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John Adams

Very interesting article, these bay boats are worth their wait in gold. Flexibility is the answer as regards these expensive units these days, let’s hope with the new design of warships coming on stream this proves likewise.


They are amazingly flexible ships, but almost by mistake, multiple design flaws have stopped them being even better. There is a real need for a Mk II Bay class, taking the core design and improving from build, rather than constantly retrofitting our remaining 3.

Jim Nicholson

As I have served on hms fearless and hms intrepid during the 1970s, when I look at the design of these rfa’s I can not help wondering why the royal navy did not use the tried and tested fearless class LPD design with uprated engines and armaments as the basis for new build warships to maintain and improve the royal navy’s amphibious capabilities would this have not been more cost effective


Jim aren’t the Albion and Bulwark the replacements for Fearless and Intrepid?


Yes they are


Yes, you have to remember that these are Royal Fleet Auxilary ships, and manned by a civilian crew.

Matthew East

Several reasons. Bay class v Fearless carries more vehicles, Bay class v Fearless requires only a faction of the crew and most importantly everything about them from the top to bottom was outdated and would have to be replaced, Which is a very tricky if not impossible task to do while keeping an old hull design that came from a time when the UK was only just learning about amphibious operations. Fearless class was great for its day but for its size still has limitations compared to the Bay.


What are the chances of a batch 2 paid dfid??


Can’t disagree with the vast majority of the article. The one thing i would say is having a large amphibious fleet that solely trains and operates in an amphibious capacity isn’t really acceptable in such a financially challenging and resource poor environment.

Times have changed a lot from the days of having 6 Sir and 2 Fearless class vessels which could be dedicated to practicing amphibious operations and had the clear cut role of reinforcing NATO’s northern flank if the Cold War ever turned hot.

It’s crucial to retain complex and hard won skills but we should also acknowledge that large-scale seaborne invasions are increasingly unlikely, with smaller scale raiding, evacuation of UK nationals, resource or infrastructure capture/denial being the more common tasks going forwards. The future for any LSD’s/LPD’s is to full-fill the kind of humanitarian or mother-ship roles the Bay’s currently are whilst practicing small-medium scale amphibious operations whenever possible.

In fact what’s to stop the Bay’s deployed in the West Indies or Gulf hosting small detachments of Royal Marines, vehicles, landing craft etc to drill core capabilities for short periods?

Anyway the Bay’s are fantastic and have paid for themselves in usefulness and flexibility several times over. Selling Largs Bay was the single most stupid and pointless decision of SDSR 2010 and i’d love to meet the fool who made the initial suggestion.

What the chance of buying her back from Australian now they have their Canberra’s!


What are the chances of HMAS Choules being sold back to the RN? Short answer, Zero!

The plan by the Government here in Oz was always to have three large amphibious ships in commission for the RAN (Project JP2048, with its various phases).

In effect the two Canberra class LHDs have replaced the two Kanimbla LPAs and Choules has now become the ‘permanent’ replacement for Tobruk. Originally the plan was to build a new a ‘Strategic Sealift Ship’ (JP2048 Phase 4C) as the Tobruk replacement.

And as we know Choules ‘fell into our lap’ (thank you UK Government!) for the bargain price of A$100m when the LPAs had to be retired early, but it wasn’t clear if the Government would keep Choules permanently after the two Canberra LHDs entered service.

But as of the recent Defence White Paper (2016 DWP), the Government confirmed that Choules would say in commission and be upgraded too.

Again, for the bargain price of A$100m Choules has ‘killed two birds with the one stone’, interim capability when the LPAs retired and now as the permanent replacement for Tobruk (without having to spend dollars on a new ship too).



While we are at it, we could do with a couple of Canberra’s too – but that’s a very different story!!

Matthew East

35° 18′ 27″ S, 149° 7′ 27.9″ E You can have that Canberra ;P No backs.


Fantasy fleet stuff perhaps but how does two batch 2 Bays with a hangar from the outset rather than the bolt on afterthought we have now


Very informative – thanks. For future fleet, given all assets are going to have to be more multi-role I do wonder if we should think again about a new single type to replace both Forts, Bays & Rovers. Another poster (Pacman) has regularly suggested Karel Doorman class. With their impressive aviation space they would also go a long way to filling the gap left by The Mighty O and I am increasingly of the opinion he has a very good point.

Rick O'Shea

In a number of areas the Bay ships are superior to the Karel Doorman ships.


Escorted migrants to safety? It used to be that the Royal Navy stopped invasions and not encouraged them.