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there is a lot of noise and blather coming from this terminal government.. there needs to be action (and I am not talking conscription and meat grinding the UK’s youth for the Ukranzis)


Don’t worry about it comrade

stephen ball

Wait till he figures out life is a meat grinder.


Lord Cameron went to Mar a Largo to meet Trump and talk about negotiated peace for Ukraine
According to the paper’s source, Cameron asked Trump: “What are the best conditions in which you as president can make a deal in January? It’s both sides holding their lines and paying a price for that.” Say Sunday Times
this was of course the *same deal* offered in Istanbul face to face talks a few months after the war started that Boris went to Kyiv “to blow up “, which duly happened.


Why do these vatnik talking points keep resurfacing.

The so-called “Peace Talks” had already ended by the time Boris got to Ukraine. Putin simply presented his demands and refused to engage in meaningful discussion. Then Bucha happened & the Ukrainians walked away.

Boris went there to find out what they would do next.

chris de pole

I seem to remember the same attitude in 1938, that didnt work out too well either


could you report on BAE’s amphibious ship that they demonstrated at NEDS 2023?


You mean the littoral strike craft? An 18m long, 40 ton connector craft that might be carried on one of the new MRSS. This is the one that will deploy 150 nmi from the shore and will travel at 25 kt to deploy the commandos and perhaps a 4×4. Six uncomfortable hours without use of the head it doesn’t have. Someone needs to drill a hole in the side so the commandos don’t need to pee in a bottle. Didn’t see a fridge or microwave either. It should at least have a kettle for a brew. Oh I forgot: no head, so no wet.


No, BAE also showed a LPD ship at the show


Ther is a short video here:


Thank you. Not a lot of substance. I see why you are asking.


Will all 6 ships be HMS or RFA, or a split between the 2 services?


My guess is that that is still very much a live question.


If they are classified as “non complex warships” then they should be RN and, as warships will have to be built in U.K. yards.
Would result in the RN ‘growing’ but by shrinking the RFA.


Hopefully RN only, Let RFA concentrate on Tankers/FSS


This is what worries me, are these going to be enhanced Bay class equivalents or more like the Albion class, my feeling is the former and over sold as warships.

RFA seems to be more often doing RN tasks to fill in the lack of RN ships and that’s with RFA struggling to maintain its tasks


On the face of it great news but a few things to note:

  1. This is a trap for the new Labour Government, which the Tories have carefully laid for when in opposition. However, for a Labour Government this type of investment would go down well with many of it traditional voters and backers. If they are relatively cheap vessels without complex weapons and systems then it would be an attractive proposition.
  2. If we get 6 vessels of 20,000t I would be amazed. That might be the need but the MOD work with what the Treasury give them. Very silly arguments about how the Navy have managed with 3 LSDs in actual service will be made by non military bean counters.
  3. RFA or Navy manned.? Given the manpower crisis in both a ship with reduced crew numbers is essential or they will be tied to a wall. Given the need for these vessels will work in littoral environments then self protection and a ship built to warship standards is important. I would happily see the right ships built FBNW some systems and weapons that can be added later.
  4. These ships do need to be large vessels and some commentary about smaller vessels ignores the need to embark sufficient helicopters, stores, a well deck and accommodation. A smaller ship might be marginally cheaper but the loss of flexibility and capability is too higher price. Arguments about a ship of 8-10,000t, 12,000t being less vulnerable is just not credible in any modern war fighting environment. These ships will no longer go close in shore so the ships draught is also less critical. I would argue the ships just need to be quicker (20-22knots) and have some genuine self defence capability.
  5. Finally, the key issue is what type, size and capability are the landing craft going to be. A competition is now underway for the LCVP successor but do we need something to carry a Challenger 3?. The RM’s don’t but would a few replacement LCU’s enable the U.K. to retain this capability at a very small cost.
chris de pole

Expect a good number being built on the Clyde and Rosyth to cement Labours new MP’s up here North of the border.


Rosyth yes, but I’m not sure there is capacity on the Clyde with the T26 in full swing. This would be doubly true if the T26 wins the Norwegian contract.


Faded tory govt announcing this now as they are about to go into opposition.

stephen ball

Good news.


“up to 6” … so we’ll get 1 then after the bean counters have had their way


No, we will get six, but five will be FFBNW engines.
There will a spare engine kit, that will be moved
between the 5. Good news though, SeaCeptor is
to be fitted HMS Belfast, for naval gunfire for the 1 amphib to be built.
Belfast will be dual tasked, museum and naval gunfire.


“Up to 6”? Is not replacing 6 ships with “Up to 6” not a disingenuous way of hiding yet another defence cut. If not you’d just say replacing 6 with 6.

stephen ball
chris de pole

Tories trying to scare monger, in general over the decades they’ve cut more than Labour. Interesting datapoint on the Radio yesterday, when a tory talking head was banging on about meeting 2% of GDP and increasing it. Radio commentator pointed out New Labour was spending more in absolute terms per year during its time, than the Tories have since. Fundamentally, if you bash GDP as the tories have with the impact of Brexit on GDP (4% drop), then you also hit the defence budget by the same amount. Thats before you take into account them tanking the Euro and Dollar exchange rate on cost of components and sub-systems.


Probably because they have been in power longer. So they were in power when Communism collapsed and Reagan/Thatcher adopted the “peace dividend” policy.
They also came to power in 2010 straight after the disastrous financial crash of 2008/2009 – which still affects the economy. Huge cuts were made across the board then, because if the banking bailouts, though obviously they went too far in the area of defence.

U.K. GDP has not dropped by 4% since Brexit.


