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Barry Larking

Good to see but still chasing to catch up on a lost decade.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Anything multi role is always a compromise.


I agree, I love my fleet of vessel that have the Missiles on one ship, the radar on another, the Command on another one e.c.t., e.c.t.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

When somebody here says something that stupid I am never sure whether they are just ignorant, stupid, or trolling.


Many of us reading here value “some” of your posts, but only those that are helpful for us in understanding all things navy that the rest of us do not fully understand or lack experience about. However, that credibility and under standing you have is far to often undermined by your continued rude and abusive replies to others reading here. When you write such things it is an invitation for other to say something back about your written attitude and behaviour. So…..

When somebody here you says something that stupid I am never sure whether they are you are ignorant, stupid, or trolling

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Thank you.


Careful, He’ll get you banned.


I had to say something about his continued rudeness, he used to give added value, I read his posts to get a better understanding, but no longer.

dick van dyke

Ha ha, There are a few of us who think that, every time you post to be brutally honest. Personally I’ve been looking in for many many years and it’s always entertaining reading the “Regulars” stuff. as others have pointed out, I loved the Russia/Ukraine stuff you got so badly wrong. classic !


True, but is not necessarily bad, and you did not say that either.

The F-16 is a multi-role fighter compared to the F-14 but the F-16 turned out to be a mega-successful fighter not saying that the F-14 is less successful in its role, each to its own.


One of the zookeeper’s favourites is the multirole Absaloms


Nothing to be ashamed of the Absaloms class ships.


Very interesting stuff. Would obviously be great if the Aussie’s went with ELLIDA and ironed out any issues prior to us (hopefully) choosing a variant for MRSS!

But is there any yard in the UK in the next decade or so that could hypothetically work with BMT to build the Australian vessels? H&W will be flat out with FSS for a few years and ditto BAE / Babcock Rosyth with frigates.

Cammell Laird maybe???


The ‘desire’ is for Australia to build them domestically, but they have no shipyard that can handle the size. Maybe the hull is built offshore and carried to a yard for fitting out ?

Supportive Bloke

Babcock may be looking for something to do if T32 doesn’t materialise?

I sincerely hope that T31 is a success and they are rewarded with a T31 BII or a T32 order.

To my mind a T31 BII of almost the same thing making a class of 8 would be the most sensible thing to do and the cheapest way of keeping them in work and building up fleet numbers as commonality is assured. wrt to parts and training pipeline? Also with a class of 8 availability of 3 to 5 (at surge) is a reasonable assumption.

Richard Beedall

Agreed. Cancel T32, order three more T31’s, and divert the savings to progressing MRSS seems a good option to amateur armchair admirals such as myself.


I wish you were wrong but it’s time to get real and face facts. You my be and armchair admiral Richard but it’s nice to hear common sense. Especially now it looks extremely unlikely HMS Westminster will ever go back to sea, there maybe a few more pounds in the purse?


This ^^^^.


Agree just extend the T31 run..but I would say to 9 maybe with some slight iterative changes…they are turning into very good surface warfare, strike and close escort vessels..they could also run on the T26 to an extra vessel.

The reality is the minimum number of escorts is 24 and that was for a stable geopolitical that should be the aim as quickly as possible.

9 T31, 9T26 and 6T45 would make a balanced escort fleet that could easily have 8 escorts deployed without problems…with the Atlantic and med deployments covered by the rivers2s that gives 3-4 escorts for a CSG, 2 for single deployments in the more intense east of suez, then 2-3 for amphibious group work and northern waters.


You’re idea sounds pretty much the same as my thinking apart from the batch 2 OPV’S as two of them will be back in UK waters by 2028 when the batch 1’s are due to be decommissioned. The only flaw in having more hulls and therefore more hulls at sea is there just won’t be enough personnel even with more automation and smaller crews. Recruitment must be a addressed


I could live with those numbers provided that the next destroyer class has 8 hulls and not 6. Best of all would be 4 Type 83 AAW flagship – light cruisers, and then just replace the existing 6 Type 45s with a destroyer version of the Type26.

Final numbers would be: 9 T31, 9 T26, 6 T4XX, and 4 T83. Total escorts = 28. Even that is smaller than I would like as an interested observer in the US, but along with the carriers, 8 SSGNs in the next class, and a rebuilt RFA, I think you’d be in business.

Last edited 2 months ago by Will

Availability had better be more than 3 out of a total of 8 ships in the class. Even 5 is marginal. I would say the goal should surely be 6 of 8 at any given time, or 75%. I don’t think that is unreasonable if the RN is properly funded.


