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I think the LSS would be very useful for the Royal Navy and Marines, though, as the article states, there is a risk the gov. sees them as adequate replacements for the Albions and cancels and further funding for such. They would do well in replacing some of the capability lost by Ocean and Argus too. Would love to hear anyone else’s thoughts.


I can see the merit in them, but in my eyes they’re not fit for purpose. We’re on about relatively large, unprotected warships deployed alone in trouble spots, with their only real protection being to “blend in” with merchant vessels? And it’s not like we have a huge fleet of helicopters available to permanently station on them either.

It’s a concept well suited to the low end warfare of the 2000s, not so much past 2030 when the Allies can’t guarantee total naval supremacy. Our littoral focus should be on fast landing craft and maybe even rapid armoured vehicles for the marines.


The US have a similar ship to LSS called MV Ocean Trader used by US Special Operations Command which deploys on its own, Full to the brim of SOF, Stealthy boats, Helicopters and drones.


Like the article says; 2 LHD’s would be ideal. Forget the LSS altogether as there won’t be enough money. I imagine they’re toying with the idea of merging 3 Commando Brigade with 16 Air Assault Brigade to form a Littoral Strike Division. But, as is typically the case, what they want to do and try to do won’t be what they can actually afford to do. Would be good though.


3 commando brigade as previously configured was the most effective and adaptable force the UK had. Why do we keep cutting and changing the best we have. Utter self destructive madness.


Sadly we keep cutting because there’s no votes in defence.


We either do it properly or not at all. I’m fed up with us making out we have full spectrum capabilities whilst the reality is most are just half baked.
If we are going to do amphibious landings, the we should sell the Albion’s and replace with 2 modest LPH’s. These should be augmented with a new fleet of multirole vessels which can act in the littoral strike role but have other uses when not in need. This should be a fleet of around 6, and replace the bays as they age out. These multirole vessels should have their own protection from a bank of seaceptor, and also include box launchers of Spear 3 and brimstone for precision standoff strike and a medium gun. Either that, or we build a second batch of T31 to accompany but kit them out with these capabilities.
But unless we realise the budget has to be increased to do this properly, the MOD should just scrap the capability and leave the government to deal with the fall out from our neighbours who would rely on us in such events. If each of the forces arms had just 2 to 3 billion extra a year, it would allow them all to round out their capabilities and do things properly. Its peanuts when considered against the NHS funding and almost yearly uplifts they get. And when you consider the trickle back in taxes from the boost to ship building and local defence firms that would benefit, it makes it a no brainer imo.


But unless we realise the budget has to be increased to do this properly, the MOD should just scrap the capability and leave the government to deal with the fall out from our neighbours who would rely on us in such events.”
This quote makes it look like you think the “MOD” has some independent decision making authority. The MOD and it’s head the SoS for defence is a part of the government. The government as a whole will decide on policy and methods of implementation. Then the MOD will get on with the day to day implementation. All the senior political and uniformed staff will support the policy or be fired.


Well yes, but no-one wants to pay any more in taxes to fund all this, do they?


Very true.
Politicians are generally good at working out what will and won’t win votes. Increases in tax to fund the military are though to be a net vote loser.

Matt Brown

You think that way till there’s a war !!!!


Just like 1930s and again in 1980s politicians don’t learn and slash defence. Then something happens and we regret it


Spending money in the north of England might be profitable to all.


In broad trems you are right. But i would say that should look at what we want to do and then fund it.
Marines are elite troops… We need to just ask ourselves just where are we going to go over contested beaches or even inland, either “littoraly” or inland. Parartoops and marines are valuable but surely with allies or against 3rd rate opposition.

One obvious ally is Norway. So our equipment should be based on that… but littoraly? Marines are trained in mountain warfare are they not… So do we require specialst littoral ships?

I’m not suggesting abolishing the Royal Marines, but seeing that are equipped and trained for their role.


I’m always skeptical about the “Marines are the UK’s mountain warfare expertes.” Alpini and Gebirgsjaeger are mountain warfare experts, they do it all the time, and have kit taylored to fighting in the mountaints. The Royals always strike me as a force that occasionally dabbles in mountains and can get away with calling itself “mountain warfare experts” because nobody else in the MoD touches that subject.


Really? MLTC must be a mirage then.


I’m not saying they don’t do mountains at all.
I’m saying calling them the UK’s mountain warfare troops is a bit disengenious when you compare them to other nations mountain warfare troops that actually do, and specialise in Mountain Warfare, on a continious basis.
For the Marines it’s like their second, or third hat.


<i>I’m not saying they don’t do mountains at all.</i>

You don’t say much at all really do you?

Are you the twerp who has been down voting my posts?


For the record: I actually upvote your comments when you say something that warrants an upvote, and I downvote them when you act like a petulant whiny child.
I notice you never complain about “lack of feedback” when you get upvotes. Sorry you can’t deal with saying unpopular things getting you downvotes. Deal with it.
Please by all means if you have something to say or an actual point about my opinion on the RM’s mountain training make it…. but you don’t actually seem to have anything to say besides throwing a hissy fit and throwing your toys out the pram.
Go have a bickie, cry it out about your downvotes in the corner, and come back when you can have an adult conversation.

Last edited 3 years ago by Dern

Mountains are not all Alpine. The other special area is jungle…


Been there, done that.
And yes I focused on the two most prominent actual mountain warfare units in Europe. I’m aware there are other mountains than the alps, doesn’t change the basic fact that the Marines are part time Mountain Warfare soldiers, and units like the Alpini actually specialise in it.


Have you ever seen this…
If the training has not been watered down since then I don’t think you have too much to worry about.


The training hasn’t been watered down.


‘The Royals always strike me as a force that occasionally dabble in mountains’
Hmm. It is a pretty poor show if that’s what you think. It also shows that you clearly haven’t carried out due diligence before posting on a Royal Navy centric forum. The Royal Marines are genuinely at ‘the’ forefront of military mountain operations, training, doctrine and capability. Capabilities that countries that have mountain troops because they either have large tracts of mountains in they’re own country or feel that it’s important enough to have a dedicated mountain capability. ?


Really? Then MLTC must be an illusion.


It will be a travesty if we lose any of our specialist forces; with the regard they are held around the world they should be our priority. Aside from SF, I’d fund marine and airborne ability above any medium or heavy vestiges of a ‘continental’ army. Sure if we have any budget left, build up a credible reinforcing force for our continental partners but not at the expense of what is both some of the best ‘day one of the war’ ability and the most flexible capability at all other times. Weighing up performance v cash (and the fact it’s a good looking piece of kit) I’d ask the Italians for another of the Trieste Class and compliment it with 3x Karel Doormans; selling off the Albion and Bay classes to make way. That would mean we could have littoral strike with organic CAP / ASW, not give much away in terms of total landing craft capacity, and have about equal linear metres of vehicle capacity. The bonus would be (op size dependant) not having to shoehorn one of the carriers in to the littorals for air cover.
At all other times, the LHD could fit in to a rotation with the carriers for a near-continuous at sea strike (conventional deterrence) presence. I genuinely think if we switched from ‘everything on a budget’ to ‘focused funding’ the U.K. could have a national ability to strike anywhere on Earth within 100km of the shore or estuarine region, temporarily rolling back enemy A2AD and replacing it with our own – think a global version of Israel’s regional ability.


*subject to finding c£2bil down the back of the sofa.


Disagree, I don’t see much ultility in the Parachute regiment (no more than any other UK Light Role Brigade).


A great article that hits the nail well and truly on the head with regard to amateur visionaries. The Albion and Bays are adequate for our needs and do not need selling off or scrapping for a new piece of kit in the immediate future. Where would the money come from?
However, we have lost Ocean and Argus is to go shortly so another merchant ship based conversion to provide more capacity and in particular helicopter lift would be a real help. The use of the carriers in this role is not realistic in any war fighting scenario.
As for merging or reducing the RM’s or Para’s only in the twisted world of the MOD could ever be considered. They are our principal source of SF recruits, the troops we commit first and are respected by friend and foe alike.
The facts are the U.K. has already lost the full spectrum of capabilities because our heavy land war fighting capability lacks the numbers to be credible so we should thinking how do we expand these forces with a reshaped and yes slightly smaller army in support.


We need to look at the procurement of medium wheeled vehicles for the army at £1bn. They seem over specified for peacekeeping duties and under protected for war fighting. I remember a quote from a US army captain in Iraq who said that when RPG’s start flying everyone gets behind an Abrams or a Bradley; no one gets behind an LAV.
Of course, that programme is likely to survive as it creates jobs and job creation is the first priority of politicians when it comes to allocating the defence budget.

Basil Barnes

Tracks have nothing to do with the armoured protection of a vehicle. The Boxer for example has better armoured protection than Warrior especially against IEDs, both wouldn’t have a chance against an MBT or ATGM without APS

Bloke no longer down the pub

If the RM operated vehicles such as Bae amphibious combat vehicle, it would open up many options for getting troops ashore.


“A central tenant of amphibious operations…” first para in Missions – tenant? Tenet, surely?


Ideally, HMS Albion and Bulwark would be replaced by LHDs with both helicopter and docking facilities but funds for new any vessels may be hard to find. 

Do you mean by this hangar space? Or just flight deck and refuelling?

The carriers with a flight of 6 Junglies and a clutch of Wildcat and a Close Combat Company would be more enough for most constabulary duties. More than enough space to home them in the carriers. That’s where we are heading.

There is no reason why an LPD can’t be configured with a large flight deck running the entire length of the ship (plus refuelling). But is there need for more hangar space? No.