Good points. Easy to blame one side but we do not know what the other would have done in similar circumstances. New Labour had things relatively easy in the late ’90s/early ’00s, which is often forgotten.


G7 GDP Growth 2016-2022
USA 16.10%
Canada 13.10%
UK 9.60%
Germany 8.21%
France 8.14%
Italy 7.08%
Japan 1.91%
4% ?


UK made major upward revisions to its GDP over 2020-22 last year as the covid era made the previous quarterly numbers unreliable.
Im using the latest numbers including provisional for 23/24


Probably true, but then we do not know what Labour would have done had they been in power in the early-mid 1990s when defence spending was been pruned back at the end of the Cold War. My guess is that the cuts would have been equivalent to or greater than those the Tories made. Same in 2010. Had Gordon Brown been re-elected then there would have been an SDSR and more than likely significant cuts given the financial situation. When New Labour gained power in 1997 they had the advantage of a relatively stable economy and sound finances, the next Labour government will not be so lucky.


They werent . The *full scale austerity* of the Con-Lib government was a different concept in economic management


Please explain.


Reducing government expenditure by £85 bill in 2010 was just the *start* to the long austerity

‘Using figures from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, the paper demonstrates that governments from 2010 onwards could have maintained real-terms growth in public spending at the 3% level inherited from the previous Labour government and, by accompanying spending increases with matching tax rises, still have reduced Britain’s government debt burden by 2019.

Its know as ‘starve the beast’ approach to public spending, and happened over a long term. That was never Labours approach

Last edited 6 days ago by Duker

From a bunch of left-leaning academics who think taxation is a zero-harm activity.

Ho ho ho.


Whatever the Guardian may or may not claim, you would not have needed ‘full scale austerity’ for the RN to continue to contract. The mindset of both main parties was no direct military threat to the UK for as far ahead as it was possible to see. That being the case, defence was not a spending priority. The RN had already shrunk from 35 escorts and 12 SSNs in 1997 to 23 escorts and 7/8 SSNs in 2010, way below the stated SDR98 requirement. That would have continued post-2010 under Gordon Brown. The carriers were the hiatus of Labour’s plans. Beyond that the belief and policy direction was a diminishing threat level that required a smaller RN (the 2004 White Paper states this), an obvious consequence of this being a reduced capacity to build new warships.


Well they have a think tank which runs official numbers based on the “austerity over the entire government”. Theres bound to be some assumptions but is verifiable
You have no reasoned approach that matches it other your personal speculation and lack of familiarity of OBP numbers. <Bound to have continued under Brown >LOL
You cant get past the fact there was a massive Defence spending reset in 2010 done by the Tories that seemed to have lasted till till 2018 when Dreadnought spending took off.. Thats not speculation


You present questionable sources and attempt to join dots that do not exist. Let me explain. Even peer-reviewed articles published in leading academic journals are of variable quality and trustworthiness. So I have serious doubts about the Guardian and mysterious think tanks whose work is unlikely to be either neutral or wholly trustworthy. Furthermore, growth in public spending as a whole does not equate to growth in defence spending specifically. Completely different things. Public services were the priority for Labour, defence was not as I have already mentioned. Not a reasoned approach and speculative on your part I think. Also important to point out that nowhere do I claim the Tories did not make damaging cuts and cause serious long-term harm to UK defence. They did and I accept that completely.

You seem to have turned this into yet another Tory v Labour spat when my original comment was in fact not pro-Tory . . . re-read it and verify this if necessary. What you cannot ignore is that the RN (all three services in fact but the RN received the brunt) contracted significantly under Labour 1997-2010. That is a fact, the numbers are not open to speculation. Yes, I speculate on what would have happened under Labour in the early 1990s and post-2010 (how could I do otherwise?) . . . but that was the gist of the thread! Do you genuinely believe that there would not have been another round of cuts under Gordon Brown given the ‘no direct threats’ mindset of the time and Labour’s true spending priorities?


Ive said its got its own assumptions but at least its ‘hard evidence’ which others can make their own minds up on. if they even read the executive summary LOL

The other is opinions with no hard evidence about what Brown would do if he won in 2010 are just absurd.
labour generally followed Keynesian type economics which in tough times the government boost the economy through spending. Not to say every thing for the RN RM RFA would be funded , but it wouldnt be slashed to the bone. And we know they committed funding for what became the T26.- withdrawn in the cuts and kicked down the road for 5 years

Austerity wasnt Keynesian was it.


There should be firm contracts in place in which the gov commits to those 6, and to ensure there’s no political traps, past gov members in charge of the projects should be able to be charged if its clear they set out such shipbuilding projects in order to sabotage rival parties. labour and conservatives have had so much rivalry tossing the country and military down the drain while very few things improve.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

As the Commando Force moves towards light, agile raiding operations

What was it doing before then full frontal armoured assaults across a beach?

The Royal Marines are already a light raiding force / specialist infantry.

LCVP is due to be replaced but what about LCU? If there is no need for the latter then there is no need for a dock.

6 probably means 4 at best. The Bays used as depot ships could probably be more cheaply replaced by refitting second hand large ferries.

And then there is the issue of crewing.

stephen ball

On sky news he said build 3 then maybe another 3.

Maybe only enough funding atm to build 3. Then because Tories can’t be sure if they will be in power next year they cant confirm the funding for the other 3?

At least we do have 3 have been confirmed.


No we don’t nothing is confirmed until a contract is signed. There is no way this class can be designed, undergo a bidding process and finish final contract negotiations before the general election. What that means is the whole future of this class is in the hands of the next government. Today is pure electioneering.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Nothing is confirmed to be fair.

