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It is good work. But a fleet tanker should be elsewhere perhaps supporting the fleet?

We need something like this with a hangar for utility helicopters.
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stephen ball

That type of ship got replaced by the Point class.

In that area a tanker is better because Hurricane’s move.


Is that not the second RFA Sir Galahad? Scrapped after 19 years service.

If we’d have kept Largs Bay there would be enough LPD’s to send one to The West Indies every year for the hurricane season.

Instead we have a tanker which is far less suited for the role filling in due to the comparative abundance the RFA has of them – Wave Ruler is currently at reduced readiness after all.

stephen ball

But all the other ships the in area need refuelling. Be it US navy, or local patrol ships.



It would be lovely just to post a comment here without some numpty crayoning all over it.

the man still at the bog

look who is talking?

x — Trying sticking your head down the bog and giving it a flush. It might clear out the empty space behind your ears.


Dont be silly X is always worth reading, dont have to agree.


She was sold to the Brazilians.


Brazil sure does like Ex British vessels…that we consider funked.


Yes. The Brazilians decommissioned the old B1 T22 HMS Broadsword on the 10th of this month.


Shame we couldn’t get a 22 as a tourist atraction..we need more RN ships as attractions…


That type of ship was replaced by the Bay class.

I don’t understand the second line at all.

stephen ball

Round Table class

Bay class

1,150 linear metres of vehicles (up to 24 Challenger 2 tanks or 150 light trucks) Cargo capacity of 200 tons ammunition or 24 TEU containers

Point class

  • 2,650 linear metres of space for vehicles
  • 130 armoured vehicles and 60 trucks and ammunition or 8,000 tonnes of vehicles

And? What is your point?

I say we need a landing ship and you start spouting stats.


A smaller landing ship of the old BATRAL class……..
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HNLMS Pelikaan which also works in the Caribbean. The MoD(N) surely would be better chartering something for the season? As I said above a waste of an oiler.


Is it a waste though? Yeah it only has one chopper and limited stores, but wouldnt it just be sitting in UK port doing Jack if it wasn’t there? Atleast this gives the crew real life training op.


The MoD(N) surely would be better chartering something for the season?

Not full time. There is a lot to be said for the Windies being good training for escort crews with small targets in crowded seas. But this is mostly an issue of transport. The RE, REME, RLC, and RAMC would get more out of hurricane relief as training ashore.

Last edited 2 years ago by X
Rob Gazzard

With the BATRAL class about to be replaced with the Bâtiment multi-mission (B2M) may be there is scope to have a common hull based on the BMT VENARI 85 (for drone mine warfare) but with more functionality than our present OPVs? This could provide more capabilities?

Alternatively just build a Bay Class humanitarian/Role 3E Medical Care/ helicopter support ship?

Finally for a multifuctional ship may be an enhanced version of the
Karel Doorman which can provide RAS, helicopter support/hanger and be modified for Role 3 Medical Care?

Last edited 2 years ago by Rob Gazzard

Bays are much bigger. Something smaller is perhaps more flexible.


US Army has some suitable sized LCV. bow and stern ramps

Last edited 2 years ago by Duker

I wonder if the waves will get replaced eventually.

Also those yank LPDs have some sexy lines…I love those Things..

Last edited 2 years ago by Cam
Phillip Johnson

Locking up a fully equipped fleet tanker on such a role is actually a demonstration of the problem!
Too many politicians; not enough ships.
For the record we have 3 groups of politicians – elected, commissioned (senior military) and sworn (senior civil service).


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I wonder if the Uk’s proposed multi-role ships will be a little like that. But FFBNW helicopters, self-defence capability, landing craft and the crane*. After all, the purpose of a warship is to create shipbuilding jobs so all of this stuff that’s peripheral to that can be left off.

*In fairness they can be accompanied by a batch 2 River when doing missions when a crane is vital. Thankfully they were built with a crane rather than something useless like a helicopter hangar.

This post is being sarcastic. Probably…..



Ideally that is the sort of ship we need if we are too continue to support overseas territories, former colonies, and other nations in the area. Enough to carry a few earth movers and lorries etc. plus 4×4’s, ambulance, etc and other kit plus stores to small harbours and perhaps even beaching too.

Glass Half Full

Agree the LST 100, or perhaps the LST 120, might handle amphibious/MRSS, HADR, and MCM mothership roles. Might also be a Point-class replacement to get more flexibility and commonality in the fleet.