A new fast ship to shore connector would make all the difference to the Corps. Something hi-tech. Something similar to but a stage on from the French EDA-R; a CB90 on steroids if you will. Something with speed and range that it perhaps could be based in a RFA manned LSD.

A class of three large fast ‘amphibs’ to trail around after the carriers was an obvious progression of the carrier concept. More so than ‘carrier strike’.


” But is there a need for more hangar space? No”

On this one point I disagree.

If we had a ship much like the Canberra class of LHD, it can host 6 NH90s or 4 CH47s on the deck, whilst holding 8 NH90s or 3 CH47s in the hangar. To maintain operational tempo, you have to rotate your available aircraft. This is because each one has its own calendar of scheduled maintenance and not forgetting faults. The maintenance cycle won’t end just because you are on a ship. Therefore, if one aircraft is in maintenance it is replaced on taskings with one that’s not. The QE class carrier obviously has a monstrous great hangar with great facilities and it will be within helicopter range of the LHD. However, if you are now having all your maintenance done on the carrier, you will have to split your engineers. Normally when deployed they are multi-hatted, so at some point they do the deck handling, daily maintenance checks, but also the depth maintenance. If you are going to split the maintenance, it means you will have to take a lot more people, as both ships will need to cover the deck handling etc. Therefore my take on this, for “Commando” ops, the ship you are working off, it would be preferable to have a hangar that your aircraft can use and/or be stored in.


Yes. But we don’t have that do we?

I would love the RN to be able to operate a QE class fleet carrier with a good sized air group and an ARG too. But we don’t have the hulls, air frames, or the manpower.

Hangars in large aviation ships take up a huge percentage of the hull volume. What about vehicles and other stores needed for support of the assault wave. That’s what dock ships are about. That’s why when the Albion design was cropped the first thing that went was the hangar. Helicopters are useful. But they don’t do everything. They are expensive and vulnerable.


One of the advantages of the Canberra’s/JC1 LHD as an amphib is its multi-role design. The hangar space is not fixed. The partition between the light vehicle bay & the hangar can open or close (they are both on the same deck). If you are operating in the light carrier or ASW carrier mode, you can more than double the size of the hangar. If you are prepared to leave any aircraft carried on the flight deck, you can utilise the hangar for more vehicles / cargo. If you are prepared to carry no aircraft & are prepared to carry vehicles on the flight deck, you can, provided you don’t exceed the lift capacity (the largest of which can handle a Chinook).

A hangar is never wasted space. Because it is a large empty enclosed space, you can repurpose it for a multitude of other things that is very dificult to do in other parts of the ship.


” But is there a need for more hangar space? No”

Actually, I agree here.

Having LHD/LPH is “good to have” regime. Splitting the engineer has more negative impact if you have independent LHD/LPH.

To do the same job, 300 engineers in one place (CVF) can sometimes do as many work as 400 engineers split by 200 CVF + 200 LHD. This is because CVF is a specialist air-base, has good crane, jigs, work shops and testing instruments. It carries full-set of engineers from mechanics to electronics, including top experts. Three average engineers cannot replace one expert in some cases. Actually, many cases. (Of course, vice versa is not true: one expert cannot replace 3 average engineers.)

If you have several exports, then having one in CVF and another in LHD works. But this simply means you need more engineers.

Last edited 3 years ago by donald_of_tokyo

Yes. But for me it is also simply a matter of space and volume.

Will O

Well maintenance wouldn’t be split across the board would it. I can’t envisage the QEs doing quite so much deep maintenance on chinooks or apaches for example.

An LHD like the Trieste could accommodate F35Bs, but surely any deeper maintenance of those would be weighted towards the Carriers.

Each would have a particular focus of expertise, even though they may share the capacity to accommodate like aircraft.

I can’t help but think LHDs along the lines of the Trieste would have so much more to offer than LSSs, I can’t see much advantage in the latter comparatively.


Cost will differ a lot between LHD and LSS. May be an LHD will cost an order of magnitude more than LSS (if based on merchant vessel)?

Last edited 3 years ago by donald_of_tokyo

I never really mentioned maintenance that was DaveyB.

My object to the RN acquiring a LHD (money aside because we can’t buy anything) is duplicating facilities at the cost of space for other things.

Christopher Dickinson

The Italian Trieste Class is what €1bn? And they have only built one? If a partnership in the UK were to build them under licence we might even be able to procure two for something like £1.5bn?

Despite being much larger ships than the Albion Class they don’t require much more in terms of crew compliment?


Trieste will take turn and turnabout as flagship of the Italian navy with the Cavour.
The broad plans are to replace the San Giorgio-class with at first two much larger LPD’s and then perhaps a third one.
This is the route we should have gone down.

Our carriers perhaps should have looked something like the USN’s Makin Island. (8+ FJ, 4/5 Crowsnest, 4/6 Wildcat, 6/8 Merlin, plus “extras’ such CH47, pingers, etc. as needed.)

As I said above a Close Combat Company (with small Tac HQ) in the QE. Three other companies of the commando in the dock ship. And the balance of the ‘battle group’ (arty, engineers, logistics) in a Bay class (or similar).


Italy are not going to move from Med. though are they.


comment image

Italian ship off the NE coast of Africa.

comment image

Italian warship in the Arabian / Persian Gulf.

Not going to move from the Med?


On a related note, perhaps someone with a knowledge of current RN trg can enlighten me:
If a Trieste was bought and kitted out the same as a QE (sensors, propulsion, mission kit, logs, etc), would trg for the crews of the carriers carry across in totality to operation of the LHD (one trained carrier crew could equal 2x trained LHD crews, for example)? Or would separate trg streams be reqd?


Why on earth would you buy a perfectly functional design and then completely redesign it to accommodate systems from a much larger ship with a different role?

Aside from anything else, she has a completely different propulsion philosophy and distributes at LV, whereas QEC is an 11kV system.


I didn’t know why on Earth, hence the question?

Regardless, if operating F-35B and HELOs there will be commonality.

In paraphrasing you’re actual reply, probably two trg streams required then so not even a nice manpower ‘hack’.


Question for the naval architects out there. Rather then sell the LPDs which are fine ships and buy 2 expensive Canberra/Mistral/Trieste and at the risk of conjuring up a Nimrod nightmare; is it feasible to cut and insert a mid section into Albion and Bulwark so as to give them sufficient flat top for 4-6 helicopter landing spots? If it can be done economically would the LPDs enlarged in this way be ‘good enough’.
Just asking,…



You change all the hydrostatics (very important for a dock ship) and all the structural loads. That’s before you get to the detail of remodelling the internal arrangement and systems.

They’re also twenty-year old ships, albeit used alternately.

Most importantly – there is no money. At all. And it’s going to get worse.


Ok, thx.


Ok, so thinking a bit more……if we can’t morph the Albion class into LHDs and bearing in mind they are fairly new, effective at what they do and assuming we still need that capability and we can’t afford to replace them with a more modern Canberra type design it looks like a good option is just to replace Argus with a like for like vessel – maybe 2; sort of Swiss Army knife flat tops with LHP as one of their roles to supplement the LPD’s when needed. RFA Argus has been excellent value for money. With what we have learned from Argus and with some creative use of containers for different roles this would be good enough, no?


Argus has been excellent VFM, but she’s rarely been tasked as any sort of LPH. She simply doesn’t have the space to carry and operate enough cabs, particularly since her last major PCRC upgrade. She was always meant to be an aviation training ship with a ferry subrole (Corporate experience), plus PCRC. That is a very different set of requirements to an LPH.

You can’t do LPH on the cheap. RFA Reliant proved that way back when – as did Ocean when they actually got hold of her and had to do the upgrades. Containerised capability looked great in the old SCADS brochures that British Aerospace (as was) used to put around. Less so when actually used for real.

Supportive Bloke

The experience with Argus in the Bosnian wars etc lead to the procurement of Ocean?

Argus is a great ship and needs replacing. But a replacement for Ocean she isn’t.


If we have the two LPDs let’s use them. Whilst the running costs are high, I would still use them as the core of the LRGs, combined with an RFA replacement for Argus.

Will O

Costs of keeping them in advanced readiness however is very low, & they’re rotated. There’d be little saving if any from scrapping them before time.

They’ll need replacing in about a decade, & it will take considerable time for complex ships like LHDs to be designed, built, crewed etc. in time to be ready. It’s sensible to give it some thought now.


Agree, and I cannot see any real need to waste money on new FLSS type ships when you’ve got two vessels already that are more than up to the job. Use them or lose them.

Simon m

The only problem is if we are serious about the northern flank your 2 LPDs cannot be forward based east of Suez etc.

The reasoning behind the LSS was to give the marines more relevance by allowing them to deploy closer to the fight in generally less sophisticated operations such as sierra Leone. However, if needed anywhere then they can be flown. This why they were never intended to replace the LPDs.


More money to keep them. This is the 1st claim we should tout.

But, if no money, then what?

I agree LPDs are in big risk. I’m afraid there are less and less chances for amphibious landing needing LPD in modern world. Why? 90% of amphibious operations are “un-contested”. Mali, Sierra Leone, Timor Leste, non of them were “contested”. What is needed was a combination of “helicopter assault and logistic support/logistic landing ops.”.

Falklands war was contested and LPDs were useful, but even the Gulf war was too risky to use LPDs (in that case, because of mines). Apparently, LPD operations are very nitche. The problem is, even so, its capability is very important, because it will FORCE enemy to spend huge resource in countering it.