There isn’t even a design to be costed out yet.


BMT Ellida and Prevail’s RoRo support ship will put themselves forward again.

Whale Island Zookeeper

Oddly I think what would probably drive ship size is whether these raiding parties intend to take vehicles ashore and the size of those vehicles. Say you want to take a Land Rover pickup sized vehicle you are going to need something Merlin sized and so let’s 4 of them.

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And there is question of ‘landing craft’. LCVP can carry a pickup or Band Wagon but I would suggest its too small for ‘all weather’ flexibility (such as it is)……..

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I would suggest something LCM-1E size………..

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It is smaller than LCU and faster, but probably not fast enough as operating OTH would probably be desirable. So perhaps a hovercraft……..

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Also all these have to be loaded to landing craft.

I can’t see the idea of these raids working without something 15,000 tonnes-ish. Which is where already sort of.


Wasnt even in the 10 year plan last year. Surely this is timed that any scrutiny of this years 10 yr plan affordability is by passed – or is it done every 2 years ?


Unless I’m very much mistaken, up until the re-shuffle, the RM could be deployed at battlegroup level as specialist LI. By which I mean they trained for that and had at least some of the CS and CSS to be able to operate in such a large group. Examples would be their deployments in Afghanistan. Now, the way they’re set up, they train and have the support for the role of raiders and (I think?) fleet security. So, even if we have the large amphibious ships to deliver them to the littorals, they wouldn’t really be prepared to land in force and secure landing areas for a presumably heavier force of Army regulars.
Which is why I’m puzzled why the government is seriously talking about ships this size and at such quantity at all- except to score political points.
I have been wrong before though, so welcome correction on anything I said above.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

The Royal Marines aren’t been reconfigured because of some sudden revelation in doctrinal thinking but because of a lack of money.

Paddling ashore in penny packets in inflatables (and swimmer delivery vehicles) to conduct an operation is the province of the SBS not line Royal Marines. The dynamics of small party operations are completely different.

I have yet to see a definition of raid in the sense they are using it. A few posts back I posted a picture of a raid on a drugs factory in Afghanistan. And I explained in the briefest and simplest terms how it would have been a battalion (commando) size operation. How there would be an assaulting force, a stop line, a reserve and FP elements and so on. That to me is a raid. 4 or more troop transport helicopters and a couple of smaller cabs for CCC etc.

I look at the coast of Africa, northern Norway, and other places and see a lot of coast which to be exploited in wartime would need specialists in strength.

I could see the need for a dock if there were some specialist high-tech ship to shore connector in the pipeline but I have heard of nothing. Every body else is sticking with LCACs of some description or the French L-CAT. It seems everybody else from the Italians to the Japanese to the Ozzies is building up there amphibious forces whereas we appear to be making a light force even lighter.

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Whale Island Zoo Keeper

That rung between SF operations and (light) amphibious operations is only open to the likes of the US, Chinese or Russians because they have the capabilities to do them. The USAF has a whole special operations command with many more aircraft than the whole of the RAF.


Yes. Even the US *Army* is re equipping its amphib fleet with new MSV(L) which are 117 ft long
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Agreed, I wasn’t commenting on the ‘why’ of the change in forces structure- just the fact of it. It is a lot cheaper to maintain a raiding force than it is a specialised light infantry unit.
I didn’t see your post, but I agree with what you’re saying- that’s why we stood up a SFSG essentially if I understand correctly? To act as those larger support and stopping forces for the actual SF units at the ‘sharp end’, much like the US 75th Rangers do. Small unit raiding etc. is certainly a relative term. That said, the Ukrainian Marines have had success with taking out Russian S-400 systems in Crimea based upon pretty small raiding forces without that level of back up. I think that’s what The RM seem to be going for- and I see a use for it. The question remains though, do we have an adequate ‘medium’ weight follow on force to take advantage of whatever the raiders do, and I don’t see it.
Re the ship to shore thing, I’m pretty sure I saw something on here or UKDJ about a competition for a new high speed landing craft- big enough for a bunch of troops and even small vehicles.

Whale Island Zookeeper

Special forces are the most expensive infantry a country has because it is constantly in training using high end equipment.

The Royal Marines are specialized light infantry.

Yes the middle ground is SFSG. But it is a highly specialized role.

It’s penny pinching. Nothing more.

As for ship to shore connectors I always thought there was mileage in that vehicle the USMC nearly adopted the EFV. Not as a replacement for AAV in mass but as an option above that more an alternative to helicopters.

Whale Island Zookeeper

I had better furnish some example.

The Loften Islands raid in WW2, Operation Claymore, had a landing force of 500-ish commandos from 7 ships.

Whereas Operation Frankton consisted of 13 commandos.

The former is what I would call a raid. The latter what would now be considered a special forces operation. Um. Before a raid can take place there would be a lot of intelligence gathering sometimes by SF operations.

The idea therefore all of a sudden we have several commandos worth of SF is just plain daft.


The biggest issue with the MRSS programme is the systems. As they say steel is cheap and air is free, but the real cost of ships is the expensive systems installed. The support ships being built at Belfast/Spain are cheap because they are simple, and use minimal systems.

The MRSS being simple or not depends entirely on how we operate them. If they always have an escort frigate/destroyer then they do not need the most sophisticated sensors as the escort will cover them. However, as is with current LPDs, they have to operate without escort, then they really need to be able to defend themselves and detect threats to a high degree, which will raise the costs.

If you consider we have not got a sufficient escort fleet even after all ships are built and in service, I would say they need to be equipped to survive alone. ASW can be done by helicopters/UAVs but threats from missiles and flying drones is another matter. Especially if we are seeing China as a threat. All the more reason to really invest in domestic radar technology especially considering the upcoming Type 83.