Alternatively, if instead the MRSS had a similar spec but went for stern landing with forward superstructure, then there would be an option for a variant deleting davits in favour of large rear deck area for expanded air ops and maybe a hanger.

As we plan for replacements of Albion-class, Bay-class, Argus and Point-class we should consider what would be viable assets as deterrents. Trying to land vehicles, stores and personnel through RORO ports in a hot war may not be viable and thus not a deterrent. Similarly relying on ship-to-shore connectors, however fast, means relatively slow off loading and extended vulnerability. Which brings us back round to having the option for beach landing.

Replacing all the classes listed with a single class would be 10 ships, just on a 1-for-1 basis, but the goal would be to design for low manufacture cost, operating costs and low manning to enable larger numbers for flexibility and redundancy. So perhaps 15 including 5 as more or less dedicated MCM/littoral ASW motherships. The size would be capable of manufacture in any of the dock yards usually discussed, including Appledore, so supporting the NSS ambitions.


The MoD will try to do it. But I just see a mix of very different ships all built for different roles. For example it would be better for the Points just to buy another COTS design; that is if HMG see us sending large formation abroad again and need for our own ships and not charters. The Bays as were or the Bays as the MoD(N) see them in the future? In the future all you need is a (faster) LPD. In the past? You need something with volume, simpler, and not as much dock space. Argus is one off. But if you wanted a single hull to combine ‘hopsital ship’ and flight training I wouldn’t look at a big fat dock ship anyway. I would look at something like………..
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Last edited 2 years ago by X
Glass Half Full

You’re probably right on the mix being implemented.

The Points are fine for peacetime logistics. The problem I have with them or a similar replacement in the changing political context is their constraints in the lead up to or during a hot war. Planning to use them to ship armour etc. into RORO ports in the Baltics, Poland or Northern Norway seems a bit optimistic. I suspect Russia would believe they have the means to counter them, thus they’re of limited deterrence.

I look at Albion- and Bay-class and most of Europe’s amphibious platforms as creatures of 1990’s and early 2000’s thinking. Namely that future peer conflict was very unlikely and that the primary roles would be for none peer interventions, including peace keeping/stabilization and HADR, perhaps reinforced by the Balkans and Sierra Leone experience. In that context the threat level would be lower and the time required to off load using landing craft or even mexeflote less of an issue.

However, the potential for a peer conflict is now considered to be much higher, due to the actions and postures of Russia and China over the last decade. Sophisticated long range weapons have and are continuing to advance. So we need credible deterrence for this threat, and in this context we need to recognise the potential for ship loss. Hence a greater number of lower cost, more flexible platforms with less concentration of vehicles, materials and personnel and the ability to bypass slow ship-to-shore with direct landing. This is why I wouldn’t go for a dock based ship again as it tends to drive larger, more expensive ships, in fewer numbers, and will still be constrained in offloading even with something like Caimen 90 fast landing craft.

Modifying Bays for MRSS seems to be a case of when all you have is lemons then you make lemonade. It allows the RN/RM to start developing and practicing concepts without having to wait on a new ship program and might even inform what that new ship should be capable of. It will be interesting to see what they come up with given the limited budget. It doesn’t seem like a dock is necessary for what they’re planning vs. davit or crane launched ORC, landing craft or other boats on a future platform.

Agree that Argus is a one off and any potential replacement shouldn’t overly influence/compromise a broader capability. I looked at supporting hospital/casualty evacuation facilities off the same design as MRSS because it might be achieved either using modular non-permanent solutions, installed on a vehicle deck in a general purpose ship or implemented as a dedicated built in solution. Again trying to have greater flexibility.

I hadn’t picked up on Hansando before, thanks for that. Seems like an Absalon type build would lend itself to that type of configuration.


Unsurprisingly all of the vessels named as deployed can permanently embark a helicopter in a hangar as a helicopter is one of the critical assets in the disaster relief mission.

This once again shows the rank stupidity of spending £630m on ocean going OPV’s which don’t have a hangar so can’t permanently deploy with a helicopter.

Parliament was told by government ministers that the batch 2 Rivers would relieve large surface units in anti-piracy, maritime interdiction, search and rescue and disaster relief missions. As this article shows, once you have to undertake one of these missions for real it needs a ship with proper aviation facilities to do it.

Why on earth didn’t we build 4 ships with hangars for the same money?

I’m perhaps being a little unfair on the batch 2 Rivers. When RFA Argus was deployed in the Caribbean, HMS Medway undertook the critical task of taking some lovely photos of her helicopters undertaking the actual mission. That’s got to be worth every penny of £630m.