I personally think, having a “good part-time jobs” or even “another major role” is critically important for LPD/LSDs in modern world. “An asset which can OPTIONALLY be used for amphibious landing –> the enemy need to prepare for it. But, in peacetime, they are busy doing other jobs too”. I think this is the way to save LPDs and LSDs.

I think using Bays and even LPDs for USV-based MCM system’s mother ship will be nice. Now there are 1 Bay and 4 MCMVs in the Gulf. What if it can be replaced with 1 Bay with 4-sets (say, 8 USVs) of drone-based-MCM systems. In this case, RN can try if the “hull part” of MHC project can be fullfilled by Bays (or alike). (no need to build MCH-hull replacement part = to save money).

Using Bays and LPDs to conduct littoral ASW with ASW-drones will also be a good case. In this case, these ASW-drone-kits will be “partly replacing Merlin HM2” (= to save money).

Using Bays for aviation training (Argus replacement), HADR (as they already do), patrol (plastic frigate role), will all be very important, as well.

So, in short, I can find many bright future for Bay LSDs, especially with “drone age” coming soon. I struggle with LPDs’ case, but surely it is doable.

#how about carrying four 30m x 7 m ASW drones, or eight 30m x 3.5m high-speed ASW drones, or dozens of Drix iXblue ASW drones ?

Last edited 3 years ago by donald_of_tokyo

I agree, and see the importance of the bays replacements being true multirole ships able to everything from amphibious landings to disaster relief to supply ship to LSS to drone mothership. Build a fleet of 6 to 8 and we have the ability to beef up certain types of operation as required at the time.



But I think “supply” is totally out of scope. A kind of “supply” RN needs for CVTF support is an order of magnitude “more” than those a Karel Doorman/Elida-type hybrid ship can provide. SSS is needed.

Also, as the money shortage is for “within 5-10 years”, I think building new vessels are not important now (or it will just kill a few T26 and all SSS).

Last edited 3 years ago by donald_of_tokyo
Will O

On that I agree. The Albions need replacing only in 10-15 years. Given the pace at which the UK does things, it will still take around a decade for LHDs to progress from concept to being in service.
It costs nothing within 5 years to aspire to eventually replace them with LHDs (as suggested in the article) as they eventually retire.
Lack of planning for their replacement could be costly however.

What the amphibious force can and should look like in 10-15 years time is something that should be given consideration now. Especially as the Albions are due for a refit.

It’s perhaps something more in the political arena, or should be, being as now, well ahead of time, it’s still a matter of future policy rather than immediate budgets.

Planning for future LHDs wouldn’t/shouldn’t place any burden on budgets within this parliament.
Voicing such aspiration would rather, at least, give assurance to the RM that their long term future is valued & planned for. It would also signal that the UK has enduring confidence in it’s future on the world stage.


When I say supply, I’m not suggesting the carriers and understand they need their own dedicated solid store ships. I meant more towards escorts and the like.


Still problematic as they have to be in different parts of the battlespace at the same time, a ship thats just replenished the escorts needs to turn back to take on stores for the next round of replenishments, if it’s doing that it can not continue on to the beach to drop off it’s troops.

Kev Blimey

With the other nations investing in amphibious craft. It would be prudent of the navy to follow this trend.

As long as the UK is capable of returning an amphibious assault. With some of the most respected fighting force in the world. To lose the knowledge of updated scenarios as an island, in my opinion, would certainly make our defences from an updated amphibious assault a damn sight weaker.

The Royal Marine commando brigade, has rich and rightly deserved heritage. From the Duke of Gloucester and his 1st of foot. As a former soldier, my infantry Battalion, the 2nd battalion Queens Regiment, could trace the lineage of their history back to the 2nd of foot. The rest of the regiment back to the 3rd of foot.

Through history, training our allied forces, not being trained by them!

The Duke of Gloucester proved how vitally important this fighting force was in the theatre of war.

Theirs is a skill set that just cannot be replaced, only overtaken by others if their absence comes to pass.


Let’s hope we can get two replacements in the near future. We need this capability and would lose one of our key defence capability’s that keep Britain a top world power. We should riot if we lose these ships, om maybe not riot but protest.

Gavin Gordon

Molinelli has made a heartfelt lament over this on UKAFC. Distilled down to a UK relevance, Gabriele makes a good case for the military and economic efficiency of just holding on to Albion and Bulwark as an integral fit with RM Future Commando.
From my perspective:- they exist and are the most capable of any such littoral concept in the immediate to medium term, if not well beyond; they are only two all said and done when, as pointed out here, the human race is a littoral species. Protect them with a carrier when required (which also exist, thank God) and fit them ultimately with fast beach assault craft. I’d hazard this would prove more complementary overall to evolving US doctrine (with the assault craft being cheaper to bring online, operate and maintain in capability terms, than a helicopter – especially when you only have a few exceptional examples of these which are in demand for a whole gamut of reasons).


All this fantasy fleetism is all well and good, but the reality is this :

  1. NCHQ has convinced itself that under the horizon landings are not feasible in an A2AD era.
  2. That means OTH operations, which means fast landing craft and lots of helicopters, which are both expensive.
  3. 3Cdo Bde exists in name only given the reduction and role change to 42Cdo.
  4. Percy Pongo is dying to get rid of 29 Cdo RA and 59 Cdo RE and probably 17P&M RLC so it can preserve what it sees as core units, so no help from that axis.
  5. NCHQ fancies the headcount freed up by RM contraction for matelots.
  6. New shipping required right when we’ll be needing new helicopters, AAW ships, MUFC etc.

But most importantly, there is no money, barring a sea change in political attitude and public finances. One may as well ask for a couple of battleships for sh1ts and giggles.


Unfortunately you are probably correct. I listened to the CDS Nick Carter being questioned by the House of Commons Defence select committee and he will be torn to pieces by Cummings as he fits perfectly the image of many Senior British military leaders of recent years. He will toe the line, protect his precious Cap badges and will undoubtedly not ensure what money is available is spent in the best way possible for UK defence.



3Cdo should be one of our crown jewels but has been withered away.

The Army does want shut of 29 and 59 yes. And they would have gone if the RN didn’t pay for them.

As you say no money.

Geoffrey Hicking

“All this fantasy fleetism is all well and good”

No, it’s debate. Something that happens alot in the armed forces (see the Wavell Room and Proceedings magazine). Well done for belittling people for having an opinion.

“NCHQ has convinced itself that under the horizon landings are not feasible in an A2AD era.”

I am perfectly willing to accept that amphibious warfare is no longer possible on the scale that it once was, but the U.S seem to be experimenting with ideas. Maybe we should wait and see what happens before dismissing large scale amphibious warfare completely. Perhaps WE can’t do it, but the U.S can.

Oh, and fantasy fleeters hate their country and are irredeemable- Save the Royal Navy does not and is not. I don’t see how this site could be fantasy fleet in any way.

That said, you are correct about there being no money, though large scale cuts may not be inevitable. YMMV.


Dry your eyes princess. The only one suggesting fantasy fleeters hate their country is you. It is however tedious to hear people endlessly constructing fantasy fleets with no acknowledgement of financial reality. It’s analogous to facing a force 8 gale, unzipping your fly and trying to pee.

Will O

There is no inherent reason for defence to be so underfunded. The reality is it’s a political choice, & one that has been made for the public not by the public. Underfunding of defence doesn’t serve the UK’s or public’s interests well at all.

If we all turned round and said, oh that’s ok then, if there’s no money we no longer need this or that capability, when it’s glaringly obvious we actually do, then it would be dishonest, & would also be letting those responsible for the chronic underfunding off the hook.

Top brass may have to bite their tongues in public, there’s absolutely no reason for others to do the same.


So write to your MP. Demand more money for defence. Suggest that the NHS heroes don’t get a pay rise. Demand tax rises to pay for it. Suggest NHS no longer free at point of use, or that overseas aid budget is cancelled and sent to defence.

But understand that listing kit you think we should have on a website, when we have to spend more on debt repayment than defence is futile.

Will O

Do you presume I haven’t already written to my MP? I have, perhaps around half a dozen times.

I don’t think I’d get much traction with those particular talking points somehow lol.

Do you really think funding for Defence & the NHS are mutually exclusive? Forgive me, but I doubt you actually do.

I tend to write when I want my MP to take specific actions rather than broad generalisations. For instance, I wrote complaining when the AShMs were planned to be gapped, & then in that context raised the wider issue of defence spending.
Maybe that too is merely peeing into the wind, but surely we should still do whatever we can, when we can.


I’ve posted these before, to illustrate the choices. Pre-Covid, HMG spend was ~£928BN pa, taxation revenue ~£873Bn per year. A deficit of £55Bn. That’s before all the C19 measures which have sent the deficit into the low hundreds of billion.

That means that HMG was already spending (even after the so-called austerity period) a sum equivalent to the entire defence budget more than it received in tax.

The budget breakdown below is illuminating. If you just take NHS, education, social care, social protection and debt repayment, that’s 72% of government spend right there. Is that total going to grow or fall? Do you see NHS spending, social care, education or social protection (which is largely pensions) dropping anytime soon?

The taxation revenue chart should illustrate that just closing the original deficit will be hard enough.


Taxation revenue

Will O

You have to factor in economic policy, the government is currently borrowing intentionally, at low interest rates, to stimulate the economy.
It’s not currently raising taxes, nor trying to reduce the debt. It’s not that it would be wrong to do that, it would just be completely the wrong time to do that.
The public were promised an end to austerity, & austerity damaged the economy, we can’t afford any more damage, we can’t afford any more austerity.