If they were LHDs they could use F35Bs to defend against air threats but that is clearly beyond the scope of the “non complex ships”.


With the lack of escorts I would like these vessels to have CAMM for anti-air defence including anti-drones. Ideally a few guns would be useful like the T31 for onshore support and small vessel defence. The results from the Black Sea has shown that all vessels need defence against drones.
Then with military radars for air threats and military communications and system redundancy these are not so cheap anymore.
Then these would also need to be RN ships and not RFA.


I have heard talk of more capable RFA Radars and weapon systems in articles, plus the new FSSS radar. Though I think it’s more realistic to expect an optionally deployed missile system, which would then come along with the Royal Navy staff required to operate it.


Does the RM have its own local area missile defence units which can be taken on deck ?


No, was more referring to the pods system the RN wants to use, could have for example, a Sea ceptor pod

Nigel Collins

The QE Class Tactical Air Navigation and Direction Finder systems also require updating.


FSS are in no way cheap!

They’re £1bn a ship….and they’re incredibly complex.

Tankers are cheap….Stores Ships are not…

As an example the Italian LHD, the Trieste, a 35,000 tonne ship cost £1bn…


Are they? I thought it was a 1.67b contract for 3 ships, 550m a ship? For a near 40k ton ship, I would say that is pretty cheap when we have warships going for well over a billion a ship, again due to expensive equipment not the steel.


Yeah, you are correct @rudeboy is wrong ????


Anyone who thinks FSS is simple with minimal systems clearly doesn’t understand what those ships do and how they work.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

If they were LHDs they could use F35Bs to defend against air threats

The UK would have, with hindsight (which is a wonderful thing), been better off buying a large LHD. Something like the USS Makin Island. Build on what the RN was good. A ship to support light amphibious warfare and sea control.

Buying an LHD and operating carriers is beyond the UK now. Buying an LHD and operating Bravos from it (or them) is even more beyond us.

Last edited 7 days ago by Whale Island Zoo Keeper

I sometimes rant about this, but if someone magically bought the PoW or QE for the price we paid to build it we could build 2 F35B capable LHDs (and crew them) and have money leftover for EMALS to make the QE we had left capable of flying non-VTOL aircaft and we would have 3 carriers, 2 of which are cheaper to operate.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Yes. We have enough airframes to match a Wasp class’ air group. If needs be that mixed group could be replaced with a whole squadron of Bravo’s or Merlin ASW cabs (plus large AShM.)

For me though why we need a large aviation deck for AEW ASaC. It is a key capability. Shame Crowsnest is so lacklustre. I sometimes wonder if a class of cruisers to carry say 4/5 AEW ASaC cabs, plus 2 Pingers, and a Wildcat as hack would have been better for us.

If the RN had 3 LPH/A plus an accompanying LPD we could rotate a commando battle group though an operational deployment each year.


They should terminate Block 4 as Lockheed will never get it done at cost and timelines they confidently predict ( even after years of similar work).

Finish off TR3 as the final standard and use the saved money for the back upgrades – which cost a large sum themselves

Nigel Collins

That could very well be the answer.

A rethink on Typhoon numbers is also being considered at the moment, the Italians are also looking to expand their fleet too.

“Italy is set to buy additional Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, with government approval to be sought in the third quarter (Q3) of 2024.
Consortium partner BAE Systems confirmed the potential sale, which Janes first reported from the IQPC International Fighter conference (IFC) in November 2023, with a senior company official saying on 14 May that Italy is looking to add to the 96 Eurofighters it has already received, of which 94 remain in service.

“Italy is now looking at more core aircraft,” David Hulme, Typhoon product strategy director and Eurofighter project director at BAE Systems said, adding, “There will be a parliamentary process over the summer to look at a further buy.”

Hulme did not disclose further details, but Janes was told at IFC 2023 in Madrid that the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana: AMI) is looking at a further 24 aircraft as it prepares for the retirement of its 36 Panavia Tornado Interdiction Strike (IDS), 16 Tornado Electronic Combat Reconnaissance (ECR) aircraft, and potentially to replace some or all of its 26 (including 10 twin-seat) early model Eurofighter Tranche 1 fleet.

At that time, Leonardo declined to comment to Janes on the expected additional buy, while the AMI said, “As of today, the Italian Air Force is not aware of any additional contract related to Eurofighter Typhoons.”


Having 3 carriers of 2 completely different air wing types is not economical

Whale Island Zookeeper

The idea is that the fighting capability is in the aircraft. They don’t have to be at sea all the time.

This site bangs on about modules all the time. Aircraft are just modules. If there is a squadron of Bravos or a squadron of ASW Merlin all they need is access to a large aviation hull. The UK is not the US it cannot afford operational deployments of carriers. Everything the UK does is training and supplementary. War on the whole is not economical.


Complete fantasy that any of the current carriers can be converted to Emals due to the long list of cants
Cant be installed on existing ship- USN isnt even considering it for its last Nimitz, USS GWH Bush completed in 2009
Cant afford having a twin system
Cant afford non STOVL planes in addition to the F-35s
Cant run RN separate ships with different planes and launch systems, too small. Only USN could do this


So something like the USS Bougainville, designed as an update of Makin Island, with a crew complement of 1060 and a cost of over $3bn? More if you include the design costs. It will probably be able to surge a dozen F-35Bs or maybe 8 sustained. Not much more than the Wasps (or indeed Makin Island). Sea control at a push, if we could find the crew, but the RN wanted a strike carrier to be able to release the US carriers from European tasking, and it could not have done that. It’s designed to support amphibious warfare. I’m glad we didn’t go down that route, as not only couldn’t we crew more than one, we wouldn’t be able to put 1700 commandos in it either.

