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Armchair Admiral

20 years between contract to produce a demonstrator and trials? Surely they have been trialling it and tweaking it for a while now.
Looks good to me. I assume it has a similar footprint to an lcvp. Order 20 now with optional rws, and flog loads as export orders.
Appears to be more versatile than a convential lcvp in that it can be used as a “boat” per se. Patrolling, scouting and so on.

OR…faff around for years and let someone else develop something similar which pinches all the possible export orders.

AA (sorry for the resigned wave of negativity there)


I think the April 2003 is a typo – makes more sense to have been April 2023…


Any plans to replace LCU? Then again if you want to move something like a tank to shore its probably going to have to be a large boxy and slow craft.


We did have a plan with PACSCAT. Hopefully we’ll return to it in the future.


Why do we need to move a tank from ship to shore? Current doctrine suggests that capability is no longer required.


Not tanks but the other tracked or similar


Arguably still not in line with the new doctrine.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

FWIW the new doctrine isn’t worth the paper it is written. A couple of elderly RFA’s paddling about with a minimal amount of equipment and stores aren’t worth sending to sea.

The Australians, Japanese, and Italians are investing heavily in amphibious warfare. Even the Germans are doing more.

These ‘strike groups’ are a joke.

And how long will this current ‘doctrine’ last?

It’s all rubbish.


In your not very expert opinion.


In whose expert opinion is it right to use two large unsupported RFAs to insert a few dozen commandos and some small vehicles? And as Irate points out, over a 6 hour journey using insertion craft quoted to Sea State 3 when even a Pac 24 is quoted to Sea State 4.

I’d rather go on an OPV and use the insertion craft for the last 15 miles. BTW, I have no expertise at all.

Last edited 26 days ago by Jon
Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Yet Marines took BV’s to Norway last year………..

comment image?rev=e00636c7b58b4180b83cf2eddb9e182a

You would think if they were no longer needed they would be sitting in a disposal yard somewhere in the UK. Yet there they are in Norway.

I think what we are seeing in this thread are posts by two different groups. First group have romantic images of Royal in green lids paddling ashore in his canoe or rubber dinghy ready to bash them their evil Ruskies with Fairbairn-Sykes dagger clenched firmly in their teeth.

Or the second group who seem to realise that this it the 21st century and vehicles and supplies will probably have to go ashore. That raids say in Norway or Africa in remote regions may need to happen away from the immediate coast. And may last a number of days so need logistical support.

We are also seeing some who don’t know the difference between infantry and special forces.

Last edited 27 days ago by Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Yes. I had a laugh at the Special Forces Operations catering platoon

John Clark

I think the reality of the situation is the Royal Marine Raider proposal was actually triggered by a desire to get rid of Brigade level operations.

You can colour this any way you like, but in reality, it was treasury led mission to get rid of Albion and Bulwark.

After witnessing the drone assaults in the Gulf of Aden we do have to perhaps admit that traditional beach landings are becoming obsolete….

Helo born over the horizon insertion is perhaps the only way pushing forward, that means Chinooks and HC4’s launched from a QE class.

Future Amphibious ships need a large flight deck and hanger, they need to be able to carry and support additional helicopters of their own, have an access ramp from the vehicle / equipment deck to the flight deck to facilitate smooth cross decking or insertion of troops and gear.

They would go in with future persistent UAV’s, AH64E and F35 support.

The Chinook is capable of carrying just about all the equipment the RM’s need bar the MBT, but considering the Army is shifting that to a niche capability with 148 tanks in only two regiments, I doubt there’s any appetite to do this anyway.

The reality is, if we thought that a landing was going to require the firepower of an MTB, we wouldn’t likely consider it.

So Raider model for counter terrorism type ops, and larger operations requiring a whole commando or larger, over the horizon Helo bone assault.

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)


You need to read the string of posts, under “UK Littoral Response Group South”, that were published here on Navy Lookout about two weeks ago (10th April).

You will find that many agree with you!