If the government intends to provide economic stimulus, & it clearly does, and it’s wise to do that, there perhaps hasn’t been greater need in 300 years, & shipbuilding is a good, proven, reliable, way of providing economic stimulus.


We never had austerity. That we are still running a £55Bn deficit demonstrates that amply. The idea that something we didn’t have damaged the economy is nonsensical.

HMG can only “borrow” at low interest rates while the market believes it will repay and try to balance the budget and is willing to lend. As soon as it doesn’t the interest on bonds will climb – as the Greeks and Italians found out recently.

Shipbuilding only works as a stimulus if you have capacity to build and if you’re able to afford extra crew (which isn’t a stimulus). Arguably the answer to both those questions is no.

Will O

We never had austerity? Tell it to the Marines. Osborne’s infamous austerity budget of 2010 & the 2010 SDSR did nothing to help crew ships. The RN has arguably never recovered fully from those cuts, & whether you think austerity didn’t exist or damage the economy, I think it would be hard to argue the 2010 cuts to personnel (along with the subsequent mangling of pensions) weren’t damaging to the RN.

I haven’t called for building ships that couldn’t be crewed.
I’ve merely suggested that LHDs, along the lines of the Trieste, replace the Albions by the mid 2030s.
The austerity sale of Ocean, without replacement has left the UK’s amphibious capability a little unbalanced surely?

I don’t think it all that unreasonable to wish for a balanced amphibious force by 2035.
A balanced budget by 2035 would also be nice too, oh well, you can’t have everything I suppose.

As for capacity, Harland & Wolff was facing closure only last year. I know it hasn’t built a warship in 50 years, but if given a decades notice I’m sure they’d more than be able to meet the order?
I’m sure if there was a will to do it it could be done. It would be somewhat shocking, given you’re unquestionably a genuinely knowledgeable person with regard to shipbuilding, if you’re really suggesting the UK has lost the industrial capacity even to replace the ships it already has?


The MoD budget got hit hard in 2010 precisely because it wasn’t ring-fenced at the time, whereas education NHS, pensions – and to a degree welfare were. If over 60% of your spending is protected and you have to make a significant level of savings to make ends meet, then the none-ringfenced budgets are going to get hammered which is what happened. MoD were hard hit, but so were the police for example. However, the country as a whole didn’t see austerity – or anything like it.

Your post read as if you were advocating building ships as an economic stimulus, rather than just replacing LPD with LHD. That will of course depend on Future Commando Force. If you’ve gone away from Cdo-level assault, then the logic for LHD is shaky. Back in the noughties, the LPH(RC) requirement was very much focused on LHD. Trouble was, you end up with a ship the size of a Wasp and still need an awful lot of other shipping for vehicles etc. You also tend to need Fast Landing craft which are do-able but expensive across all DLODS. If we had unlimited funds, then great, but we don’t.

H&W have not built a warship since Cherry B in the late 60s and haven’t built any sort of ship for nigh-on twenty years. A large chunk of their shipbuilding facilities were demolished in the noughties, so it’s debatable whether you can actually call them a shipyard at all. They currently have a staff of less than 100, the vast majority of whom haven’t built a ship either. You suggest giving them a decades notice – to do what? They’d need to recruit just shy of 1000 people, with experience, when those people are in demand everywhere. Plus put some serious investment into their facilities. Good luck to them, but I’ll not hold my breath.

Which is why FSS is a bit of an uncomfortable bulge in demand. In the 20s and 30s, you could see Govan doing T26 and then T4X, with Rosyth doing T31 and then FSS – inefficiently and expensively – and being just about ready for any amphib programme in the mid-30s. Leaves H&W, Lairds and Hebburn scrabbling for scraps.

All assuming there is any money of course….


Shipbuilding is a good way of providing long term economic stimulus. It is not very good at providing short term economic stimulus, which is what is needed right now (maximum UK employment / maximum UK industry involvment). You need to have infrastructure projects that are ready to roll tomorrow, not in two or three years time. That means the planning & design stage is already done or is easily done within a month or two. An example that could be done is replacements for Gibraltar patrol boats, provided you don’t start from scratch & instead go with an existing previously built design (design concepts won’t do). As they are smaller, there is scope for more focused stimulus (more yards available to build in).

Geoffrey Hicking

“Is there anything good that can be said about Fantasy Fleeters?”-Me.

“Questions to Which the Answer is No.”-Fruitman.

An exchange on the Thin Pinstriped Line Website. Fruitman is an expert like you. I have been trying to find a way round his words for years.

When you’re sitting alone in your kitchen wondering if you have a right to live, because you talked down your country by saying we didn’t have enough ships, you do start to get the feeling that if fantasy fleeters aren’t good in any way, then they can’t do good things like be patriotic.

Geoffrey Hicking

I shall rephrase it then. You may find it contemptible or amusing, but when a man feels he has nothing to offer his country, and is aware of the failure he was in cadets (almost blew my own head off with a badly handled L-98 due to my own cowardice and incompetence), then sometimes he reacts badly to the term “fantasy fleet”. Yeah, I’m a princess. A worthless little Sh t. Yeah. You’ll have your little laugh or moment of disgust or whatever.

I had some years thinking I could be of no use to my country whatsoever. You’ll find that funny or pathetic, but I almost don’t care. I remember those days and I never want to go back to that ever.

Now post a belitting comment and be done with it. You clearly have never faced being useless.


I think the only comment I’ll make is to suggest you get some help. Urgently.

Geoffrey Hicking

If someone says “If you become better informed then you stop being a fantasy fleeter and you don’t need to feel guilty anymore”, then that would be nice. That is all I’m asking for. I’m tired of everything being “the only person who thinks X is you and you’re still a fantasy fleeter”.

I am tired of the endless negativity. I’m tired of the guilting. If that makes me abnormal, then I hope I can find a forum that is more cheerful.


The problem is, how do we decide at what point we become fantasy fleeters? Saying we should have more of something when there is a clear operational requirement for it doesnt make you one. Saying we should have more of something when we could afford it if we wanted but choose not to does not make you a fantasy fleeter. Saying we should scrap something to build something else doesnt make you a fantasy fleeter, its suggesting a different way of doing things. I wish those that pipe up everytime it is mentioned we should build a few more escorts, or they should be armed to do the job they need to, would frankly do one. Its discussion, its ideas, its observing the struggles of our armed forces to meet their operational requirements and suggesting a way to improve the situation. Others may not agree and have other ideas but it doesnt make it fantasy.


Yeah sorry I’m with N-A-B and Geo here, get some help.


Well Geoffrey, your post reminds me of the old joke about world religions…working east to west.

Confucius……….s**t happens
Buddhism……….what is the sound of this s**t?
Hinduism………..this s**t has happened before
Islam……………..this s**t is the will of Allah
Judaism………….why does this s**t always happen to us?
Protestantism…..someone is to blame for this s**t
Catholicism……..this s**t is your own fault

Take is easy. To quote the Bard, ‘what’s done is done and cannot be undone.’ Forgive yourself and resolve to do better next time. And have a great day 🙂

Geoffrey Hicking

Thankyou. I mean that. The past few weeks haven’t been brilliant but things are improving. Have a good week yourself.


If you listen to General Nick Carter (CoS) question and answer session with the Select Committee, he was questioned about the scrapping of the Albion and Bulwark. His reply was quite succinct. He said we will always require littoral manoeuvre. He readily praised the RM and said their conversion to a more “Commando” roles was addressing today’s requirement. He also mentioned that we will still require a need for heavy lift. The inference from this is that the LPD requirement will remain.

There has been lots publicised by the implications made to amphibious tactics where countries have a strong A2AD. The USMC’s commandant has been publicly vocal on this subject. He is rearranging his force structure to something more in line with the Corps use during WW2, such as getting rid of his heavy armour (might live to regret that!). The thoughts they are having, is that their large LHDs and LPD etc will be vulnerable to shore defences. One of the ways they are investigating is using lots of smaller ocean going ships, which bear a striking resemblance to a more modern version of the Round Table class we had. By having lots of these ships the thought is the risk is spread out.

The USMC since the 80’s have developed their “over the horizon” strategy for use against defended beach heads. This led to the requirements for the V22 Osprey, LCAC and a high speed replacement for their assault amphibious vehicles (LVTP-7s). However these requirements are for what’s needed when you want to kick in the front door. We prefer doing the unopposed method by sneaking in through the open window, ala Falklands, where you form a beach head to your own choosing. Granted, taking a small highly defended atoll in the Western Pacific area, can’t be done with this method. But you would saturate their defences prior to any assault anyway.


I’m not convinced that the belief in point 1 is held privately as much as it is in public. There’s still plenty in the U.K. tasked with, conceptually at least, drilling holes in A2AD bubbles and not just lobbing in stuff from afar.
And I do always try to caveat any fantasy fleetism of my own with how much treasure must be traded for it, but sometimes venting how I’d do it is the only way to keep sane.
The other sliver of hope is that while we are properly, properly skint as a country, money at the geopolitical scale is a weird entity. An unprecedented situation is accompanying our unprecedented skintness and subsequently the current govt are doing things that are the antithesis of the recent values of their party. If the public at large gave a toss about Defence, and the Chancellor continued to not give a monkeys about what Standard & Poor or the other archaic companies are saying about their ratings, we could have a golden age of investment. Also, pigs might fly ?

Geoffrey Hicking

HIMARS lashed to the deck. All those years of feeling that I would be a fantasy fleeter for even thinking of something like that and it happens. Maybe the anti-fantasy fleeters aren’t right about everything after all.