Whale Island Zookeeper

I am talking of something more like the Trieste. I am sure if the UK can design a 70,000 ton carrier it can design a 30,000 ton to 40,000 ton LHD.

Strike carrier fantasy has destroyed the Royal Navy. This blog makes me laugh. Drones here. Drones there. But if you suggest using missiles for strike something drones have been capable of doing for decades nobody wants to do that.

As for the landing force well no most of the time you wouldn’t fill all the berths. Simply because 99.999999999999999999% of the time we are not at war. But if the balloon their will be a need to carry more. Go look up a little affair called the Falklands War.

Trying thinking a bit harder.


Forget the Falklands when it comes to numbers. That was forty years ago, when we spent about 150% more on our military in real terms than we do now and had a good sized merchant marine. Leadership still had WW2 in their collective memories.

Trieste-style would be a much better model than the US one, although they do seem to be having a few problems with it. I haven’t followed the detail, but it’s taking a long time for fit out and trials, isn’t it?

I’d rather we had a couple of Mistrals anyway, and as you said originally, it’s all hindsight.


Trieste will enter service this year. The only reported issue is well know from the QE. MT30 and its shafts but not as dramatic.

Whale Island Zookeeper

Um. You mentioned capacity. I said there was a logic to have spare capacity in a design. I mentioned the Falklands as an example. It was a discrete point.

Mistral is simply too slow.


As referenced below, a clear trap for Labour. The Tories need to be careful, though, because if they make pledge after pledge that Labour can’t bring themselves to cancel, they’ll have no choice but to sign-up to 2.5%. All Tory advantage gone.


Surely we need something equivalent to the French or Spanish LPHDs as well as a helicopter hanger version of the Bays in a second tier role?


Not really, we don’t have the aircraft to justify it and it defeats the purpose of a uniform class to replace our amphibs.
Would definitely be useful, but the current plan is more realistic


According to Dutch defence news, the reason we split with them over MRSS is because they wanted a lightly armed LHD style ship and we want a more heavily armed conventional LPD.


Dutch ships are smaller and will do OPV work.

Dutch Navy To Replace OPV And LPD With A Single Class Of Ships

The Ministry of Defence is replacing the 2 Large Landing Ships (LPDs) and 4 Oceangoing Patrol Vessels (OPVs) with 6 ships of a single class.


The new generation of ships is therefore smaller in size than the current LPDs. 

From Naval News

Last edited 7 days ago by AlexS
Whale Island Zoo Keeper

The Dutch navy buys what Damen wants to sell.


Maybe , but i don’t see Dutch wanting to do amphibious operation, at least at UK level dreams. I call it dreams because i am very sceptical that is viable today.

Whale Island Zookeeper

The Dutch do do amphibious warfare. Their marines and our work very closely especially in Norway. It could be argued with two landing ships in commission at the moment they have more capability than we do.

Their intention is to have littoral action groups too so want more smaller amphibians like those Damen have in their design catalogue.


Lets suppose they go to a Damen Crossover type with 200 marines capability.
That is a company level. We are talking raiding or taking a non defended beach or port. It is not what UK wants.

Whale Island Zookeeper

That’s where the UK is headed but it wants to have an even smaller EMF. I just don’t see there being the ‘targets’ out there to justify the venture. If you want to do small highly targeted operations you send in the SBS.

My problem with all of this is simply, I thought the RM was already a light raiding force.

The RM was certainly not as ‘heavy’ as the lightly motorized USMC.


But from what is being said it seem UK want a 600 marines LPD instead, that is light battalion level.

Whale Island Zookeeper

Well yes but this is what I am saying, We are being told on one hand the Royal Marines are going to be a light raiding force and the days of 3Cdo are over. So handfuls of marines playing SBS not commandos going ashore. As I pointed out here somewhere below or above(!) the Lofton Island raid involved 500 marines. Where as Operation Frankton, what was most definitely a SF op, took 13 marines. The operational requirements of sending 500 ashore are a lot different to sending 13………….As I said to me the RM was already a light raiding force. As I have said previously here the USMC believe you need a battlegroup to do anything useful ashore.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

We don’t need additional hangar capacity. But saying that hangar space can also be garage space.

But designing them around a full length flight deck would be a good idea. Imagine the Junglies lifting off from the QE with the first wave and then returning to the LPD for the second wave.

And the flight deck can be used as a vehicle park too. Plus somewhere for containers.

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Last edited 7 days ago by Whale Island Zoo Keeper

If you have ever Deployed on an LPD with aircraft you would understand the requirement for a hangar even the bays have a rubb hangar.
The old Forts you could hangar two SK4 and put one in the Lea of the hangar athwartships.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

If you have no large aviation ships say like the Dutch then yes have a hangar.

The USN only added a hangar to LPD 25 design when the USMC started to look OTH assaults. Plus they are big ships with lots of spare volume so could afford to give up upper deck space.The Harpers Ferry and Whidby Island classes didn’t have hangars. For that matter Intrepid and Fearless didn’t have hangars. The primary reason why you have dock ships is to carry landing craft both in the dock and from davits plus large vehicles. The hangar was deleted from the Bays because of the need to carry containers and other outsize and awkward cargo on deck. Bays are freighters. That they are pressed into service to do more speaks volumes both about the high utility of ships and the meanness of the naval budget than anything else. We had Ocean and now we have two very big and very empty carriers that are much better platforms to base helicopters upon. That is why the USN didn’t base helicopters on their dock ships because they had LHA’s.