There I was arguing that:

  • Any first wave (or a big raid) of an near-future assault would be RMC being helicoptered-in from a very simply type of Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH).
  • Simply because of modern threats (all types of anti-ship missiles: Yemini/Iranian made model remote controlled planes etc) they would be launching that heliborne assault from well over-the-horizon.
  • Any second wave assault (if required) must have heavier vehicles, artillery and heavier logistics etc (especially fuel). That would need to be over-the-beach (I was proposing a next generation of Bay class and Point class)
  • That for the heavier follow-on assault, so after the RMC have secured any beach landing zone, what is being landed ashore really must be to be an mobile army unit – ideally equipped with Ajax and Boxer.
  • Close air support ough to be by AAC Apaches

Thus, in my humble option, the Albion class is already redundant. Indeed one can argue they were “probably redundant” when first ordered 30 years ago

One can only hope (and pray) that the RN’s MRSS programme managers and engineers are thinking this all through properly: however (somehow) I doubt it!


I would add the observation that what makes the chinook very difficult to use in any marine environment is just one thing: its lack of a folding rotor head. That means the “open wide” blades take up far to much space in any ship’s hanger. That particular one really ought to be a high-priority MOD procurement project.

However, as you have rightly said, the Chinook is well-proven piece of kit, that is exceptionally usefully for logistics (note 1) on any modern battlefield.

regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)

Note 1 Please note the word “logistics” = rather than “assault”.

Bloke down the pub

I hadn’t realised they were based so close to me. BTW, I hope that wasn’t Studland Bay they were dropping anchor in, there are rare sea grasses there that the seahorses mate in and they don’t want to go upsetting the environmentalist.


I thought that looked like Studland. I remember seeing craft similar this in the 90’s in my boatbuilding days.


Hello, never posted before but have read the articles for years, and thanks for the work in putting them together. My son will put his application to join the Royal Marines next Jan so this is of major interest to me. I watched the video and was dumbfounded.

If you read the spec it meets all of it but fails in one major unsaid aspect, they will all be dead just before it gets to the beach. After evading drones and missiles due to its speed etc it then stops, turns around, puts in an anchor and slowly backs up to the beach. If they survive this 5 minutes of faffing around during which at least 20 RPGs will hit them they then have to get up the beach with no momentum, so they either wade in from a distance, or wait even longer whilst the wheels go down and slowly pull them up the beach far enough. At which point the ramp goes down and the machine gunner who has had enough time to finish his tea kills them all.

Notes to the project team; use a bow ramp, get them on the beach quickly, then sort out how to get the LC off of it. A stern ramp might give some initial shelter but you have to get the whole craft up the beach, which means tracks and they are slow. What you don’t do is turn around and give the enemy the easiest target they have ever had.

Apologies for the length of the post.


Problem with bow ramps is that it means the boat has a terrible forward hull form and therefore cannot go fast or take bad weather. But I see what you mean about the huge slow down once reaching the beach

Last edited 28 days ago by Hugo

Water jets can swivel on a pin so should be easy to reverse out. The anchor would only be if they thought it was needed I expect


We won’t be ‘doing D-Day’ ever again, due to the high casualty cost in men and material. The RM will be doing raids instead, and if they are facing that degree of opposition before they even reach the beach then the chances of a successful raid and exfil are low.

The anchor idea feels bad, in a large landing, probably at night, I can see cables from different vessels crossing/entangling. They should have the power to get off the beach without using these.

Armchair Admiral

There’s nothing nuch other than a hovercraft which answers all these questions. Fast in. Up on the beach quick. Off the beach quick. Very noisy. Not very stealthy. Not much use for anything else..but worth having as a capability

They are testing a small one in the video and taking their time over it. Likelihood is the anchor/,reversing would be done at speed. In theory the cables could get tangled but they would not be that close together and I doubt if dozens would land once.
Front ramp would seem to be desirable but puts major design constraints on the craft. The cb90 assault boat was trialled by the RM, and they found the forward ramp exit was too narrow, and the jet system liked to suck up rocks and gravel that close to shore, bearing in mind that the bow would be on the beach and the propulsion off the beach Hence the anchor. No water propulsion system has the power to drive off the shore in such shallow water. I really like the wheel thing. This and the anchor show some serious thought has been put into the design.
Would it even be of utility as a drone carrier or something? Fast, seaworthy. Ramp (hopefully rear hatch above the waterline….)


In the last photo you can see the hatch is above the waterline.
TAPS boat anyone?


