RFA Argus sailed from Plymouth this afternoon on a long-planned deployment to the Caribbean. Equipped with a 100-bed medical facility she may be called upon to assist British Overseas Territories dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. French, and possibly Dutch vessels are also being sent to the region to support their territories. Co-ordination between the naval forces is likely but this is not a formal joint, EU or NATO operation.
Supporting British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean is a permanent commitment for the Royal Navy which has maintained a presence in the region in various forms for centuries. Here we look at how the modern navy deploys its limited resources to fulfil this task.
In February 2019, the then Defence Minister, Gavin Williamson, announced the plan to rapidly procure vessels around which two ‘Littoral Strike Groups’ would be formed. Here we look further at the Future Littoral Strike Ship (FLSS) concept and at the design developed by Prevail Partners as one of the potential candidates to meet this requirement.
Back in 2014, we published an article suggesting that a small portion of the generous overseas aid budget be used to construct and operate a British hospital ship. The idea received a very positive response and after some work behind the scenes, now has the support of Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development. Here we take a more nuanced and updated look at some of the options and benefits of the proposal.