Having a full length flight deck on an Albion sized hull would allow for 6 Merlin landing spots. No obstructions in front. Far better for flying ops.

The Giuseppe Garibaldi is about the same size as an Albion…

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The Rotterdam is a tad shorter but illustrates my point…

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I know which one I would rather fly off. Remember these are assault ships. There is need to get stuff across the beach as quickly as possible. I would humbly suggest that getting 6 cabs away quickly is more important than getting 4 cabs away slowly

As for the Forts well they are large ships. It doesn’t impede their function sticking a hangar high and aft. Increasing hangar space means more pingers can be carried to defend the task group. And then there is vert-rep too I suppose. Different scenario entirely.

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Last edited 6 days ago by Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Additionally you’d think these vessels need proper air defences unlike the Albions, Bays or Argus.


The new radar for FSSS gives possibility that future RFA ships could use systems like sea ceptor, even if not built into the ships design, could be deployed via container system

Rowan Maguire

The Forts were FBNW the older GWS-26 VLS as the post Falklands panic over lack of credible air defenses in the navy and the apparent vulnerability of our support ships were put on full display. As time has gone on some of the 1982 lessons have been forgotten, landing ships are incredibly vulnerable but also (arguably) some of the most important vessels – the Black Sea fleets amphibians have faired very poorly against air launched missiles, coastal launched missiles and USVs. The writing has always been on the wall that modern amphibious operations can go very wrong very quickly.

The BAE concept shows a space for a small block of VLS cell next to the gun on its fore deck, the US and Taiwan have also built some of their new LPDs with space for MK-41 blocks – one of the Dutch proposals also shows the inclusion of a VLS module. Phalanx is very much aged and I really question it’s effectiveness against modern missile threats, programmable or guided shells are becoming the baseline now for gun based CIWS so the use of the new 40mm mount should be the minimum. The Telegraph reported today that the MRSS would also feature Dragon Fire which will be a welcome inclusion. Fitting them with a block of 12 cold launch CAMM cells would be more than enough as a deterrent during peacetime, having space to double this number would allow for future upgrades or more credible numbers in war time.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

The new Italian Trieste will have 3 76mm guns and 3 25mm guns.

Plus FFBNW Sylver A50 (2 x 8 cells) for Aster 30 or 15 and perhaps CAMM-ER.


I would call that a first line capital vessel though for Italy. Didn’t realise they weren’t fitting the VLS though

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

It’s an LHD. You have raised a good point. Are these ships HVU’s or not?


It’s hard to tell, suggestion is they’ll be more like the Bay classes as forward deployed auxiliary type amphibs for small scale ops and a wide range of missions. But that’s contradicted by a desire for more self defence systems than day the Dutch were looking at.

Whale Island Zookeeper

Yep. That’s it exactly. It isn’t getting any less dangerous out thee.


I the epoch of drone there is no way a ship like this cannot have at least 2-3 guns of 40-76mm calibre.
Maybe only in RN that can happen looking at QE/PW.


We didn’t have 40mm turrets in service when we introduced the Qnlz class, has yet to be seen whether they’ll be fitted in future.


Yes, BAE did not had yet bought Bofors at time.

Peter S

It cost @£1b to get that level of armament and sensors. MRSS will have to be much more affordable.

Whale Island Zookeeper

How much to build a new one and how long would it take?

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Last edited 3 days ago by Whale Island Zookeeper
Bloke down the pub

Will these vessels fly the white ensign, or will the RFA need to attract more crews?

Lord Adonis' cousin's local librarian

What about the type 32 🙁


Depends on how gets to assemble the MRSS. If it’s Rosyth then odds on the T32 is on the back burner. If the MRSS ends up all crewed by the RN then it would be a big ask to crew them whilst also crewing 4 extra support ships.


Huge news


Surely the Albions could be extended in service until 2040 due to the long periods they have been in mothballs? Retaining actual amphibious warfare vessels would be preferable to having ‘up to’ 6 RFA spec ships.

Then in the mid 2030s some new, proper, LHDs could be built? Thereby stretching out the orders for large vessels without reducing capability, managing cash flow and work load for various yards


I suspect the large crew requirements of the Albions counts against them in today’s navy.


Yes more penny wise pound foolish thinking!


Fundamentally it is harder to recruit people nowadays. Yes they could improve the offer but its still not appealing. Having high crew vessels like the albions around for another 20 years is only asking for them to get scrapped without replacement.


I thought Undersea warfare was a key capability. You know Submarines, Cables, Pipelines, that sort of thing. Out of sight out of mind, better not be.

Peter S

The RN withdrew their proposal for MRSS from the 10 year plan in 2022. A revised design, cheaper and removing RAS capability, was included in the 2023 RN numbers.
It seems highly likely that these ships will be used for operations outside their main role just as the vessels they are replacing have been. So increasing speed and fitting at least self defence systems will be necessary. They should not be wholly reliant for protection on the small number of surface escorts. They should be “warships” in their own right. “Non complex” might mean single hull, simple diesel propulsion and limited sensors.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

It’s a good thing China isn’t building any submarines…

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A revised design, cheaper and removing RAS capability, was included in the 2023 RN numbers.”

Was there ? Nothing I can find says that in official RN plan
Just says it seems to be kicked into long grass ….after being in the plan 2021


The real reason for todays MRRS vague announcement. Its a cover story for a reduction.

Speaking at the annual Sea Power Conference in central London, the Defence Secretary will announce that HMS Argyll and HMS Westminster are to be retired, with one being sold to BAE to assist skills training.