The famous Combat Boat 90 (CB90H) and the WaterCat M12 are examples of fast landing craft that go bow first onto the beach, but they have the capacity to disembark personnel only by a narrow bow ramp, these are both smaller than the specs for the new OIC, the WaterCat M18 is closer in size and range, but still cannot carry small vehicles. And that is the “problem” the requirement for that larger, multipurpose cargo bay in the rear, with the rear door. If we wanted to land just troops the existing solutions would be good enough, if we want the flexibility to land small vehicles, including UGV’s or use that space as a launch spot for loitering munitions etc, then we need a new design solution.

Elliot Winch

Seems a little novel and fragile to me? Lots of moving parts and exposes the propulsion system towards the beach…what about wave dump, let alone potential nature barriers. Show me it working in swell and the wave breaks. Anchor snag is a huge risk also, that is if the anchors grabs at all.

Mark Wahl

I agree Elliot. It’s a great idea in principle, much akin to many of the products brought by MOD over the years, but in reality i believe it’ll fail drastically.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

It’s picking your place along the spectrum from logistics support to SF operations.

If you are wanting to put a multiple (or fewer) ashore you are better off with a helicopter perhaps using e-bikes for transport. But with cabs the size of Merlin you can soon shift a lot of men with not insignificant logistics.

If you ‘own’ the beach then there is nothing wrong with LC’s as we know them.

It is the tricky middle ground that is the problem.

Royal Marines aren’t special forces and there is need for mass to cross the beach.


Royal Marines are now designed special operations- capable though and so the missions sets will be completely in line with NATO SOF going forward.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

They are not special forces. Are you telling me a nod straight out of Lympstone is the equivalent of a man in the SBS? Even those in Mountain Leader and ISTAR Company don’t see themselves as SF.


EVG did not say Royal Marines are “special forces”. Mountain Leaders, Pathfinder Platoon, etc, are classified as “special operations-capable”, as EVG correctly said.

In addition, the Royal Marines contribute to Special Forces Support Group (SFSG), which is part of the UKSF directorate.

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)


I had seriously considered not commenting on this article…

My reticence was for the very simple reason we were were one of the very-many company’s initially asked by MOD / DASA to look into, and then apply for, their research funding last year. We looked at this one very carefully, then very-politely declined to go for it…

However I think it best that I do now reply…… …before any more taxpayers cash gets wasted……….and NL is anonymous….


Firstly, it has to be said that the images produced by Stellar Systems, (i.e. published here on NL) look exactly like the scientific boffins at DASA “ideally” wanted their really cutting-edge 21st century commando insertion craft to look like……they must be cock-a-hoop with getting this particular bid submitted……………

Thus it has an very-innovative cutting edge hull; futurist image (always looks good on a Powerpoint) and also a very-low profile for stealth (sorry, I must get into the habit of calling it “low observable” in the 21st century).

It also precisely matches the MOD/DASA specification requirements: so it is modular (obviously to be trendy); it can (only just) carry a 35 commandos – or alternatively – a fewer number of bootnecks and either a small rib or 2no MZR vehicles (Or “beach buggies” as the well-known Californian singer Brian Wilson used to call them, back in the 1960’s) .


N-a-B has, both directly above and also (interesting) in one of his much-earlier posts (last year on NL) given a very big hint as to what is going very-wrong here with this scientifically led DASA development programme.

The key word is “doctrine” (or rather, the lack of one…………..)

I reckon that N-a-B has been far too polite to say what he is really thinking about that little word “doctrine” ………, let me explain…..

The “doctrine” specified by DASA was for a small craft capable of transiting 150 mile sea crossing – and then delivering these commandos onto the beach in fighting-fit condition (i.e. all very-correctly reported here on NL).

Now, lets be clear about this key operational requirement (doctrine) = that is a distance of very-approximately Poole to Cherbourg return trip.

  • 150 nautical miles at a top speed of 25 knots is a “best-possible” voyage of six hours: so before all of the really critical factors that must always apply to navigation – like tides, weather, wind and inevitable delays – are taken into account……… the reality is that a 150 mile covert insertion will take much longer ……..

For a very simple comparison, even a big ship in reasonable weather – let me call it a Condor Ferry – takes several hours.

Thus not even the people smugglers use the Cherbourg to Poole route for their covert insertions: not even travelling one-way!