Oh, please don’t call them asrenal ships. Such an awful name. Call them missile-battleships (land bombardment and possible good anti-surface ship capabilities). I don’t care if that is the incorrect term. It’s more interesting. Please don’t get offended that I said that.


If only the USMC weren’t about to give up most of their artillery and armour. Oh wait – they are. Trials are one thing, operational capability another.


The USMC ‘may’ be giving up tubed artillery but the plan is too increase the number of ‘rocket’ batteries. They have lost tanks but not the light wheeled ‘cavalry’.

Gavin Gordon

My understanding is that the USMC has relinquished most of their previous requirement for heavy armour because the combined US armed forces can call on a great deal of the same and deliver them overseas with adequate protection once the marines have battered down the door.
Thank heavens we have the same indepth ability. Oh wait – no we haven’t.


There is also the fact that depending on where you expect to be operating, heavy armour can be more a hindrance than a help. In many parts of Asia, Asia/Pacific & South America, heavy armour landed at undefended beaches would be going nowhere. Even in Japan, it is said that only 40% of bridges can take the weight of a standard heavy mbt.


Why didnt they put a hanger on the Albions? Was it a cunning plan so noone could get rid of Ocean?

Convert the Bays into full time aid ships and use the DFID budget to pay for 3 replacements for their original purpose with proper aviation facilities an eventually replace the LPDs with Juan Carlos / Mistral esque vessels.


There are literally thousands of hangers on the Albions. Every cable tray, vent trunk and pipe has a hanger.

Or did you mean hangar? Which had a significant impact on the LPD design which was a NAPNOC contract. A flightdeck and hangar for a couple of cabs is also difficult to justify doctrinally, more than that and you’ve designed an LHD.

The DFID budget is going nowhere near shipbuilding. Not going to happen.

Last edited 3 years ago by N-a-B

Most other LPDs in use by other Navys have a *hangar.


The ones that do are a relatively recent development. Every USN LSD/LPD up until San Antonio had (at best) a telescopic shelter for a single cab. That’s seventy years and a couple of dozen hulls. San Antonio is the first USN LPD to include an integral hangar and does so at the expense of 8000te displacement increase over Whidbey Island.

Supportive Bloke

That really made me laugh.

Might be worth reflecting that at the time the Albions were conceived there were supposed to be 2x Ocean.

Obviously G Brown Esquire didn’t want to fund Blair’s wars properly so it never happened.

Amazing really that Argus outserved Ocean even though Argus was STUFT.

Last edited 3 years ago by Supportive Bloke

Firstly, it was never intended that one of the QEs would act as an LPH. That was just bluster passed around in order to justify selling Ocean. The RN is fully aware of the dangers of operating a vessel the size of a QE in that role in littoral waters. So, whilst we have Albuon and Bulwark, we don’t have an LPH to support and kind of amphibious landing. The best option in todays world is the LHD, hence there are now so many of them, but we as usual are a bit behind the times ……


It’s been intended since SDSR10 and confirmed in SDSR15. Which is why the LPH(RC) requirement died a death in the late-noughties.

If you believe A2AD is a critical issue, you query the value of LPD – hence their continued questioning.


QE has “assault passageways” so Royal can move from his ‘barracks’ to the flight deck with ease. Something you couldn’t do in the Invincibles which also had a secondary role as LPH’s. One of the design features. Moving around Invincible with a bag pack (luggage) was fun, not.

The reason why the LHx is a type of ship is so the ship can ‘hide’ over the horizon and use helicopters for an initial assault. If you enemy can push you that far offshore then they would easily deal with 12 or so flappy so helicopters coming in. Against a (near) peer the assaulting force would have to achieve a degree of sea control and air superiority over the AOA. This will hopefully at some distance from the enemy’s centre somewhere on the flanks. The RN will probably only undertake such an operation with the USN and with USMC personnel aboard. Our carriers in the LPH role will be as safe as any USN amphib in that scenario. Warships have to go into harm’s way; sort of the reason why they are built.


This is a very good watch on LPDs.

David Broome

Forget European designs and buy the rights to the Dokdo class of Korea. The MoD needs to make the case for defence capital spending as economic stimulus. Given growing unemployment does HM Government seriously want to add to it by cutting?

Chris Dickinson

Right you are.

One of the biggest issues of using fiscal stimulus?

Actually having something to spend the money on.

Bonds right now are in some cases actually negative, which means the government is being paid to borrow.

Unemployment is due to rise and the RN are actually having to train ratings at BRNC due to Raleigh being full.

By increasing capabilities you’re not just creating a few new jobs in shipyards, but offering a generation of young people a chance at a career.

The general consensus from within the Conservative Party right now is not that the Armed Forces should be cut, in fact they have committed to annual increases, but how the funds should be spent and have the MOD mismanaged equipment spending.

There aren’t going to be any quick solutions to the problems that the RN faces, the best that we can hope for is that the marked change in doctrine in comparison to 2010 also extends to the navy and our global ambitions.


Was not aware of that class; another good looking ship though and already equipped with my favourite long range radar! Half the size of the Trieste though. Any idea of unit cost?


To my mind on the amphibious landing issue, we have to have some form of capability, end of. How great a capability will be decided by foreign policy and budget, and the two are inextricably linked. Therefore, if HMG decide we have a supposed full landing capability and not some minor bit part offering to our allies, then it has to be funded, and with this funding matched to the actual requirements of modern warfare. Military experts decide this, not Dominic or any politician.
My ignorant stab at a best guess would be that what ever ships are used, there are now a myriad of other considerations to even give it a chance of working against peer or near peer adversaries. Any ships, be it a couple of larger vessels focussed on one point, or a new concept of multiple smaller, faster ones attacking at several weak points along a coastline, will need to be backed up with a range of air assets, and multiple types of ordinance.
For a while now I have noted how most other nations have included medium calibre guns on their LPDs and the like. Modern landings will require large scale shore and inland firepower. We do not want to be risking high cost assets like the T26 just sat off the coast with ASMs aimed at them. This is a role for the T31 imo. We have asw and aaw ships, but nothing dedicated to land attack. The T31 should have a larger calibre main gun and vls for a large number of Spear 3 for precision attack further inland. Packs could be launched to hunt anti air platforms, tanks artillery etc. We currently just dont have this capability. I believe any new classes of amphibious ships should be armed too in order to bring wieght of fire into shore.
We then surely need to address air power. Sure we may have a carrier nearby, but what if the area is too heavily contested to allow meaningful sortie time for the F35’s? Should we be risking pilots lives and our most expensive jets at the beginning of a landing? I would say any landing should be supported by large numbers of cheaper drones, and whilst the carrier will be able launch a number, would this be enough to guarantee success? So I would say that this then brings us to the importance of secondary flat decks and the need for LPHs that can augment numbers. Drones would be needed for surveillance and targeting, dogfighting, bombing and electronic warfare, so multiple types may be needed.
Having these capabilities as part of the task force is the only way to give confidence of success, and we haven’t even started on the landing process. We need new high speed landing craft, attack copters, medium and heavy lift rotors, even drones lifting equipment in.
It’s all starting to look very expensive, and we have to ask, is it worth it? I’m not decided fully, but imo this is the sort of set up needed if we say yes and HMG will have to dig deep in their pockets to fund it. Any half arsed attempt will surely fail and not be worth it, with funds better spent elsewhere.
On balance I’m leaning more towards the concept of us not being able to undertake full blown landings on our own. Build a fleet of 6-8 armed multirole ships with large flight decks and hangers, a well deck and ability to launch a range of drone types for this, but that can be reroled for other things most of time as per my comment above. These would be supported by full fat T31s and used either against lower capability opponents on our own, or alongside a multinational task group against a peer enemy. Now rip me apart lol.

4th watch

This is more craziness. Leave the LSD’s until their out of service dates. There is no money to replace them, so why cut off our nose to spite our face?
One thing is for sure if we try to make a forced landing against say Russia in Norway or the Baltics we are going to have a rough time. However, we might find it useful to build up our troops BEFORE a war actually starts. On the other hand if we scrap the Albions as is the MOD’s plan, we wont be able to do even that. End of discussion.


Craziness? I didn’t say pay off the LSDs before their time. It would take 10 years to design, build and work up operational doctrine anyway, which would take us up to around their OSD.
My point is we either keep what we have for the time being, but understand it cant really be effective in highly contested scenarios and is potentially a waste of money, or we scrap the capability entirely and spend the money elsewhere. Neither option is acceptable to my mind, so we go for a new concept somewhere in the middle which is the LSS concept but with greater numbers of vessels and with better rounded capabilities than what is proposed currently. The Albion’s would be sold in this scenario but the LSDs kept for the mid term and replaced by the new LSS platforms as they come on line.


There have been some good articles on this site that point the way to the future, plus the RUSI paper quoted, the “RM unofficial think tank” that is and of course from a few years ago:

3 CDO as a manoeuvre brigade is already pretty much done as noted in these comments. Give back the Army CS / CSS units so they can support a deplorable brigade, that is fine. 40 and 45 CDO can support them as Littoral Strike, or if you like a combination of deep recce, raiding and force protection from the sea. As the RUSI paper points out the real idea is to protect a friendly port and four Point class to get an Army brigade with some serious combat power ashore where we need it (yes the state of Army equipment programs and strategies makes this debatable – but that’s for the Wavell Room).