I remember when that Argentine research vessel switched off AIS near the Falklands and Clyde went on a mad dash to find out the identity of the unknown vessel. It would have been an hour’s round trip in a helicopter. (I remember also how the RN brushed it off as nothing to worry about. So why the dash? )

The sort of platform that we should deploy to remote outposts…….

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“Why on earth didn’t we build 4 ships with hangars for the same money?”

Because doing so would have required a significant redesign (despite what people may believe) and would therefore have obviated the purpose of them.

Never forget, the first three RB2 were ordered under the shipbuilding ToBA with BAES because the T26 contract could not be agreed and without that contract there would have been no work for the steel trades on the Clyde. The need to feed those trades – at relatively short notice – drove the need to use whatever design BAES had access to almost immediately, which was the RB2. Even then, because it was based on the T&T Coastguard vessels, significant effort was needed to get it through Class and Naval Authority certification.

The “design” information needed was manufacturing data. This is several stages after people have played with CGI images – which means there was no time for any significant redesign.

Don’t like that? Tough. That’s the reality on the ground when MoD and BAES can’t agree an acceptable contract for T26. The alternative was BAES paying off its steel trades or MoD paying for them to paint the sheds, sweep the floors for a couple of years.

Fantasies about “off the shelf” design X,Y,Z are also irrelevant. Type 31 is nominally OTS – how long has it taken for Babcock to take that OTS design and get it to a place where they can cut steel? Three years or so? Not much less.

Last edited 2 years ago by N-a-B

Because doing so would have required a significant redesign (despite what people may believe) and would therefore have obviated the purpose of them.

Though obviously you are talking about the Rivers the general thrust was that despite the reasons why a BAE design had to be used the resultant ships aren’t good value at all. Too large for use at home. Not enough ‘features’ for use abroad.

Everybody knows that there is more to ‘redesigning’ a ship, even an established class, that meets the eye.

The whole MoD BAE love in costs us the tax payer.


Fassmer 80m OPV. Hangar and aft ramp for large RIB.
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Why couldn’t we build 4 of these without the missiles? Their design pre-dated the order for the additional Rivers.


…or 5 of these built under license as they are the same unit price as the River’s for much more capability


The fact is OTS is not a fantasy. Plenty of Navies do it by licensing a vanilla design rather than loads of bespoke changes. It’s taken Babcock three years on the T31 because of government dithering and haggling and because they’ve had to build the infrastructure (a large shed) to construct the ships in. That would not have been needed on the Cylde.

Last edited 2 years ago by Sunmack

No. It’s taken Babcock three years because the design they licenced from OMT required changes both to meet the requirement and to comply with Naval Authority (as opposed to Danish Navy) regs. Licensing also costs additional money, which neither BAES or MoD wanted to spend when it came to the RB2.

That means you have to conduct all the design certification and approval processes (including Class) – and then re-do the manufacturing information. There has been very little dithering or haggling since the contract was signed – as the public statements on Preliminary and Critical Design reviews show.

The shed at Rosyth is largely irrelevant at this point in time. The first steel cut and sub-unit build up will be going on in the existing shed. It’s only when you start to get decent size units and blocks that the new shed becomes relevant.


The Hollands are not a BAE design. That is why they wouldn’t have been considered.

Saying that I would have bought the Hollands (with the e-mast) instead of T31. A tad slow. And no ASW. But far better value. We could have had 6 of them.


They’re not a BAE design but could have been built under license in Glasgow if time was as pressing as the poster stated. They should have been considered as they are the same unit price as the B2 Rivers with a hell of a lot more capability.
I’d have been just as happy with the Khareef without the missiles which is a BAE design.
I’ve had enough rants tonight without getting onto the T31 about which I think we broadly agree.
And you described the Rivers to a tee; far too big and expensive for inshore work but hopelessly under-equipped for anything else.

Last edited 2 years ago by Sunmack

You wouldn’t have save time that is my point. Not a simple process taking on a design from elsewhere.

If memory serves the T31 budget would have allowed us to buy six Hollands with e-mast AND enough Wildcats for them (or even better something cheaper and smaller.)

What always amazed me about B1 Rivers with no flight deck. Yet they replaced the Castles which was specifically built because the Islands didn’t have aviation facilities and the helicopter was becoming very important at sea.