Overall, this conceptual design for a small craft lacks all five of the vitally-important things needed to make it an “effective weapon system”:

  1. Seaworthiness
  2. Stability
  3. A large medical locker for promethazine and scopolamine
  4. An even larger locker for the puke bags
  5. A set of heads – to use during the several hours any insertion will realistically take (either that, or nappies (note 2))

That is “probably why” this “very innovative craft” has been tested on what appears to me to be a remarkably calm day (even for the west end of the Solent!)


Before they embarked on this “little escapade”, aka a taxpayer-funded research project, somebody really ought to have pointed out to DASA’s scientific boffins that there is a very big different in “Wave Heights” between Inshore, Coastal and Oceanic sea conditions.

Any naval architect – key hint in the first word – could have told them that!

Fundamentally there are only two possible choices when engineering / designing a beach landing craft with a relatively-shallow draft:

  • Go relatively, large – and thus get the seaworthiness and stability which is essential for a long range insertion by a self-propelled vessel.
  • Go quite small – and thus accept that a bigger ship will need to be launching the small boat(s) and also that the bigger ship will have to approach relatively close inshore before launching the m…..

This CIC – like several other “concepts” which have been developed by UK industry working to the very-same DASA specification – might ultimately end up becoming very useful as the Sandbank’s ferry. Given how expensive that very short hop is charged at, by carrying two Chelsea Tractor SUV’s at a time, this CIC might even repay its full development costs “to date”.

Regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)

Note 1.

Of course, the very-obvious alternative is to arrange fight an enemy only when the weather on their pleasure beach’s is “exceptionally calm”: so a nice, flat calm and also sunny day throughout the entire 150 mile “high speed yet also covert” approach run…………..

Note 2.

Low observable nappies, those suitable to be worn below the very latest models of FCF camouflage gear (i.e. the all-in-one suits now being developed by the UK Future Solider programme), are ones that do not produce a VPL (Visible Panty Line) in the commando’s trousers. This programme is another ongoing DASA project………..obviously one I am not allowed to speak about here on NL….. on the grounds I might potentially jeopardise the UK’s national security…..

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Royal Marines have always carried out special operations. There was no need to state it. That he did say it says to me he thinks Royal Marines are SF. So yes Simple Sean he did say it.

Marines belonging to SFSG aren’t SF forces either.

Another non-post that says nothing. Just looking for anyway to have a go aren’t you? It wouldn’t surprise me if Evg wasn’t your sock puppet.

Your first post in this thread once again reveals you know next to nothing about the topic. Kedge anchors have been in use for barges for centuries. Never be any real problems with them.


EVG’s post is there in black and white, at no point does he say the RM are special forces, which is what you claim.
It’s pathetic lying about what someone has said in an attempt to cover-up that you don’t know the difference between “special forces” and “special operations-capable”. But it’s incredibly stupid to state that lie when the proof against it is directly above.

Conspiracy theorists all exhibit paranoia, so I’m not surprised that you make the unfounded allegation that EVG is a “sock-puppet”. A simple comparison of writing styles disproves that, and I’m sure Navy Lookout would delete if the IP Address used were the same.

Last edited 27 days ago by Sean

Oh dear oh dear… how did WW3 suddenly erupt


So we are all paranoid , except yourself ?

Mark P

The remote weapon system, will that be fitted for but not with?


It doesn’t always need one so probably

Armchair Admiral

Whereas I might have agreed in the past about needing an RWS, with the advent of the drone menace, I would like to think that they DO need them, for that eventuality alone. AA

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

The Turks have floated the idea of a ‘landing craft submarine’ to carry 60 pax to the shore.

LCSUB Specifications:

  • Length: 29.9 m
  • Beam: 5.2 m
  • Height: 4.65 m
  • Displacement: 180 tons
  • Crew: 5 + 8
  • Marines: 60
  • Propulsion System: Electric
  • comment image.webp
Irate Taxpayer (Peter)

Whale Island Zookeeper

Interestingly, this very modern Turkish Submersible is, in terms of its length, beam, draught and especially its very low profile = all very similar in its overall size to a WW2-era German S-Boat / Schnell Boat.

These S-Boats were excellent sea-boats, especially for their small size!

(Note. These were often called E-Boats by WW2 era Brexiteers and by the famous elite unit of the, now very sadly disbanded, Warmington-on-Sea Home Guard).