While the RUSI paper suggests keeping the LPD’s as part of an ARG to back up and reinforce the Littoral Strike Group, I would suggest that based on the articles on this site it could be done cheaper – meaning it could be done.

1. Go with the Prevail Partners MRV wet lease proposal for the forward deployed Littoral Strike Ship.
2. Sell the LPD’s while you can get a good (?) price for them
3. Replace LPD’s with BMT Ellida variant – bigger well deck than Bays plus hanger. Sell this as post-COVID / post Brexit investment in UK industry …… Ellida has much smaller crew than an LPD but could be either HMS or RFA
4. Eventually (?) replace Bays 1 for 1 with Ellida variant – 1 of which is going to be PCRS – again not the most expensive vessels to build but it requires a HMG that wants to invest in UK industry rather than stick to some bizarre austerity mantra

Now, where it gets really interesting is if you can get a HMG where MOD and Treasury are convinced that defence spending within the country is a good investment, because then:

5. Buy an extra (6th) River BII
6. Buy an extra (6th) T31
7. Buy a bunch of CB90 built under license in small UK yards

Enhance your forward deployed LSS, (1 in Gulf, 1 “North” ) by forward basing a T31 and a River BII with them: both classes can carry an embarked Marines force, both can be armed appropriately if we wish.

So no, we are no longer storming any enemy held beaches ( but we didn’t even do that in the assault on the Al Faw peninsula), but we could have 2 strong forward based / deployed littoral forces, able to deal with none state actors, near peer threats and even Russian “grey zone” activities. They could be reinforced by an Ellida or 2 with more Commando’s, boats and helo’s , USV’s and UAS, all providing screening and force protection for an Army Strike Brigade delivered by Point class ro-or.

All this could be paid for by creatively investing in UK industry as part of post COVID recovery strategy, surely even Boris can see the potential votes in creating jobs ? It would probably be a far more worth while and useful capability for conventional deterrence than the CASD is for MAD, but I realize I won’t win any friends here by suggesting we could also pay for this and more by scrapping the deterrent force.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jed

There are a number of thoughts that support both your’s and TS’s view above. We cannot use a T26 as our primary means for NGFS, its ASW role is far too important. This is the role a general purpose frigate should be doing. However, the T31’s current fit with the piddly 57mm gun is useless for this role except in harassment, you need something with punch. Both the 4.5″ and 5″ can provide this and to some extent so can the Otto 76mm. But as the T31 will be sold as seen, you can only added to the existing armament rather than replace.

There are a number of options already available, that could be easily achieved for either the Bay or Albion class, which is to add a containerised missile module that has been designed by MBDA. They have shown two prototypes systems contained in a standard length iso container, one with Brimestone the other Spear 3. Another option for these vessels would be strapping down a Himars/MRLS system to the deck. Any of the missile solutions would provide pin point support to troops ashore or clearing a path prior to an assault. However, compared to using a guided HE shell from a 5″ they will be quite expensive and not available in the same quantities.

For the T31 (the Navy have some updated drawings on their site which is also shown on the Babcock site, by the way!), you have an available mission bay, but can’t mount one of these MBDA containers. The containers have hatches in the roof where the missile are elevated and fired through. However, what’s to say the hatch can’t be put on the side of the container and then the missiles fire from the side, out of the mission/ boat bay (minus the boat obviously!)? The Navy will also be getting the Sea Venom for their Wildcats. The Sea Venom is more than capable at being used against land targets as well as sea. MBDA have shown these configured for coastal defence in a four round launcher. Again, these cannisters could be mounted on to the ship near the Sea-Ceptor farm. But again would this provide enough support, even though it will be very accurate?

Personally, I think this kind of containerised solution is skating round the problem, it does give the Navy an option of quickly up-arming the ship for a NGFS role. But that doesn’t get around the fact, as a general purpose frigate the T31 should come with at least a 4.5″ but preferably a 5″ gun instead of the 57mm. By all mean keep the 57, but use it instead of the 40 for CIWS and against other close in targets.


Jed you are falling into the trap of scrapping assets we have now that we have paid for that have at least another 13 years in them for the promise of some new kit. It does not work like that in the MoD, it never has and never will.

The reduction in 3CDO is minimal and could be reversed with the loss of one Army infantry battalion. In my opinion and sadly the Army as a large scale force is finished as they have just not reshaped themselves or evolved their force structure. Given the number of MBTs we might get after their upgrade (will this actually happen)we are going to end up with only a couple of deployable and most importantly credible brigades anyway.

We should be considering modesty strengthen both the RM and the Paras paid for by further reductions in the rest of the Army. What remains should be reshaped in the manner you suggested.

You are correct the ideas for how the RM’s role is going to evolve as outlined by RUSI and others are the way forward but do not de facto mean reduction in their numbers. Indeed given theirs and our airborne forces quality they are a great conventional deterrent against non state actors or others. Russia is unlikely to invade Central Europe but incursions in the artic by them and other similar non friendly nations are on the horizon. This is where we can make a make a real difference with our carriers, amphibious and air mobile forces.

Anyway always good to discuss these things


Oh I get your point, actually fiscally this would be a plus but as noted it would require HMG to invest in COVID relief, just as the French Govt have publicly stated they will use defence spending to assist French industry. You also show “savings” in running costs and manning. However, I completely understand your point.



Ref “Indeed given theirs and our airborne forces quality they are a great conventional deterrent against non state actors or others. Russia is unlikely to invade Central Europe but incursions in the artic by them and other similar non friendly nations are on the horizon” –

While I agree that the both RM and Para have a future in actually combating Russian Grey Zone efforts, I dont think that is in the form of “barely a brigade” formations with whittled down CS / CSS (8 x 105mm guns???). Both RM and Para have a future in the “Special Operations” world, tier 2 SF below and supporting SBS and SAS. See the latest RUSI paper on how Russians actually accept casualties and operational failures without literally escalating to “going nuclear”.

This means you could see forward based Commando’s foiling some “little green men” in some dodgy grey zone endeavor, potentially killing / capturing some them, without UK going to war with Russia. I feel this is a very useful capability to have; more than the existing 3CDO and 16 Air Assault bring as “formed” lightweight brigades.


Jed my point was not that they are necessarily reinstated as functioning brigades but that the changes proposed should not be used a smoke screen for cutting the numbers of the best personnel we have to make up a shortfall elsewhere, which is precisely what has been going on and will continue unless challenged.

Personally, I would be going in the opposite direction and to be blunt I would reduce the number of Infantry battalions to pay for it.

We then have the ability to utilise them as lightweight brigades but also in new roles as challenges in the high north for example present themselves. Ironically of course these new roles are in some way a return to the more special forces roles of WW2.


I agree, and for all those who criticize Army plans for Strike for mixing wheels and tracks, and wasting billions over the years, this particular lack of strategy proves the RN is as bad.

Take your high value, open ocean ASW specialist warship and stick 127mm gun on it, that with Vulcano or similar ammo might be able to hit the coast from 100nm out (on a good day with right meteo) – well within the range of shore based ASM’s, air power, oh and even potentially long range shore based artillery firing the same types of rounds. Well I am sure the T26 could defend itself while undertaking this role, but the main point is, why ? Why pull it away from ASW tasking for an NGS serial ?

If your going to purchase “GP” frigates for “cheap” peacetime maritime security and policing, at least give them a serious “war time” role by giving them the big gun. Also give them 48 cells for Sea Ceptor / VL Spear3 – you don’t have to fill them for peace time role, but at least give them the capability. If your going to deploy / “forward base” 2 out of 5 (or 6 in my fantasy world) also give them 8 to 16 dual role land attack / ASM (100nm range of the Gungnir, NSM would do just fine).

Sea Venom is too short legged for a ship the size of T31, but cannister launchers on River? Or those 6 round Brimstone pods shown for Boxer armoured vehicles, would provide a very handy anti-small boat swarm capability from a system already developed and in the inventory.



I understand tasking T31 with NGFS while keeping T26 as ASW specialist has its own rationale. However, current scope ALSO has good rationale, I think.

If a T26 is “at risk” doing NGFS near shore (by ASM or land-based artility), a T31 is much more in danger, because its self defense capability is much less than that of T26. Sending T31 “to be sunk in due course”, is not an option.

T26 with VLS (probably with land-attack missile) and a 5inch gun, supported by a few USVs from their mission bay, can be a good asset near shore. Well balanced, has many options depending on the level of the enemy. If enemy has SSK, T26’s superb ASW capability is also important. Again, sending a T31 to a shore with SSK threat, “to be sunk”, is not an option.

> If your going to purchase “GP” frigates for “cheap” peacetime maritime security and policing, at least give them a serious “war time” role…

I totally agree here, and I do think “T31 as it is” do already have them.

1: In ALL cases of war, RN needs logistic fleet. Putting 1 or 2 T31 to escort the logistic line looks like “a serious war time role”

2: In ALL cases of war, RN need something around the Britain island. A T31 matches very well here. Keeping another T26 for “FRE” types of work around Britain is not an efficient way, I think. Another “serious war time role”.

3: Steaming along the CV itself, to provide the last layer of defense (other than CV’s own CIWS) also looks like “a serious war time role”.

If it is ONLY 5 T31, in any war time, only 2 or 3 will be active. As listed above, the T31 as currently designed has at least “2 or 3” serious war time roles. No problem, I think.


The 57mm is much more expensive than the 40mm & a lot heavier. I would suggest get rid of the 57mm’s & put the money into more CAMM & some NSM. A 127mm in A position (skip the expensive auto-loader), 2 x 40mm, 36 CAMM (3 x ExLS), 8 NSM, hull sonar & NS200 radar would be a reasonable GP frigate. Add some more missiles (CAMM-ER) & a towed array at a later date.


