Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Unfortunately Argus won’t be replaced by MROSS in 2024. The National Shipbuilding Strategy doesn’t even plan to decide on MROSS until 2025, so if contracts get signed in 2026 and it’s not held up in some mammoth ministry competition, I wouldn’t expect to see the first MROSS in service until 2029. The order of play according to the strategy is National Flagship, then converting Lyme Bay, then FSSS and MCM/hydro, bringing in Boris’s Folly as the priority while gapping useful capabilities.

I don’t know if it’s possible to add a well deck to a double hulled tanker, but converting Wave Ruler to be the new Litoral Strike Ship instead of one of the Bays and Wave Knight to be an Argus replacement might be a better use of resources that having them sitting doing nothing. It would be nice to have auxiliary oilers available in case of war (I can’t believe I’m calling them nice to haves), but taking a Bay out of service while the Waves are laid up is even worse.


Perhaps the National Flagship can accompany the CSG deployment and provide stores support if FT Vic isn’t available!!
Agree it’s an utter joke prioritize NF before FSSS. Then again, that largely depends on where FSSS is going to be built. If abroad, they may well be in service first.


Think about what a stores ship needs to function and what’s likely to be fitted to HMS BJ. It’s a nonstarter.

Spell Checker

I have a strong suspicion that Deep32 might have been employing something called a sense of humour. Is it something you were FFBNW?


May well be but round here I’ve seen much much madder proposals made in all seriousness.


It was meant as a bit of humour, well sarcasm actually.?.



Don’t you have enough on your plate correcting everyone on facebook?


RFA Cake ?

Gavin Gordon

If the National Flagship ceased to be heard of again nobody would miss it, apart from Boris ‘Part Machine’ Johnson.


I suspect the only think that will put the RFA back on a good trajectory is a big (15-20%) pay increase. But as the government seams determined to hold down civil service pay as a whole this will be difficult to achieve. The U.K. has the numbers of maritime workers it’s just that to few of them want to work for the RFA.


There’s a lot of talk in the Merch that the RFA is becoming intolerable to work for, for various reasons so im told. Professionals don’t want to be treated like children and the leave ratio and wages as not as attractive in the RFA. The prestige the RFA is considered utterly irrelevant, even more so with the conditions of service. Food for thought. I doubt the higher powers will change course though.

Tony Hendley

RFA Tiderace, is FOST tanker but also CTF 320 and has been around UK and Northern Europe doing RAS’S with RN and NATO units as well as escorting Russian warships as the RN doesn’t have enough ships!!


What’s the difference between CTF, JTF and CJTF? Are they different militaries terms for the same thing?


CTF = Combined Task Force (or sometimes Commander Task Force)
JTF = Joint Task Force
CJTF = Combined Joint Task Force

Task Force is an adhoc military formation created for a declared purpose. Joint means multi service, combined normally means multinational. So a Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) may contain elements of air, sea and land services from multiple nations.


Thank you. The mists have been lifted.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jon

It will bounce along slowly degrading. If the RN wants to operate in the Indian Ocean we need a bigger RFA. And perhaps one with a sharper edge too; that is one that can look after itself in terms of self defence. It would be nice to see the larger RFA’s with SeaCeptor, a CIWS, and some basic small arms training, but it won’t happen.


Don’t they normally have an RN party embarked when in “difficult” waters.


Where did I say they didn’t?

RFA deck offices can do the PWO course…..


The extanct 20mm, 30mm cannons, miniguns, machine guns already on RFA’s has been happening in the real world consistently for many years with very well trained crew- rfa that deploy have Phalanx too. Don’t underestimate the RFA’s ability to defend itself. Have a google at Vietnam and miniguns, frightening things.

Last edited 1 year ago by johnny5
Naval Newbie

Do the Wave-class and Tide-class perform the same function? They’re both fuel replenishment classes aren’t they? Has the Tide-class basically replaced the Wave-class, or does the Wave-class provide some different capabilities?


Naval Newbie

Thanks for the explanation.

If the Wave-class were to be replaced, would it likely be with additional Tide-class ships, or something with a different use-case (e.g., similar to the joint support ships some navies use that are capable of both solid and fuel replenishment)?