The German’s used a few of them in the English Channel and North Sea. However most of their S- Boats were deployed in the Baltic, mostly to cause havoc amongst Soviet shipping.

After 1945, the best of those few remining S-Boats (i.e. those which were found to be still useable) were requisitioned by the RN: then used by Matelots in the Baltic Sea: mainly for reconnaissance and covert insertions into, guess what, along that very-hostile coastline of Soviet territory!

regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)


Wrong way round wrt to S-boat numbers, by far the greatest numbers were deployed along the channel ports and North Sea to disrupt English coastal shipping (they were based from Norway down to the bottom of France, in the Baltic, Black Sea and Med).
As the war progressed, numbers of S-boats were transferred from the Baltic to the Med via the European waterways.
The Italians and Yugoslavians operated their own versions of the S-boats.

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)


A fair cop!

Frankly, I should have proof-read it properly, before pressing the button with “post comment”.

My offending paragraph should have read:

“The German’s used many S-Boats in the English Channel and North Sea. However later in the war, some of their S-Boats were deployed in the Baltic and Black Sea, to cause havoc amongst Soviet shipping”.

However, my key point, made at the end is still 100% correct. They proved to be very useful for several years after WW2; for covert insertions along the Baltic coastline into enemy-held territory.

regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)

PS The moral of this tale: I must remember that quite a few experts read NL….


No worries, very interesting that they used captured S-boats for those post war activities instead of our own MTBs. They had a very good range/speed for the day, highly reliable, obviously a better option then our own offerings?


something to do with the bow design, so I read. would need to dig the book out again

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)


Firstly: I am very pleased that you have accepted my ever-so-humble and grovelling apology…..

Secondly. You are quite correct (again!). Post WW2, the RN preferred using several “recently-captured” German built S-boats over their own purpose-built British MTB/MGB’s for their covert work in the Baltic Sea.

The captured S-boats were stripped out of most of their interiors; then the boat’s engine’s were tuned and modified (by German boatbuilders Lurssen).

In summary, the five key issues for that choice were better low observability (2no) and also much-better engines (3no), so, in no particular order, the advantages of the S-boats were:

  • Low Noise: S-Boats discharged their engine exhaust’s underwater.
  • Wake: unlike the planning hulls of the British Motor Torpedo / Gun Boats (MTB /MGB), the S-boat’s well-rounded displacement hull produced a very “low wake”, even at their very high /top speed of 40 knots. This made them very very difficult to spot visually, especially at night (i.e. as the naked eye spots the movement of the “white water wake” first).That is why the small British coastal boats had to be fitted with radar sets: as it had been found during experimental trials that even putting the RN crew onto an all-vegan “NBC diet” conclusively proved that the RN’s MTB crews could not spot an S-Boat visually at night.
  • Reliability. Even today, one simply can’t beat a Mercedes-built “Deutsch Sprung Dur Technik” designed engine for its reliability.
  • Fuel consumption. Being a diesel, the fuel consumption was much lower on the S-Boats, thus giving them a much longer effective combat range.
  • Flammability. The German boats used diesel, however the British MTB/MGB boats used very inflammable petrol (Diesel is is far less inflammable, especially if/when a fuel tank is hit by tracer rounds)

If you want to read a bit more about this topic, the best source is a very unusual one: a best selling paperback (now out of print) from the 1980’s.

The RN officer who ran these covert trips into Russia was John Harvey Jones (later Sir), who – obviously after he had left the Navy – later became chairman of Britain’s largest and most-profitable company ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries) in the 1970’s (note 2). Later, in the mid 1980’s, he became the presenter of a very popular, much-loved and long-running BBC 1 TV series called “Troubleshooter”.

One of John H-J’s books in the Troubleshooter series is the autobiography “Getting it Together: Memoirs of a Trouble-shooter”

This has excellent account of how he worked with the original German S-Boat boatbuilders (Lursseen Brothers in Hamburg and Wilhelmshaven) just after the end of the war: to modify those boats for “Interesting Ops” against the Russian’s. The biggest issue they faced was that, as war reparations, the Russians had taken all of the Germans’ dockyard equipment back to Mother Russia: right down to the well-made German paperclips! (However no details are given of the actual ops themselves: which appear to be landing MI6 spies on the coast).

Regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)

Note 1. The TLA of an NBC diet means “Nothing But Carrots”

Note 2. Can you image if – for Britain’s’ largest and most-profitable company’s – that one of these new-fangled creative branding agencies came with a name like Imperial Chemical Industries today”!


Covert program , deniability by using non western allies equipment

Peter S

If the assumption is correct that any landing on a defended shore is now simply too hazardous, I don’t see how this design could overcome that danger. For insertion of a small unit, something much less observable like the USN Seals Sealion or even, as someone has mentioned, a proper submersible would be needed. Travelling at maximum speed from a mothership 100 miles offshore would mean a journey of approx 4 hours, followed by a slow reversing manoeuvre to offload troops. How is this going to avoid detection and countermeasures?
For landing on an undefended shoreline, existing platforms are probably adequate.

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

comment image

This picture was taken during a raid on Taliban IED factory. Note the amount of equipment carried. Note there are two Chinooks in the picture which suggests at least a company sized force was landed. Numbers are needed. A stop line will be established on one side of the objective to kettle the enemy in. There will be fire support group. A reserve and FP element. And finally a force to assault on to the objective. Plus TAC HQ, FAC’s and miscellaneous others. This is is a raid not a SF operation. The latter would have been be there before to collect intelligence.

Phil Chadwick

That is a really excellent concept. I’m very impressed by the speed and maneuverability, the way it lands on a beach and goes back out to see again using the wheels and the anchor/haul method. Really promising. I know this is a demonstrator, but I can certainly see how the upscaled 19 metre production version could be very useful and versatile.


The US Army – note not USMC- has this as its next ‘light’ Manoeuvre Support vessel (MSV)
Designed in conjunction with UKs BMT ! Its 117ft/35m
much higher capability than the RM requirement which seems to be too small, even when scaling up the 1/3 size prototype

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Another lost opportunity was the USMC aborted Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle which was to replace the venerable AAV. It was too much vehicle to replace the AAV, though the Chinese seem to have a vehicle that sits between the slow AAV and the much more complicated EFV. To me the EFV could have offered a range alternatives for landing teams for raids beyond traditional slow traditional LC and the fast but fragile helicopter. One vehicle could carry marines ashore and then continue on for an extended period before returning back to mother. No need to load or off load vehicles. No need to watch your way home fly off for a future RV; too fragile and complicated to land to be concealed easily. A troop of 4 EFV carry one troop would have plenty of space for stores and perhaps e-bikes. Easy to camouflage during the day. Significant organic fire support. Better comms. Better conditions in the field than a bivvy! They could go either be used in the raid itself or a base or a jumping off point for raid on foot (or bike).

comment image


Japan and Korea continue to invest in development of similar vehicles, armoured amphibious assault type “personnel carriers” that can do 30 kts and have the required range. It is a very difficult requirements set, range, speed, protection and amphibiosity!

Whale Island Zoo Keeper

Ekranoplans would be just too noisy. Though you wouldn’t need as an amphib.

comment image

comment image


The answer is already here and was invented in the UK years ago.

It is called the hovercraft.

You can find them on the equivalent US amphibious force units.

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)


Sorry: wrong!

No hovercraft in currently existence meets the DASA requirements for their commando insertion craft CIC (i.e. published last year).

The current USMC hovercraft (LCAC) would fail to meet their very detailed specification on no fewer than three key points: too noisy; too short a range; too large.

regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)


If it good enough for the US it is good enough

Noise- it depends on the mission. You want quiet, use RIBs with quiet engines.
You want an invasion (Falklands) it will not matter. The amphibs launch below the horizon and the hovercraft are not only exposed for a shorter period but can land on steeper gradients and keep going and not sit on the beach waiting for a mission to complete.

No BARVs required.

Range- Long range is a liability in any small vessel. You are not going to move long distances unless everyone has very resistent stomachs-and it is dead calm like on a lake
Hovercraft have a better ride.

Size-you can build them large or small. You want to carry a Challenger you want a big one. A platoon of troops -go smaller. No difference in concept from LCMs/LCVP

The only real drawback is the operating cost particularly the cost of fuel

That is probably the reason it does not meet specifications. If you want cheap you draw the specification for cheap

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)


My original post was written six day ago. I started off with these words:

“I had seriously considered not commenting on this article…”

I made exactly the same key points as you have just repeated here – about the key design considerations should have been those of payload; effective combat range; anticipated sea conditions and especially the need to avoid for copious quantities of sick-bags.