Cammell Laird doesn’t have any facilities to build ships of this size. H&W will have space from around 2028 which is when the first ship should be launched.
Australia have already said that the ships will be domestically built.


Built domestically or elsewhere at the very least it’d be good if Australia went for a BMT design, with the knowledge gained in the process being leveraged into the final MRSS design.

That coupled with close cooperation with the Dutch could significantly de-risk the program for us.


Cammell Laird built HMS Prince of Wales (1941) that was a much larger ship. Probably built on a slipway?


She should’ve been built on a slipway. The cranes for such slipway are long gone and any shipbuilding takes place in its construction hall that is 145m long.


Australia doesnt have a shipyard big enough, according to BMT. So that will devolve into built there- fitted out here as they did with their 2 LPH

David MacDonald

The RRS Sir David Attenborough, built by Cammell Laird, is 129 m x 24 m.


Cammell Lairds construction hall is 145m long.
Cammell Laird had huge trouble building RRS Sir David Attenborough, and laid off most of its shipbuilding staff in 2021 as it struggles to get new orders.


Why cant Cammell Laird put in the investment to build ships up to 15000 or 20000t class. I would also focus on smaller support ships meaning tugs etc an area where UK is particularly weak and has to import vessels. The whole UK small ships market including private yachts is import led.


Why have 2 separate open decks when It could be 1? Much more flexibility that way.


The addition to the design of a through house clearway connecting the 2 decks with internal lifts would be useful. I suspect the 2 top deck spaces and the positioning of house has to do with aligning it with the holds and engineering spaces internally (funnels need to come up somewhere, and the LSDA / Argus designs of having them pop out of the aft deck is not optimal). Also it allows space if RAS rigs are specified by a customer without major reworking.


Much prefer the original ELLIDA, but it appears they added a larger well deck in the revised version for the RN. Will be interesting to see which variant they offer to the RAN.


What’s the capacity of the hangar(s)?


I believe it’s either 2 or 3 medium helicopters plus dedicated space for smaller UAV’s.

Daniel John Powell

Great news..

Is it few shipping containers compared that first generation? I think first generation more versatile, as last it is more modern.

Hope we had about 6-12 of this (I think we will just get 5 unfortunately when we should get more)

3 for commando rapid reaction command lithoral strike. I think they have 3 rapid reaction commando base one in far Asian and one oman? Which we upgrade navy base in there, one home.

3-6 for other purposes hospital ship / humanitarian mission, refueling, transport etc.

3 for UAV mine sweeper / layer / uav / usv replace currently.

With add refuel tanker which we had already in service bit similar to this which good support for royal navy

Asker of questions

The idea of MRSS is that we have 6 two to replace the Albion’s three for the Bay’s and one for Argus.
That will be enough if we ever get that many and we couldn’t sustain, crew or escort a fleet larger than that.
Not with the planed escort including type 32

dick van dyke

It’s taken 25 years from the first talk of T26 (GCS) to launch (float off) I wouldn’t hold my breath about T32.


BAE will be making sure that ‘kitten’ is drowned at birth as it would cement Babcock’s position as a credible competitor.
Because of the Dreadnought program is taking such big slabs of money AND after that when the sub program usually goes quieter the AUKUS comes along and that will kick off and want more money too.
I can see the ‘escorts’ numbers being officially reduced again but not before an election

dick van dyke

I believe the T23 numbers will dip to 9 before HMS Glasgow is in service, who knows if T32 will ever make it off the “drawing board”.

Last edited 3 months ago by dick van dyke
Toby Jones

I think it mentions in the article that BMT had specifically removed the RAS gear from their original concept, which would rule out refuelling. I also think that a well dock is not the greatest platform for your UUV/minesweeper category, this was supposed to be covered by the Type 32. Granted, one of those as an escort would be a great help, but 10,000 tonnes of well dock doesn’t bode well in a littoral minesweeping environment.


Containerised medical facilities sound like a flexible solution and in principle I like the concept of modularity and flexibility but from those renders, especially the second one with the 4 beds for scale, it makes me think that if that is showing the full compartment area available for potential medical use it’s not going to be able to provide anything like the capacity of Argus.


Why don’t they just not bother with the flight deck? The thing is pointless when we have HMS Queen Elizabath doing the rounds. Better placed putting missiles, turrets, torpedoes tubes etc in that space .


It’s not pointless though, the carriers won’t always and shouldn’t be assigned to littoral operations. They need their own aviation facilities for deploying and resupplyinng ground forces. And their role isn’t fleet combat, they’re not going to put Offensive weapons on it.

dick van dyke

What ? Are you a time traveller from the 1920’s, do you even know the difference between an aircraft carrier and a multi role support ship ? Neither have missiles, turrets or torpedo tubes, are you lost ?