May be but the RN currently has a solid support ships with limited tanking ability and pure oilers. It will be interesting to see if the chosen FSS design maintains limited taker capability or not.
I suspect the RFA won’t be ordering new tankers till the mid 30’s. If they need more than 4 Tides can provide then the Waves have years of service left in them.


The strategy talks about a replacement auxiliary oiler coming into service around 2037, too far away to have heard any detail. The Tides would still be reasonably new so I’d guess it would be a replacement for the Waves.

Just because these ships are called oilers or tankers, doesn’t mean they can’t also carry food and other solid supplies. Similarly, Fort Victoria carries a substantial quantity of liquids. There’s a difference in amounts/proportion of solid stores. The Waves have holds for up to 500 m3 of dry cargo, transferrable at sea via helicopter. There’s also space on deck for eight 20′ refrigerated containers. Fort Victoria carries 3,000 m3 of dry stores and a similar amount of munitions.

The new Fleet Solid Support ships will also carry munitions in quantity as well as aircraft spares and the like. The Tides do have magazines, but I think they’re for onboard helicopter resupply rather than replenishing other ships at sea.


aircraft spares

I banged my head once on a case containing a Sea King gearbox in a Fort…….Hurt it did…………

Fred the Frog

well, that probably explains it then.






depleting faster then the main fleet ( which does have replacements for most of the vessels) despite the fact that no RFA and other support vessels in the main RN means no RN overal


What’s with the giant toilet roll fwd of the flight deck? Are they making a delivery to a certain ship?


That’s the temporary hangar. When originally purchased there was no need to house a helicopter. As the RN shrunk and RFA took up some patrol tasking an organic helicopter capability became desirable.


Isnt that enough reason to ensure in built helicopter capacity for every naval ship and auxiliary from larger patrol vessel and up


Flight decks are important, but not hangars not always. The Bays were purchased to support amphibious operations. Even light operations consume huge amounts of supplies. That hangar takes away deck space. The Bays get used for a variety of tasks because like all ships have high utility. Even having the space to place a hangar is an indication of that. But no they didn’t need them for their designed purpose. Ghalad II had a surprising amount of helicopter capacity FWIW.

comment image

As I have said here before that is what surprised me most about the B1 Rivers. The Castles were purchased because the Islands had no aviation capacity. The helicopter at sea is nearly as important as the small supply ship or boat these days. We then buy a class of ships 500 tonnes larger than the Castles sans flight deck even though that was a design option. Not really need much for fisheries protection but for other tasks very useful. Never mind just giving a nice clear area for winching. We saved a little and lost a degree of utility.


This is an excellent photo, that begs the question why we can’t enclose the areas between the cranes and even then have an extendable gantry crane that sits around said hanger, this is something I look at even on the Karel doorman which has a lot of aviation capability, but could have more if it again built up around the cranes it could have a 240’ joint flight and replenishment ops room above the hanger, dependent upon what cranes are built in.

let’s hope the new RFA ships take the Karel doorman design forward, perhaps with an additional deck and some of the innovations of the Canadian GLAM design.

we can certainly have 10 joint amphibious, logistics ships and lane meters can be used for containerised solid stores or ship to shore connectors instead of large landing craft that need a well instead of the beach the KD already has.

I would personally like to see all large support ships built and supported out of CL just to keep everyone honest.


It’s all about the people – and to a lesser extent the fact that the ships we’re struggling to procure are far more complex than meets the eye.

There have been persistent shortages in certain RFA branches for years now – largely caused by pay, but also demographics. That has led to some of the lay-ups, which then come back to bite, because the argument to recommission them becomes more difficult.

FSS has suffered both from the complex nature of the actual ship required and the combination of lack of UK build capacity being obscured by a political campaign to collapse the original competition, which at least had two worked up design and build proposals (neither from Team UK) submitted. It remains to be seen whether the current competition manages to match that.

PCRS is just difficult. No-one wants to build a ship specifically for that and keep wibbling about modular solutions. Trouble is, they don’t sit easily in that space. It isn’t a bunch of containers…..


I think the RFA’s culture has suffered more than the RN’s from ‘progressiveness’.

I think one too many think Argus is a complete hospital. And not just a few specialist areas deep down in the hull. I do wonder about that spiral ramp in a lumpy sea…….