Those key issues should all have been considered right at the very start of the R&D process…….

So, before you reply, I suggest you reread it!

(mainly because I believe that both you and me are in 100% agreement !!!)


  1. Can I suggest that you now try to design, on the back of one fresh A4-sized white envelope, an assault hovercraft which is very quiet; is almost invisible to radar; is only 2m high; and is capable of taking a payload of thirty-five commandos (or fewer: but then also carrying either two MZR vehicles or one rib). That is the easy bit.
  2. BUT – DASA then want to see proof that your innovative hovercraft is capable of travelling 150 miles for a covert insertion; in a rough sea state; and without the need for any sick-bags! That is the hard bit!
  • If you can prove points one and two – using copious amounts of paperwork and several PowerPoint presentations – you will receive in the post (second class) your seven pieces of silver from DASA’s £1 billion per annum R&D slush fund.


Accordingly, as I clearly spelt out in my original post, I believe (i.e. like you!) that the commando insertion craft (i.e. as described here on NL) is being developed to a “very-flawed” concept of operations.

That one key issue was spelt out in my original post, which is repeated verbatim here:

“The “doctrine” specified by DASA was for a small craft capable of transiting 150 mile sea crossing – and then delivering these commandos onto the beach in fighting-fit condition”.

My key point: the DASA doctrine is wrong!

None of the key design issues have been properly considered by the scientific boffins at DASA (=Buffoons).

Thus, in my ever-so-humble humble opinion, DASA are spending large sums of taxpayer’s money on developing a small assault boat that is, inherently, very-flawed in its entire intent.

In short, DASA’s CIC will not be suitable for its intended purpose: not even at an asking price of just under £10M a unit!

regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)

Random Commentator

Definitely an improvement on the LCVP for assault work but how often are LCVPs used for that? Do we need a cheap commercial LCVP to land aid/supplies or evacuate British citizens from beaches? This thing can’t land a 3-ton truck. I think we need a high-end assault boat like this and a second LCM-style cheap commercial option.


Well the LCVPs are purely personnel carriers from what I can tell, we do have the old LCUs though which can carry a whole challenger, or fill any of the other roles you mentioned. Hope we either replace, or at least retain them

Irate Taxpayer (Peter)


Like yourself, I personally think that there will definitely be need to retain both the LCVP and also LCU’s in UK military service: even if the “near future” doctrine / concepts of operations now being developed by the RN/RMC means that these small ships are not to be used during any first-wave assault against an enemy shore/beaches.

Firstly, as you quite-rightly say, these two types of craft both have considerable utility to land heavy loads over the beaches.

Secondly is a point that nobody has yet mentioned during their these postings on Navy Lookout: that the LCU’s and LCVP’s might be very useful in fresh water….

Now I know that going “off-topic” here on NL is going to be “a bit contentious, especially because:

  • The Royal Navy and Royal Marines commando’s only do salt water.
  • British Army engineers only do fresh water….

However many of the (fresh water) rivers in eastern Europe are exceptionally wide, often a mile or more.

Therefore, in the recent war in Ukraine, whenever traditional military engineers have launched either traditional steel ribbon or floating bridges over those wide rivers, those fixed installations have quickly proved to be exceptionally vulnerable to heavy enemy artillery fire (often spotted by drones).

According, even if the LCU’s LCVP are retired from “front-line” RN service, they will still be very useful for deployment by the UK military, both for logistics-over-the-shore and also during wide-river crossings in support of the British Army.

We should not forget that wars are, ultimately, won by logistics (note 1).

As a British Army general said recently: “one cannot cyber your way across a river”

Regards Peter (Irate Taxpayer)

Note 1,. Apparently this comment about the importance of logistics in all wars was first said by the Frenchman Napoleon. His words were first spoken just before he lost to Nelson at Trafalgar and, a decade later, just before he lost to Wellington = i.e. when Boney finally met his Waterloo.

Random Commentator

The M3 Alligators can form ferries to do this.

Random Commentator

The LCUs are restricted to the Bays and Bulwarks – having something a bit larger than the LCVPs (which could carry 2 landrovers) which could be carried on the deck of almost any reasonably sized ship with a suitable crane would be a big benefit to flexibility.