It is an uncertain time for the Royal Navy’s amphibious warfare capability (now called ‘Littoral Strike’). A changing battlefield environment is driving a significant evolution of operating doctrine while at the same time, the Royal Marines and their amphibious platforms are potentially under threat from looming defence cuts.
Young engineering graduates from across the UK defence industry have been working with the Royal Marines to develop new solutions for the challenges of future commando and amphibious operations. Some of the concepts may appear to be science fiction fantasies but it is important for the Corps to explore every possibility as it seeks to develop and innovate.
In this photo essay we witness an amphibious night raid conducted during the early phases of exercise Joint Warrior.
The Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has announced today that HMS Albion will be deployed to join HMS Sutherland, already in the Pacific region. The primary purpose of this deployment is to help enforce UN sanctions against the North Korean regime which is attempting to continue prohibited trade by sea.
Government is seriously considering axing HMS Albion and Bulwark, severely curtailing UK amphibious capability. Recent reports suggest the new defence secretary is resisting the cuts and is in a battle with the Treasury for new funding. If the Treasury needs reminding, speaking before the House of Commons Defence Select Committee this week, the former First Sea Lord Admiral Zambellas said: “Nobody in the world of complex warfare thinks a reduction in sophisticated amphibiosity is a good idea”. The LPDs (Landing Platform, Dock) Albion and Bulwark are the key ships needed for credible amphibious capability.
to On 11th April the MoD spin masters announced that the “Royal Marines are to be restructured in line with a growing Royal Navy”. Only around 200 regular Marines will go and there will be no redundancies. There had been grave concern and recent media speculation that up to 2,000 marines were going to be cut so this announcement is something of a relief.
In part 1 of this article we argued that HMS Ocean (LPH) should be retained and then replaced. If this does not happen the official plan is for the RN to operate the Queen Elizabeth class (QEC) aircraft carriers (CVF) in the LPH role. Here we look at how this might work in practice and why this solution is flawed.