What exactly is wrong with treating modern people in a modern way? The RFA is needing to recruit the 20/30 year olds of today not of 1950.


It does treat ‘modern people’ in a ‘modern way’.

Yet they still don’t have enough personnel.

Last edited 1 year ago by X

That’s made one or five in the office laugh.


How expensive did Argus and Diligence turn out when they were bought and refitted post Falklands? Could they be called procurement success stories and if so why do we seem reluctant to follow suit now?


It would be very difficult to call Argus a procurement success.

From memory the contract price for conversion (including buying the ship) was £45M or so in the mid-80s. The actual price ended up being £70-odd M.

Another H&W success…….


Interesting! It often seems to be taken for granted that buying commercial vessels and converting them is quicker/cheaper than building from scratch. Guess it all depends on the requirement that’s being fulfilled and the choice of commercial vessel / shipyard to do the modifications.


The only people who take it for granted tend to struggle with things like what a ship looks like.

Here’s a beaut. Project Resolve (which delivered the conversion of MV Asterix for the RCN) cost around $CAN600M, with some support included. That’s £360M in real money, for a tanker with broadly half the capacity of a Tide.

We got four purpose-built tankers for around £140M each, that have twice the capacity of Asterix. Yes there were some issues, but relatively minor in the great scheme of things.

Go figure.


Asterix looks like a “political pay off” to help a struggling yard in a politically important area of Canada.
Nothing like like will happen with the U.K. solid support ships, honest!


A commercial tanker bought when completed by a South Korean Shipyard for a later conversion at a reasonable cost as only a naval oiler is the HMAS Sirius

Asterix is much much more than a tanker as even the crew requirement ( 150) and surge capacity of 350 more in a humanitarian role means much bigger cabin spaces than a container ship would have. Then theres all the other stores and fuels in a container hull ( not tanker). The conversion costs are understood to be $300 mill mark. The rest is for operations and lease costs over 5 years
But thats cheap compared to the 2 other new builds they contracted for
‘Under the noncombatant element of 2010 National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS, now “NSS”), Seaspan Shipyard of North Vancouver is building two Queenston[ Now Procteur class]] class Joint Support Ships (resupply vessels) for the RCN at a budget of $2.6 billion. ‘
This was based on german Berlin class
RANs two replenishment/oilers also cost in the multi billion $ category

Last edited 1 year ago by Duker

Sirius has terminal issues with her flight deck. Not a good example.

Asterix should never have been started, but if you know the very chequered history of JSS it’s understandable why they had to do something. I very much doubt 300M Canadian covered the conversion cost. Not least because the pressure heads for fluid tanks vice containers would have been different.

Short version – auxiliaries aren’t as easy as people think they are.


The total project cost for Supply and Stalwart was 1.0046 billion AUD in then year (2018 I think) dollars; and certainlynot in the “multi billion” category. Source:

There are a couple of issue with that (the first ship was close to delivery in 2020, way past DDR) but the figures are correct

And they are certainly not “just” tankers.

Last edited 1 year ago by Spoz
Supportive Bloke

That is because they are ‘just’ tankers.

If they were fully muti role stores ships then the costs would be much higher with the magazine, cold store and all the extra protection and fire fighting clobber that goes with that. At the very least more functions = more systems on a platform = more complexity = more cost.

There is also a bit of me that wonders if something as complex could be made in a commercial yard? I have no idea as to the answer as my knowledge is 20 years out of date.


“Commercial” yards can build extraordinarily complex ships. ROV support vessels, drill ships, pipelayers, OCVs etc. It’s actually down to the capability of the yard technical departments – in particular design engineering, purchasing, test and commissioning. The shipbuilding team also have to be used to building ships with both high levels and extent of outfit. All of this is down to the people in the yard.

If you want an example, look at Swan Hunter. The yard successfully built Fort George – much quicker and to a higher standard than H&W built Fort Vic.

Yet ten years later, after it had closed and reopened some years later with a completely different technical team and largely different workforce, it dropped a bollock on the Bays, which are actually simpler ships.

The name on the shipyard gate is irrelevant. It’s ALWAYS the people in it.


Sad to see the RFA wither away. The terrible irony is if it wasn’t for spectacularly short sighted and meager penny pinching the RFA could still be operating Largs Bay and Fort George today which were relatively spring chickens when dumped in 2010!