I’m not sure. MoD could just stuck to its “wait and see” line on the T23’s. To me yesterdays announcement was purely political campaigning.

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)


In a sane world – so when one starts off with the intention of engineering a big project properly – one would initially be starting off the development process by first properly-defining the payloads which the new MRSS ships need to carry.

Then a qualified and experienced naval architect would be – working with an HB pencil on a few fresh and crisp sheets of white paper – drawing up those few key requirements.

He (or she) would then engineer a new ship to carry the required payloads.

Then, about ten years later, the RN would commission their new ship. It would be built to a design which has been properly engineered to carry the payload “needed and required” by the “end user”.

(Note: the “end user” in this particular case is an armed-to-the-teeth RMC commando unit. Having just eaten their Weetabix (note 1), a high-calorie diet selected from the MRSS new “breakfast meal deal” menu – the RMC will be wanting to rapidly get ashore and thus get on with “doing the business” to His Majesties the King’s enemies (note 2)).


Unfortunately, the inside of the MOD HQ is not, by any definition, a “sane world”……(note 3)


Ideally, if we were living in an ideal world, one would want our commandos to finish “doing their business” by lunchtime.

However, if the enemy fights back – which has been known to happen (just occasionally) – then the MRSS will need to start delivering, ashore, more packed lunches, followed by high-calorie dinner / evening meals. Heavens above, one might even want to supply a few tents, for overnight camping.

Furthermore, if the enemy puts up a “stiff fight” = then our commandos might well need a resupply of some more of their 105mm cannonballs, 7.62mm musket balls and even, quite possibly, some of these new-fangled tanks and Anti-Tank Missiles Thingy’s.


Accordingly, there is now one fundamental “challenge” facing the MRSS programme…

That is, quite simply = the RN/RMC have not yet properly thought through their 21st CONOPS / assault doctrines…..

The simple truth is that one quite-remarkably simple question was left completely unanswered by Mr G Shapp’s announcement:.


The fact that this question remains unanswered simply the “designers” of these ships have all been “winging it”…….

Accordingly, the RN is very soon going to be procuring six brand-new ships, ones that are neither properly optimised for modern air assault NOR which are properly optimised for heavy over-the-beach logistics.

Furthermore, it looks to me as if all six will all be extremely well optimised to be sunk: and probably sunk very quickly.

All in all, this MRSS programme has all the makings of being yet another multi-billion pound MOD /RN cock-up: obviously one being funded at taxpayers expense

regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)

Note 1. Simply because the cardboard in a Weetabix packet get wet in anything more than a Force 2 on the Beaufort scale: the boxes need to be kept onboard the ship.

Note 2. HM Charlies enemies are currently defined as Russia and Belarus and China and North Korea and Iran and Yemen and Hamas and Hezbollah (Note: According to the Daily Torygraph today, Argentina may very-soon be joining this list…)

Note 3 As I pointed out in a relatively recent post, one of the very key roles inside the MRSS programme down at Portsmouth was originally advertised by MOD as “no experience necessary” = a phrase which, in just three words, really sums it up quite nicely …..

Whale Island Zookeeper

packed lunches

The correct term is box or bag meal. 🙂 😉

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)

Whale Island Zookeeper

Before I start to chew = I always take my Weetabix out of the Box Meal!

Regards Peter I(Irate Taxpayer)

Whale Island Zookeeper

If you had suffered a Pusser’s box meal you know it isn’t a matter to take lightly.


To be fair – it’s not that the “designers of these ships have been winging it”. To the best of my knowledge, no “real” designs exist at this moment in time.

It’s more like the RN/RM have been winging it, in that the CONOPS for FCF seems somewhat ethereal. The size of force inserted is unlikely to be able to get into any sort of sustained fight, partly because it is based on 12 man troops, but also because those troops have limited mobility. So hit hard and exfil. In essence, if you’re fixed, you’re fecked. Hence resupply is unlikely to be an issue.

Whale Island Zookeeper

it is based on 12 man troops, but also because those troops have limited mobility. So hit hard and exfil. In essence, if you’re fixed, you’re fecked. Hence resupply is unlikely to be an issue.

Which is SF territory not specialist infantry. So we will have ordinary Royals playing SBS. The whole idea is stupid.


Maybe so. But that is FCF.

3Cdo Bde has left the building.

Whale Island Zookeeper

I know……..I know………

It’s all a load of Horlicks that will come back to haunt MoD(N).


We need some kind of amphibious vessel, even if its not the all singing all dancing sports car that you want.

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)


I never said the RN should be buying an all singing and all dancing sport car = so please don’t put those words into my mouth!

I totally agree that the RN needs some replacement amphibious vessels.

However, as N-a-B and I have just both pointed out, without having a proper amphibious CONOPS in place, everybody else in the MRSS team must be winging it.

No CONOPS simply means NO ship design, and without a ship design all the RN now has to go on right now is a right load of waffle (a situation which is called a “developing a new Policy Statement” in civil-service speak).

As of today, for its much-needed replacement amphibious vessels, the RN simply does not know whether it wants the modern (maritime) equivalent of

  • a sports car.
  • A family car
  • an MPV
  • pedal bike (has the twin advantages of both low cost and low observable (esp. acoustic spectrum)
  • a moped
  • a motorbike
  • a bus
  • a coach
  • a transit van
  • a 7.5T delivery truck
  • an HGV

so, being unable to make its own mind up about what is really really wants, the RN has recent told the defence minister:

we are thinking of buying six of these new-fangled motorised charabancs for the commando’s – so can we have a few billion quid to spend – please”

If I was sat in Grant Shapps chair today, I would be seriously considering asking for a court-martial of some fairly senior officers (note 1).