Aviation facilities are essential for a ship of this type. Most of the time they will be operating without carrier support. They are logistics platforms not combatants and rely on escorting warships like T23/26/31 frigates for protection.


Bulwark and Albion were supposed to have OSDs of 2032 and 2034.

As both will have spent half this time in extended readiness, surely extending them both to OSDs of 2040 and 2042 would be possible.

This would free up capital investment for more aircraft and T26s. (If you think its mad, consider how the heavily used merlins have been extended from 2030 to 2040….)

We will need to replace the Bay class, but they seem find as they are of you added some hangers… buy four more from Damen and maybe get them cheap from the Romanian ship yard….As many have pointed out the current schedules keep our ship yards full…


On extending lives of Albion and Bulwark the experience with Type 23 life extensions should be a warning to all. Time at sea is not necessarily a good predictor of a ships material condition.


Those ships have had a hard life, unlike Bulwark and Albion. Plus with 5-6 years in ‘extended readiness’ then any extensions won’t have the same time pressures as the recent works on T45 or T23s

Supportive Bloke

The issue is how welds were done and proofed?

Welds always have micro eruptions (voids) in that era.

These weep and allow salt water to penetrate.

So it is time in the water – passive corrosion


time worked hard – hull active stress.

So it isn’t that simple.

That said Albions were not designed to John Nott’s fitted FFBNW hull life……


Interesting. Where I am coming from is that the MRSS aren’t adequate replacements for actual warships (Albion and Bulwark) but is their a chance to extend them in service as the navy has so many other priorities that are needed sooner.

Off this topic how are the carriers anticipated to have such a long lifespan? Is it as simple as they were built stronger?


The issue is actually the margins applied in terms of stability, weight growth and plate corrosion allowance. The T23 were designed for an 18 year life with minimum margins in terms of stability and weight growth. The ships are now significantly in excess of their designed weight, which means that the hull structural loads – while still within safe limits – are higher, which increases fatigue risk. The corrosion issues also include some interesting microbial effects, which break down coatings and expose plating to corrosion. Because the ships were designed for 18 years life but are being run on for thirty-plus, means that there isn’t the level of extra plate thickness in corrosion margin, which is why there are significant insert repairs across the fleet.

Last edited 3 months ago by N-a-B

Plate thickness after 18 years?
Someone should tell that to Jutland survivor HMS Caroline


Triggers broom…..


This design just doesn’t cut it.. where are the RAS masts.

the starting point for any design must the the Karel Doorman, Damen Crossovers, or Canadian G-LAM

KD is an amazing vessel that I think can be improved further, but as a start point what else would we need (arguably nothing).

I would like to see the upper decks wrap around the 4 RAS masts and potentially a extending Gantry type Crane at the end of the new extended upper decks and hanger.

Solid Stores should be built in with the ability to hold additional fuel in a containerised solution using the lane meters (containerised solution should do this.

a few key tweaks to the KD design and we are onto a winner

Target price of £400m each with 1 launched every 2 years for drumbeat. 3 or 4 tranches of 3 ships – each improving on the last tranche. 12 gives us 24 yrs of work and keeps pricing down. 5 FFT at the end of this to replace Tides and you have the mainstay of the RN/RFA large surface vessel fleet

build them between HW and CL. job done.


And your wealth of ship design experience was gained where may I ask (Lego perhaps?)

Supportive Bloke

Why do you need KD when there are proper tankers and stores ships?

KD has a tiny fraction of the capacity of the solid stores ships on order. So why bother with expensive RAS options?

Every extra function required budget, manpower and maintenance.

RN isn’t USN – nobody else is – so whistles and bells come off.


clearly it’s better to have task specific ships in this particular case, but they end up being mothballed, tied up or underutilised for various reasons.

the Karel doorman is actually a fantastic vessel and is a true MRSS type vessel.

take a look at the specs, it’s very impressive.

the uk version could be set up as more of a Solid stores vessel if we wanted it to and use a containerised solution for fuels.

the fact. KD has loads of flexibility 6 Merlin’s in hanger + more if needed + LCVPs + S2S connectors off the steel beach.. the list goes on.

i prefer something that is going to be used and retained, that we have in useful numbers rather than 2’s & 3’s of types that will become at risk..

so yes I am up for KD type design, at least 8 of them


The Dutch wanted to offload it before it was completed, but a decision reversed when the Germans cam e on board and both navies would share the single one under dutch command.
RN would be lucky to get 3 of its design as submarines in the next 15 years will soak up any money for nice to haves


I think subs are the way to go and would like us to have 12 SSNs as a minimum (although would be happy with 7 + 7 SSK as well).

if we want this type of vessel, and we do use them then let’s commit.

argus, bulwark, albion, 3 bays and 4 points could be replaced by MRSS. Yes you lose something from each, but you gain something as well. Does one offset the other?