This is what we need at home. 1000 tons-ish. 25kts. Good sized flight deck. Davits in the optimum position. And designed by Rolls Royce. With perhaps a clutch of something smaller and something a bit bigger in support.

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Best add the licence fee – and be very careful about costing via Wiki.


Because the safety, accommodation and other standards that the Omanis specified were not the same as the Naval Authority requires for the UK. It’s not simple stuff.

Take accommodation. How much space is allocated per JR berth in Khareef? How does that compare to RN stds? Is the Escape and Evacuation provision sufficient? What magazine safety standards do the Omani’s require compared to the RN? What are the firefighting systems designed to allow in terms of recovery? What stability criteria (intact and damaged) is the ship designed to satisfy? What’s the heating capacity of the HVAC system (designed for use in GoO) compared to winter in the North Atlantic?

All this stuff knocks on to the design of each compartment and each system, which in turn knocks on to the equipment in each system. Is that equipment already in RN service? Is in codified in the spares and supply system?

There’s also the small question of cost. The Omani boats ended up having large chunks of their marine systems rebuilt – at a phenomenal cost – and ended up making a huge loss for BAES. Not a particularly attractive proposition for either MoD or BAES to take on for a minimum-cost gap filler to keep steel trades occupied.


Then accept the Omani standards. Even if they are less than the RN you end up with a far more capable ship than the B2 Rivers and bear in mind these are not high intensity combat vessels. And the A/C would be very useful for the Caribbean mission.

Even if some of the cost issues you mention meant we got four ships instead of five, four ships with a hangar are far more useful than five without.

All of the issues you mention are surmoutable and worth dealing with rather than spending £630 (parliamentary answer not wiki) on just about the most mission useless vessels ever to sail under the white ensign.


So you want the RN personnel on those ships to live in accommodation that is worse than the rest of the fleet? On extended deployments? Good luck with retention on that one. Or with lower safety standards? Again – good luck in court should there be an accident. “On what basis did you accept lower standards than the Naval Authority mandates Minister? What was the advice on your duty of care?” An answer that essentially says ” we chose to reduce standards because someone on the internet said it’d be alright” is not going to be a good place to be.

Wiki costing was a reference to the alleged costs for Holland / Khareef. Publically announced costs that you find on Wiki don’t tell you what’s in and what’s out – as the endless debate on Iver Huitfeldt should illustrate perfectly.

The issues may be surmountable – but only with redesign which adds time (which was not available for the RB2 procurement) and cost. Even then, you can get into trouble with a redesign as the ongoing issues with T26 for AUS/CAN and indeed the ABIII demonstrate.

Last edited 2 years ago by N-a-B

We don’t know if the safety and accommodation standards were different or not. If they are different they may be better. If they are worse then you assess the degree to which that is or isn’t acceptable taking into account the role of the vessel and whether it merits spending time and money resolving them. This wasn’t even looked at and it should have been as almost any alternative is better than the Batch 2 Rivers which are almost completely mission ineffective.


NAB would know. 🙂


He certainly seems well informed.

However, the outcome we have of £630m of next to mission useless ships is appalling. Heaven and earth should have been moved to establish that there was 100% beyond doubt no possible way of constructing four ships to an existing or slightly modified design with a hangar for the same money.

It is of course all crying over spilled milk. We now have the useless things.

I’d keep the youngest as Falkland Islands guard ship as that mission is usually within range of land based air assets. I’d sell the other four. Even if if we only got a third of what they cost that’s still £170m. That would pay for the cost of putting sonars on the T31 and maybe even doubling their SAM load out. There would also be savings in operating costs and personnel requirements.

I’d rather have five useful upgraded T31 than 10 useless b2 River/ current proposed design T31.


Time will tell. It’s probably fair to say that left to its own devices, the Navy would not have specified those ships. But context is everything – at the time, T26 was the objective and T31 did not exist (nor was it envisaged) as we were still planning on 13 T26. The only reason the RB2 came about was because MoD & BAES could not agree an acceptable contract for T26 and in fact, both played chicken for so long that it was probably a surprise to both when they ran out of time and had to push the ToBA/RB2 button.

BAES didn’t want anything more complicated, because they would have had to allocate lots more resource to design, build and commission it. MoD didn’t want anything more complicated because it would have cost more money – and potentially threaten the number of T26. In the event, neither got what they wanted, because HMT got the big stick out and told the MoD it would only get eight T26 and would have to live with 8 + 5 (and the five would be cost-capped). BAES didn’t get what they wanted because the whole T26 game of chicken convinced the MoD that T31 was going to AbB (Anyone but BAES), which ended the ToBA and turned Babcock into a shipbuilding competitor. But that was still some years away when the RB2 decision was taken.