Agree, the first batch of T26 has the 5″ now and cant be changed. The follow on order for the remaining 5 could be. Move these to a second batch of 5 T31 and install 57mm or 76mm on them instead.
With T26 primarily for asw work, and astutes low on numbers and heavily in demand elsewhere, we lack a platform that can bring a wieght of firepower over the shoreline. Even with a 5″ it’s not enough, and I would like to see box launchers and vls on top of all vessels involved in amphibious work. Then you strap the containerised stuff to Any available space possible for the really high intensity stuff In a major conflict. Some might say this is too much and too expensive, but is essential imo to guarantee success and provide the firepower necessary in this day and age with what might come back at you.


Didn’t we make this mistake in the 80’s ??? Remember the Falklands Intrepid and Fearless We only just scrapped through that,Aircraft carriers are Not LPD, they tend to be needed for combat air patrols ?and are to valuable to risk close in for landings HMS Hermes and Invincible at the time were known though out the fleet as the “South African Guard ship” as they had to be so far out at sea in the South Atlantic We Don’t Risk Aircraft Carriers. Let’s start letting the people that know make the decisions not the penny pinchers, We are going it on our own now with Brexit, and We can’t rely on the US as much as we have in the past “America First” means just that, So let’s start standing on our own two feet, as we haven’t done for so long.

Peter S.

The Rusi scenarios exemplify what is wrong with UK military analysts. Not one of them is a vital UK interest and barely an interest at all. Why should the UK defence budget fund a capacity to defend islands in the Baltic that belong to a non member of Nato? Why do we think we need to get involved in the mess that is Yemen? If these are the best justifications Rusi can give for retention of amphibious assault capability,there really is no justification at all. The upcoming review must focus on what UK absolutely needs for its own defence: dominant air defence( aircraft and ground based), the ability to defeat naval threats (submarine and surface) in the north east Atlantic,long range precision strike and flexible rapidly expandable ground forces. So the marines revert to the raiding role played in ww2 and mass beach assault capacity is scrapped. Money saved can be spent on more anti submarine frigates and helicopters and fully arming other surface ships. An increase in submarine numbers would be ideal both for improved anti submarine warfare and for enhancing our ability to destroy hostile surface vessels.


If we’re falling back to Fortress Britannia, why would we need to invest in long range precision strike? Amphibious assault could be argued to be a form of this.


That is a healthy and realistic viewpoint Peter, but one HMG does not seem to agree with, with their constant rhetoric of “Global Britain” because they cannot be seen to acknowledge that Brexit could be a economic (if not political) mistake, forcing us to withdraw to a “Belgium with nukes” defence posture. If you ask anyone in Parliament they will state that UK’s interests are global, and so the retain this fantasy desire to use the military where ever it is considered to be needed. Defending north Atlantic SLOC’s is “so 1980’s”. The RUSI paper just reflects a study based on the way HMG likes to meddle in the worlds affairs, and yet not really pay for the capabilities to do so.


Defending SLOCs might be ‘so 1980s’ but it has never been more relevant, and will never stop being. If you think the country is skint now, wait and see what we’d be like with shipping ‘at risk’; not to mention how hungry we’d be.

Peter S.

I was not suggesting that cutting amphibious capability is desirable, rather that with money tight(and becoming tighter), the focus must be on what is necessary for the defence of the UK. Retaining a capacity mainly for the benefit of others (the Rusi examples) should not stand in the way of properly equipping ground, sea and air forces. The point on politicians desire to meddle is well made: suggestions that an early role for the QE might be to irritate the Chinese in their backyard make me wonder whether we really need the carriers either. Global Britain,if it means anything, is about trade and investment not military interventions. And if we use naval assets for the benefit of our remaining overseas territories (including fishery disputes in the Channel Islands)make those territories contribute to the cost.


‘Global Germany’ and ‘Global Japan’ rely on the USN to keep the seas open.

I don’t see what the EU has to do with our maritime security.


Exactly. European security is via Nato , not the ( heaven forbid) EU. Im sure the french would like it that way, just as they have nearly everything in the EU ‘their way’. And when the rules dont match their requirements they just break them, as this story tells from last year ( before all the financial rule books were thrown out the window)

Geoffrey Hicking

Sadly I don’t think an increase in ship numbers in any way is on the cards. The money is that lacking unfortunately.

We may mange to get more out of existing platforms (and we are improving on that greatly), but I am wary of ship number changes.

Some ship numbers will have to increase eventually, but that may be drone escorts (USVs?) instead. We may be 20 years from that at the moment, which is a tad frustrating.

I like what you say though.


The RM has never ever been about mass beach assaults. It is all about manoeuvre warfare.

I agree about ‘strike’ but what stops us doing that independently is we rely on the US for long range and satellite reconnaissance. Even the Germans and Turks have their own ‘spy satellites’. We might have one of the world’s most credible intelligence services in MI6, but at times, especially when you are about to lob several hundred pounds of HE, you need images.


The “Mess that is Yemen” is most certainly important. Yemen can easily control the Bab el Mandeb narrows through which all shipping must pass through to enter and exit the Red Sea. Mine it, and you can close the Suez Canal. I worked in Yemen for 5 years [leaving in 2008]. One can drive right down to the coast and look straight out onto the narrows. As the Houthi rebels are supported by Iran, handy spot to place a mobile missile battery.

David Graham.


Test Firing HIMARS, on Flat Tops in US ports has proved to be costly recently. Just Sayin. Is the Fire out yet ?

Will O

Was that really the cause???


Nope, but then again, Who knows with all that’s going on in the World.


A very interesting assessment of USMC and our amphibious capabilities and breakdown of what is needed to be successful

Simon m

Until we can afford 2 LHDs the 2 LPDs need to be retained.
Our lpds are vulnerable as are the American ships still equipped with traditional LCUs & AAV. But how else can we get heavy equipment efficiently a shore. Like the land domain the littoral/naval domain has been ignored over the last 20yrs.

What IMO we need to be doing is mitigating the risks.

For starters the Albion class was supposed to be fitted with seawolf, they more than the carriers need CAMM fitting, as well as phalanx plus 30mm & LMM.
New landing craft with greater speed such as BMT caiman 90, need to be purchased. These will allow proper over the horizon missions.

If we deploy a T45 alongside (hopefully with increased missile load) and Crowsnest above this should give good protection.

We also need to introduce something like the CB90 in reasonable numbers and hopefully some with NEMO mortar. This would allow hunter/killer operations against shore launched missile batteries etc. Until LPD days 1 carrier is needed to dedicate at least 50% capacity to the littoral maneuver role in order to allow Apaches and wildcats to patrol.
As mentioned in the article the use of MLRS should be considered perhaps operating from Argus or the bays

This requires money, but not huge amounts in the big picture

Glass Half Full

The title of the article is “Royal Navy amphibious warfare capability in flux”. I suggest that what is driving the RN (and the USN/USMC) thought processes is the changing threats from peer adversaries. The most important role for UK amphibious assets is deterrence of Russian adventures in Norway with an ability to land assets after conflict has started, as we cannot assume we will have time beforehand. Our assets have to be up to the task with high probability of success in order to deter or be effective if deterence fails.

We might question the efficacy of Zircon, Kinzhal and Iskander threats (or similar) versus naval platforms today because of the need to locate and target (and also because bad CGI does not a weapon make), but what about in 10 years or 20 years at the outside? CSGs moving at 25-30 knots will probably still be hard to target, even with persistent low latency LEO satellite surveillance (and assuming adversary sub, surface and air assets are kept well away) but what about our stationary amphibious assets relatively close off shore? The launch point of these threats may be well beyond any local theater capability to address. Clearly use of a port and RO-RO assets to land equipment is even more at threat.

Fast ship-to-shore transport helps reduce the potential threat window but almost certainly not by enough. We have access to and are clearly developing kinetic and non-kinetic counters to these threats but we don’t have proven solutions and the nature of these and similar weapons is that a single strike is likely to be a mission kill if not a ship kill.

So what to do? Well maybe one option would be a greater number of smaller, inexpensive vessels to spread risk and to eliminate ship-to-shore transfers entirely by using shore-to-shore assets. They wouldn’t need a port to embark or disembark cargo. Time stationary on the beach when at its most vulnerable would be limited. Consider something like the Stern Landing Vessel (SLV) that is purportedly being considered by the USN. The UK would need something suited for North Sea operation and might want something a bit faster than the 15/16 knots loaded speed. The platform might have additional uses including as an arsenal ship with HIMARS/ISO containerized weapons, as well as being ideal for HADR.

Last edited 3 years ago by Glass Half Full

Just a thought, but maybe we are all discussing this issue from a view point of current and historic capabilities and requirements, and what is needed is a more forward looking solution. Could Unmanned assets be used for the initial kicking down of the door, with any landing of actual troops only taking place once the local area has been won and their large static ships can be assured relative safety?
Could day 1 of an amphibious attack be carried out by a large number of smaller, fast unmanned armed vessels, drone swarms and long range reconnaissance uavs or satellites? Built in defences and enemy formations would be identified whilst multiple Unmanned vessels would launch hit and run attacks, letting off salvos of cruise missiles and swarming drones to take out artillery, missile batteries and a2ad sites, and neutralise enemy air assets. Automated gun boats would pepper coastal fortifications, whilst others would provide laser and seaceptor air defence. Losses would be expected and acceptable, but would stand a good chance to neutralise large areas then allowing for manned LPDs and carriers to enter the area and start getting men and armour to shore to start the land thrust and hold ground.
Could we except that amphibious landings against peer adversaries will be unattainable and unaffordable for a decade or two until we have developed this tech? Rather than spending now to moderately beef up our capability for limited effect, we take a capability holiday so to speak or just maintain a minimal force to allow us to spend the money on designing and implementing the next generation? Maybe we spend too much time and money on trying to catch up in the now. Designing the future will enable us to leapfrog down the line and also attract sales of equipment. Just a thought.