Agreed that SSGK’s for use in home waters, GIUK, and the Mediterranean would be an excellent idea. You don’t really need nuclear powered submarines in these largely shallower areas, and top end AIP or even the latest diesel-electric “boats” are extremely capable (and quiet). I have long advocated for the RN to reconstitute the Home Fleet as a “Home Flotilla” that would operate SSGKs and frigates as an enabler for the high end vessels to concentrate mostly on blue water and global power projection missions.


Not sure but I would still like to see a RAS point on the MRSS. Reason is simple, you can never have enough logistics. They could keep the fleet tankers and FSS ships on station with the task group as the MRSS would run back and forth to ports to collect supplies, top up the fleet units and they would keep on station. You could keep a littioral response group on station longer.

So the way I see it is the first BMT concept is more expensive but more flexible, the second is cheaper, more limited in capability but we could get more of them. I must admit I would like to see about 9-12 of these ships in the fleet. They could replace the Bays, Argus, two could be forward deployed accomadation/repair ships, with the task groups and two for littioral action groups.


Unfortunately we have extremely capable AOR’s that can do some considerable container based logistics as well as fuel, laid up alongside for lack of crew and operating budget????


So compared to the original graphics:

  • Longer flight deck (over longer dock?)
  • Shorter looking superstructure based on original having an LCVP, a Pacific 2 type RHIB and an enclosed Lifeboat – the lifeboat is now missing
  • Containerized hospital on vehicle deck – original mentioned hospital in front of hangar – new graphic seems to show double hangar – 2 Merlin sized helo?

– no comments from BMT on ‘lane meters’ or personnel (no of bunks) ??


RAS rigs and Lifeboats gone from original design, is this a sign that they will be RN manned not RFA.


What they mean is that they’ve let the office graduate loose with the original design, some 3D graphics software in an attempt to make it look more like a LSDA. The original MRSS was a mish-mash generated during the period between collapse of first FSS competition and the start of the second.

Peter (Irate Taxpayer)


It was definitely not the young office graduate who was let loose on the tweaking and colouring-in of this quite-old CAD design. It should have been quite-obvious, especially to an very experienced chap like yourself (Note 1), that this “design” was the work an undergraduate during their first-ever six-week-long summer work experience placement.

(Note. Is that word “chap” still permitted…..or will I soon be removed from NL?)


BMT tried to pull a very-similar stunt to this back in 2017/18. Working closely in cahoots with QinetiQ, it released lots and lots of conceptual design studies for their super-duper all-singing-and-all dancing Mine-Hunting Mothership concept (i.e. MCM Venari 85).

Err, so what happened next?

Just a few years later, the RN buys something completely different. It is today called Sterling Castle. Quicker, simpler, available more quickly (COTS) and, all-in-all, will probably do a much-better job of being an MCM mothership than any Venari.

Furthermore, on this subject of trotting out refreshes of old design studies that go nowhere fast, has anybody seen a BMT Caiman landing craft in operational service recently? I may have missed something here, or are these a very low observable LCU’s !


All joking apart, this whole question of the UK’s future amphibious and heavy expeditionary logistical-lift capability now needs to be completely re-thought by the MOD and RN. That rethink must be from very first principles:

It is what us old gits used to call the proper study of over-the-beach logistics.


Impending Obsolescence

It seems not to be appreciated that the total UK requirement is not six ships, it’s a lot more than that………… in total, there are now no less than ten UK large logistics ships that will become obsolete within the next decade (RN / RFA / Contractor-Run)

All ten of these OAP’s are all – very very approximately – circa 15,000 to 23,000 tons, all are between 180m-200m long and all are very-roughly 25m-30m wide. Lets say all ten need about 10m of water to float in (i.e. up to their Plimsoll’s) .

By 2034 the UK fleet of grey-haired oldies will be:

  • Argus – 1 no
  • Albion – 2no
  • Bay 3no
  • Point 4no
  • Total 10 no

These ten ships represent ALL of the UK’s strategic naval/military lift capability.

(Note. That last comment assumes that MOD do not phone Cunard, and ask them for STUFT)

Financial Costings

These ten ships are all now steadily approaching, or in one case, be well beyond, their big Three-Zero Birthdays. That will happen by 2034/5.

As big ships get older, they become far more expensive to run and maintain.