Their charge sheet would read:

the serious offence of promising the minister a right load of b******s”

All in all, this is a truly pathetic situation……

Regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)

Note 1. However, to be fair to him (or her), the officer-in-charge of the RN/RMC MRSS programme should be in the second-in-the-queue for their court-martial; standing behind the DASA/QinetiQ Dragonfire raygun project “leadership”.


Why do you think the public is privy to any of the information relating to the design or requirements of the vessels though?

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)


I am privy to this expert knowledge for the one and only very-simple reason that the Royal Navy has said precisely this itself!

This is the main RN media release earlier this week, dated 14th May 2024 (note 1)

Six new amphibious warships to be built for Royal Marines operations (

Please note the weasel words, about halfway down:

“The MOD has entered the first, or concept, phase of the MRSS Programme and will work with industry as part of early market engagement ahead of developing the vessel design.

If you put this phrase into Goggle translator – translating from MOD-speak into NPE (Normal Plain English) – it would read,

“We currently haven’t got a clue what we want to do…”

Regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)

Note1. This timing of his press release thus gives rise to a very-well-known phrase in the English Language: “from the horses own mouth!”


Yes . One commonwealth navy famously didnt think through their logistic support requirements. Ended up with a second hand Mediterranean roro orange carrier
Once in service and named after a double VC winner, the first of many problems was stability so it was quickly back chartered to carrying citrus fruit and wasnt heard from again

Michael Dawes

I can’t help but feel we are making a misstep here. It seems more than likely that these are RN not RFA ships, does 6 MRSS give the same capability as France has with 3 Mistral class? With most top tier nations procuring LHDs why is the RN getting auxiliary level vessels?


Because we need larger numbers of ships for more deployments and various roles. Otherwise perhaps high end vessels would be an idea.

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)


One example of a well-proven foreign-made low-end amphibious assault vessel

I would add that, the sad reality is that this particular vessel would “very probably” meet (and indeed quite possibly exceed!) the DASA requirement for a commando insertion craft (i.e. which was published by the MOD/DASA last year)

Slide pedalo – Picture of Andreas Watersports, Zakynthos – Tripadvisor

In very-marked contrast, the British-made version does not have the integrated slide: and thus it cannot self-launch the smaller types of RN UUV and USV’s

Pedalos — North Yorkshire Water Park

regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)

Whale Island Zookeeper

We need something like this……..

Amphibious Assault Submarines!

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Irate Taxpayer (Peter)

Whale Island Zookeeper

As you pulled me up earlier in this string of posts (directly above) for me not knowing the key differences between a “packed lunch” and the correct naval terminology of a “bagged or boxed meal” ……….

= I shall now have no hesitation in taking my revenge…..

This (Japanese drawing above) is most-properly described as a submersible (i.e. a vessel which sometimes goes down below the waves). Thus it was not a true submarine (i.e. a vessel which can stay submerged for very long periods).

Score 1-1

However, all joking apart – if the FCF requirement is for covert insertion of troops and vehicles and logistics over a very long range (note: they recently asked for 150 miles) then this Japanese submersible design dating back to WW2 is probably one of the very few types of vessels that might actually “do the business”…..

Unfortunately, the buffoons working at Quintiq / DASA all suffer from a excessively large ego’s and a very-severe case of NIHS-SFOLP (note 1)

Therefore there is no chance whatsoever of your utterly brilliant suggestion being developed any further by the RN and FCF…..

Instead, I can foresee the MRSS ending up as a very-traditional design of LPD= one which needs to be anchored stationary and immoveable whilst docked down just off a very hostile enemy coast. Thus MRSS has been recently been sold – to some very gullible senior ministers – as being “defended by state of the art DASA/Qunietiq ray-guns” (sorry Dragonfire). Thus I can only assume that MRSS must be, according to DASA, “totally unsinkable” (note 2)

Regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)

Note 1 Not Invented Here Syndrome – So F**** Off Little Person”:

Note 2. As in “the Titanic”, which was, according to experts, unsinkable.

Of course, those statements were made before it did its one, and only, impression of a submarine (not a submersible!) in April 1912

Whale Island Zookeeper



What the Royal Navy needs is an LPD along the lines of the US Navy’s San Antonio class LPD or even


Too expensive.

Whale Island Zookeeper

Yes. Not so much too expensive as the government puts other things first.

USN amphibious ships are designed to do a 500 mile leap per day.

They are distributed so that there is always an ARG only a few days sailing away from any crisis. Plus they have fast ship-to-shore connectors in abundance too.

Mike Jones

“RN will continue to maintain its three core capabilities – the continuous at sea nuclear deterrent, carrier strike and MRSS-enabled littoral strike”
I think that these are reasonable priorities, though not necessarily sustainable ones. The idea of an anti-submarine fleet ended with mass container shipping. Resources will have to be prioritised on preserving these assets, and using them to assert National/NATO goals. The era of Britannia, or anyone else, Ruling the Waves are over (See Russian Black Sea fleet).

Whale Island Zookeeper

The idea of an anti-submarine fleet ended with mass container shipping.


Mike Jones

Remember the Type 22 concept? Even then, the best we could have mustered was 3 antisubmarine groups- to cover all our shipping. Today, the idea of protecting the massive logistical commitments we have is almost impossible, even against lesser powers (Red Sea).

Whale Island Zookeeper

I see what you are driving at now. Thanks. 🙂

Whale Island Zookeeper

There is an advert on the page for rowing machines.

Reminded of all that rubbish of some months back now that the RN needed capabilities not ships.