I think one day robotics and smart munitions will do those things. But we are a good few decades away from the scenario you describe. We are a lot closer to ‘unmanned’ war than we were in 1957 with that infamous white paper.

But unmanned doesn’t mean cheaper or smaller despite what many on sites like this think.


X – surely it has to be? An autonomous ship wont need all the space for human habitation, reducing the size of the hull by up to 50% I would imagine. No bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, mess rooms to kit out. No air conditioning, water supplies etc. You wouldn’t need a bridge with expensive monitors and displays as the sensors would feed straight into the software. Magazines wouldn’t need to be armoured to protect the crew, and fire compartmentalisation requirements would be greatly reduced.
I imagine a fleet of 1-2 tonne vessels with a radar mast, gun and a large mission module space where seaceptor, box launchers, towed arrays or ASMs could be loaded. The base vessel, whilst not cheap, surely could be built for around £100 million dependant on radar and gun type. We could build 10 to defend a carrier, each with differing roles for the same price as a T26.


40% of a warship’s costs is hull etc. Of that not much is actually anything to do with accommodating humans. You lot talk about removing a person from the platform reduces costs hugely. And you are still going to need personnel shoreside to monitor the vessels. Removing crew barely does anything. Computers are dumb. And will still be dumb in a couple of decades time.

If you want the ship to survive you will still need to armour magazines if you want the ship to survive. Fire compartmentalisation would be need to be reduced? Wow…….

No air conditioning? Really? In a metal box full of computers and other electrical equipment?

Module space? What for? Weapons have to be on the “outside”. Sensors have to be on the “outside”. There is only so much real estate to put things. Not only do you have to think about weapon arcs, but more subtle things like EM. A module space in the space is just a space. You have no crew so you won’t want boats or extra stores. So what is it for?

I used to work in IT. Each generation kit of was supposed to be superior. Each generation still broke down.

You want a highly automated ship for £100 million when an ‘escort’ already costs £1 billion just because you are removing the crew?


Ok X, no need for hostility. I am no expert In ship design, but there are many things here that just come down to common sense. And maybe you are imagining something different to me and retaining a full fat, near full size frigate. I am not, something far smaller around the size of our River B2’s. Can you not build a well armed rounded corvette for around £250 million? Again, this is far more than I am proposing.
Smaller hull equals less steel equals less cost.
Smaller size equals smaller engines equals less cost.
Smaller electrical requirements equals smaller generators equals less cost.
Removal of most systems for human habitation equals less cost. Yes some air conditioning may be required but it would be much smaller scale and localised on specific systems.
The ships would have a generic baseline in most cases, built in high numbers (cost benefits of scale) and designed to operate in multiples there by allowing smaller radars with the numbers spread over an area of ocean networked to create the larger picture of a single sampson type radar.
Fire compartmentalisation would be simpler, as human habitation and protection would not be a factor, and the internal layout would be simpler without all the air ducting, passageways and the like. I did not say it would be skimped on or removed. Again, less cost.
I said weapons modules, not a mission bay. Plug and play containerised on the outside of the ship, akin to that found on the boxer MIV.
Each ship would have one primary role dependant on the module fitted within the swarm. Thereby, it doesnt need a gun, and a missile magazine, and a towed array and defensive weaponry. The roles would be split over the group of vessels again hugely reducing unit cost compared to a frigate or destroyer.
These ships would be more attritable and would not require the same level of armour. They could even be built to commercial standards. The point is multiple small, fast moving targets acting in unison much like our proposed drone swarms in the air, but on the sea. They kick down the door and stop men and women putting their lives at risk and would be cheap enough to not care if we lost a few. I do not buy the argument they would still cost as much as a current escort in my concept.

Meirion X

Even an autonomous vessel the size of a River B2 will still require as much power generation as a manned version, especially if they got a lot of sensors onboard, you still need energy for radar, it is in the horizontal direction that range is limited dual to curvature of the Earth. Remember also that GPS can be jammed. So they would need to do some thinking on their own.


Yes. You can’t be ‘active’ all the time. You need to be ‘silent’. And it is hard enough giving robots ‘independence’ in benign ‘known’ environments never mind hostile environments full of ‘unknowns’.

I am not sure if a ship can be a true escort today without a full fit out of both AAW and ASW, ASuW is another matter. It is cheap and bolt on.

I see the small percentage spent on hotel services disappearing due to automation and redundancy. I see a ship without a crew to manage DC needing to be even more robust when it comes to things like pumps and automated firefighting systems.


I am not being hostile. At least I am not engaging in the petty practise often seen here, to the site’s detriment, of down voting.

It seems my crime is knowing something about large IT systems and ships.


Also knowing something of IT systems and “automation” (but not on military nor on shipping), I understand (or guess) those robotic systems require bunch of cooling, electricity, weight, and cost. At least in my field, it is as such.

For example, by introducing automation and robotic something, you are significantly INCREASING the amount of machines/electronics onboard. Any “subsystem” will fail/break down and maintainance is essential. This means you need more redundant systems, which directly mean more machines. And, anyway it will break down in due course. Then maintenance is anyway needed (in port or at sea). This means, you need accessibility = floor, passage and doors = space.

Firefighting “without” human crew is also a nightmare. If some assets are not working (e.g. doors cannot be closed), no one (or nothing) can correct it, which means you need double or triple redundancy systems. And of course, all of them happen only when something is wrong (e.g. hit by enemy missile).

Robotic system is good when it is simple (low power, low speed and less complexity = less machines involved), short-endurance (maintenance can be done after recovery) or cheap (can accept 10% of loss in malfunction every year, for example).

Last edited 3 years ago by donald_of_tokyo



There are further problems with a fully automated ship the size of a River B2. The size of the ship will restrict the size & type of some sensors. Radar especially. The same is true for some weapon systems eg heavy guns (4.5″ or 5″), strike length VLS etc. The best you will end up with is an automated corvette. Some machinery such as diesel engines require regular maintenance & not just when it breaks. Also a 2,000t ship is not something you want floating around shipping lanes if they do break or loose way. Unlike a broken car, they don’t stay put.

There is also the legal problem of what is an ‘abandoned ship’ & how do you stop someone laying claim to it in peacetime? An autonomious drone searching for mines still has a mothership in attendance. Was that fishing boat full of pirates or fishermen. When can you open fire in peacetime? What if it gets it wrong. How does it handle potential collisions? Can you herd it into a position of running aground? What’s the legal position if someone opens fire at it in peacetime? Are they ‘legaly’ sinking an ‘abandoned ship’ to stop it becoming a marine hazard? Will it automatically defend itself? What if there is other shipping or shore installations nearby? We already have instances of fully automated CIWS hitting other ships behind the intended targets.


The petty down tick. The reason why this site is laughed at…….


Well there Is That I guess. I personally came here to see how the Royal Navy could be saved but there is no real evidence that It can be. At least on other Sites, there are a few Idiots that you can have banter with.


Apologies then, it is hard to tell sometimes. Some people get straight in your face for just suggesting something.


I was being ‘conversational’ not ‘hostile’.


The biggest problem with defense is the best form of defence is attack and that seems to have been forgotten.

Will O

I think a bigger problem is that the conflicts that end up being fought are not fought out of choice. Enemies will capitalise wherever they perceive weakness.
It is unwise to drop our guard simply because we expect or wish for peace. Dropping our guard makes wars more likely not less.
It’s true throughout History.
That’s a lesson that also seems to have been forgotten.

Even in the last decade, wherever a power vacuum has been left, it has been swiftly filled, whether by China, Russia, Iran or ISIL etc.

A. Smith

As I have been saying for several years, the simple solution would be to use the Tide class hull and replicate it to produce the Albion and RFA replacements. The Albion and RFA replacements would be built in modular form in the UK creating jobs and bringing down costs by increasing efficiencies and economies of scale. Commercial of the Shelf (COTS) parts could be used where possible to keep costs down further. Shipyards would compete against each other for the work and the vessels could also be marketed for export.

It will be quicker and easier to train crew on one class and make them more transferable between vessels.

With the trend of ship numbers decreasing and unit costs increasing these vessels need to have some kind of defence capability and this is where the UK needs to take the lead on modular containerised weapons. Fill a container with CAMM and future anti-ship and land attack weapons and place these containers on these vessels where appropriate. Market the containers and solutions for export.

We simply don’t have the time and money to create a new class and design for each vessel and need to use a bit more common sense with ship design and procurement.


What’s the point in developing a new platform like LSS when the T45s, T31, T26s and even River class are designed to accommodate an embarked military force? They are all equipped with aviation facilities and seaboats, and presumably other small craft could be hosted as options as well. If you want to do small-scale strike, whether ahead of a main amphibious force or not, why not make use of the well-armed surface combatants that were allegedly designed from the outset for carrying such a force?

It seems to me securing a replacement for Ocean and Argus as a new class of LPH would be better – relieving any pressure on the carriers to fulfil this role – and which could work in concert as a littoral strike force with the LPDs.