That big Three-Zero birthday is one that Devonport Dockyard always celebrates big time = by sending the MOD accounts-payable department a huge bill for a wash-and-a-scrub-up (What NL calls a Extensive Mid-Life Refit).

Therefore leaving the key decisions too late, so keeping all ten ship’s in service longer, will cost us taxpayers more in the long run (Hint: see frigate replacement programme, the comments made by others just above)

That timeline ought to be the catalyst for a properly-managed replacement programme: i.e. what the national shipbuilding strategy said a few years ago should be a regular drumbeat of work. These ten new ships should all be fitted, easily, into the already-budgeted defence equipment programme.


It looks’ to me as if the undergraduate working on their first summer placement at BMT hasn’t bothered to check with the Bootneck’s as how they want to attack a hostile coastline

The RMC’s Future Commando Force is now very rapidly heading towards only using very small teams, inserted from well over the horizon, supported by drones. Thus even the small LCVP, the key payload proposed to be carried by this ELLIDA, is probably now going to be too large and also too slow for the RMC’s near-future requirements.

Amy Vehicles

As the FCF is moving away from being a brigade-level formation, towards dispersed operations, that that means they will become optimised for raiding and first-wave spearhead operations. (Note. Which, based on what is happening on the ground in Ukraine, I personally think is a very good idea by the RMC),

However, I would point out that during their very-successful exercise against the USMC during Green Dagger, the FCF worked so well because the RMC-FCF used both their all-new FCF concept working in combination with a much-heavier conventional force.

That means that then any sustained amphibious assault by the UK, in other words the second wave assault, will required the Army to be used as the follow -up force.

Lift Capabilities (Payloads)

Next has to be to asked the two obvious question’:

  • Which payloads?
  • Where in the world would Sir would like this payload delivered to?

BMT’s undergraduate seems not to appreciate that ,most vehicles in UK military’s service today are very different from those of thirty years ago. I.e. when all of these ten ship’s were first configured and designed.

For example, a snatch land-rover of thirty year ago weighted in about 2T max. A combat-loaded Jackal, sitting on the same-sized footprint on the ship’s deck, is up at 10T (and, as more protective amour is added, that is only going to get heavier….).

Any significant changes in vehicle size (payload) makes a big difference to all aspects of any ship’s design. The undergraduate will learn that in year 1.


  • the LCVP, carried by the Bay class, and proposed here for ELLIDA, is not only not right for the RMC/FCF.
  • It is also simply too small for the Army, as neither Ajax nor Boxer will fit in it.
  • The large LCU (i.e. on Albion) was sized for a Challenger. Do we need to land Challengers 3 over-the-beach?

Thus, neither of the existing two UK landing craft (LCVP or LCU) are now right for the future….

Therefore if landing craft are going to be carried by these ELLIDA ship’s what size do they need to be? . That key decision affects the whole design of any ship.


The world has changed since these ten OAP ships were brought into service. For the past three decades none of these ten ships has been seriously threatened.

However A2/AD Anti-Access/Area Denial weapons’, what used to be called Anti-Ship Missiles, are now commonplace. Even little Yemen has them.

(Note. I am not sure about whether Lebanon/Hezbollah have them yet = however I strongly suspect that we might that find out, quite-soon!

Accordingly, any Landing Ship Dock (LSD) which is flooded-down whilst sitting just off the hostile enemy’s coastline – at which point in time it cannot move – is not an LSD…. it looses the L = to become a simple SD (Sitting Duck).


All-in-all, the recent release of this ELLIDA concept design – pretty pictures complete with some micky-mouse USV’s racing out the stern – is yet another example of BMT trying to flog one of their old LSD designs to the MOD.

Sorry: I meant to say BMT are trying to flog the MOD / RN their SD = Sitting Duck.

Quite worryingly, the MOD keeps paying BMT for this sort of c**p design study. They never properly align with any properly thought-through set of naval and military requirements.

Never-the-less: expect BMT has been paid top dollar for it.

Both BMT and BAe try on this trick very-frequently. It is nothing more or less than a devious commercial ploy. It is designed to get their foot in with the RN early on in the programme = thus to shut out competitor’s who are in the big ship design business (As a good example, please see the comments I made above – for MCM back in 207/18).

Accordingly, it about time the RN called “time out” on this very-devious practice of BMT and BAe releasing their conceptual designs.

What the RN should be doing next is to write out their key naval requirements: especially defining the ship’s payload and range,

They should then ask others to design the ship. Thus the early-phase conceptual studies should be put out into the market-place by the MOD; so an innovative design competition can be run.

Peter The Irate Taxpayer


Last edited 2 months ago by Belisarius