warfighting gear) allowed to happen in recent years it would seem not. Regardless of enemies, HMG has acheived more damage to our security & forces than any enemy could ever hope.