That said, it depends what you do with them. They’re not there for warfighting in a conventional sense – their CONOPS appears to be all about presence. Showing the flag, conducting surveillance and pattern of life ops, MIOPS, counter-piracy, possibly providing a staging point for FCF ops. All at relatively low operating cost and sustainable over time. Lots of “interesting” stuff like that in the Med, the Caribbean, the IO and around Malacca.

No reason they can’t take a surveillance UAV like Camcopter in due course to help in that. Cheaper than embarking a Wildcat flight with all it’s spares, bodies (8-10 in a flight) and weapons.

The only downside is that we are potentially “paying” for them in manpower taken from MCMV, which may have some interesting effects in branch structure and viability downstream. Autonomous MCM is still to some extent a gamble.


Interesting discussion, thanks a lot.

I too thought that, say, three Al Khareed-based OPV-Hs (no SAM/SSM, no 3D radar, but with a hangar and flight deck, with three 30mm guns) almost equivalent to Holland or Floreal-classes, would have been better than five Amazonas-based OPVs (River B2).

Both design needed modification to make it an RN-OPV. T&T/Brazilian accommodation standard was needed to be improved to meet the RN requirement, which is “on paper” the same to improving Omani-navy accommodation standard to RNs. With significantly reduced armaments and sensor kits, 100-crew Al Khareef could be modified into a 50-60 crew OPV-H.

But, original Al Khareef has very short range, meaning there are more internal rearrangement = modification. Accommodation modification will also be much more in Al Khareef than in Anazonas. “A ship design with minimum modification with free access to BAE” will naturally be Amazonas OPV, I agree.

But, Al-Khareef-based OPV-H can easily be added with better sensors and armaments. Three such “Anglo-Floreal equivalent” would have been resulted in “3 OPV-H + 10 T26” solution, added with 4 OPVs and 6 T45s. I think this is better solution, but RN did not wanted to go that way, still hoping for “13 T26s” to come, I guess.

Anyway, it made me more clear that, five River B2s are there with reasons. Thanks.


River OPVs without a hangar is nothing wrong, I think. Looking world wide, there are so many 80-90m class OPVs without a hangar. Even without a flight deck.

Onboard helicopter is inefficient (need maintenance), costy (much complex than simple turbo-flop fixed wing aircrafts), and vulnerable to bad sea. Land-based air-cover, is always the first choice if available.

EEZ/fishery patrol in British water also do not need onboard helicopter. (River B1s)

Falkland island has a good land-based air-cover. Any guard ship assigned there do not need a helicopter hanger. (HMS Forth)

Most of the Mediterranean tasks also has a good air-cover. (HMS Trent)

Caribbean ocean must have been quipped with good land-based air-cover, but because of some political (?) reasons, it is not existing. Then, a patrol ship/patrol frigate with a helicopter hanger will be better (like Dutch Holland-class and French Floreal-class). (HMS Medwey). But, as OPV cannot efficiently cover the hurricane season, an Oiler sent there is not so bad.

Indo/Pacific, we do not know what kind of tasks the two OPVs are expected to cover. But, it is a very large region covering more than a half of the world, it has vast variety of tasks. As such, any assets can do some job there. But arguably, there will be better options than two River OPVs, suited to be located there. I understand RN is sending River B2 there because these two assets are the cheapest, easiest and “available” ocean-going ship in RN/RFA fleet.


Forgive my ignorance but why does she have an embarked Wildcat would a Merlin Mk3 not be a more suitable asset?

David MacDonald

I too was wondering about that. Perhaps there is a shortage of available Merlins.


No spare Merlins.


Last of the Mk 3s now in conversion to Mk 4. Mk 4 may be more suitable for lift and shift, less so for some of the other stuff the tasking requires (surface search, PoL recognition etc).

Much bigger support package for a Merlin as well. Hence Wildcat.


50% or so (18) of RN Merlin fleet is listed as ‘sustainment’
Which really means no money to run them


It’s about 10 of the HM2 fleet and probably 8 of the Junglie fleet.

It’s not just about money. It allows you to cycle aircraft through depth – and balance out airframe hours across the fleet.

Where it is about money is the ability (or not) to get the relevant spares to the front line squadrons.

mark smudger smith

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a Thunder Boat like the french navy has L9014