In addition how much money does laying up the 2 Waves really save???

I remain a supporter of the big ticket stuff like the carriers and Astute’s but it’s sad to see billions upon billions go into the more high profile projects whilst so many smaller/cheaper capabilities are laid up or left to slowly fade in a desperate attempt to balance the books.

Argus and Diligence could have been replaced by refitted commercial vessels years ago rather than given expensive refits and then dumped or run on without any plan for replacement.

Not just the RFA. The RN has laid up Echo and is making glacial pace on MROSS and alleged MCM mother-ships!


Fix the RFA manpower issues first then think about ship types/numbers. If Argus is to get an unexpected extension then in the current situation something else has to go or go into layup.


You can’t run ships if you haven’t got the manpower to safely crew them. That manpower doesn’t grow on trees.

So its irrelevant to speculate on Fort George, Largs Bay and the Waves. They wouldn’t be running now either.

Last edited 1 year ago by N-a-B

Fair point. Manpower is clearly the key! Why were the 2 older Forts retained instead of Fort George (and Largs Bay for that matter)?

Can it be said in hindsight that ditching the older Forts and retaining both younger vessels as well as an ever in demand Bay would have been a better trade off in 2010?


2010 was all about cash.
I suspect the solution chosen was the one that needed the least amount of short term cash to implement. The new coalition government in 2010 was all amount reducing government debt by cutting short term spending irrespective of longer term consequences.


That’s pretty much it. Perceived running costs of the AOR were higher than AFSH. Plus Fort George was due a refit, so you got to save that as well.


It’s on the smaller and cheaper capabilities on which the naval service is built.

The carriers made sense with the bigger navy and RFA of the day when the project was signed off. Not so much now.


Why don’t the carrier make sense now? The RN going forward is built around a carrier task force as it’s main surface combat force.
The rest is deterrent, anti sub warfare north of the U.K. and worldwide patrol/presence ops outside of major conflict.

Fred the Frog

It’s just his small minded opinion, as usual. Typing stuff on here for no other reason than to just type stuff on here with no actual or educated reason. It’s the same on most sites though, a few regulars just have to post comments on every thread because they think they are important. ( today Cam, I’m 27 )


Because the West doesn’t have enough escorts, submarines, and auxiliaries. And when the balloon goes up it will be those we miss an add on capability that the West’s main power has in depth. How many oilers does it take to keep a carrier on station? And support ships? And escorts to make sure those are safe? If you think the Russians and Chinese are deterred by the RN you are deluded. We haven’t been able to operate a carrier in depth since the early 70’s. Our navy is too small now. And the navy we depend on to do things is shrinking too. Another Top Turmps post from you.


We do have allies you know. The core of a carrier force my be British but that doesn’t mean all the elements have to always be British.


The West is short of escorts. The West is short of submarines.

There was a time we would have a frigate on station and it would be relived on station. That doesn’t happen now. We gap tasks. We send RFA’s. When the US deploys a carrier battle group it deploys. It replaces the on station carrier. There is a full fleet train in place. A fleet train that doesn’t luckily have to support a conventional fleet carrier because a conventional fleet tanker needs lots of tankers. We don’t have the tankers to keep a conventional fleet carrier on station. And though the US has spare capacity the majority of them are tied up supporting deployed groups and groups working up. Never mind the LHx’s. We can send a carrier off to the Far East in peace time but war would be very different.

And then we have this obsession with ‘carrier strike’. The USN has capacity to do this. It has huge capacity to fire cruise missiles. Our few F35’s and penny packet Tomahawk launches all relying on US target information are neither here or there. If the UK was serious about ‘carrier strike’ it would be aiming for fast jet air groups of 3 squadrons and they would have spent real money on Crowsnest and we would have twice the number of Tides and FSS would have been sorted. As the Russians are demonstrating we are now in the age of high speed long range missiles. These out range F35b and are much faster and are much cheaper and would be a better option for a minor power like the UK.

The Invincible’s supported the Fleet, the Fleet wasn’t built around them. Though the submarines have more of the budget the whole surface fleet has been twisted out of shape to support the carriers. We have thrown away our world leading ASW capability, our world leading MCM capability, our world leading light amphibious capability, and it seems new our world leading hydrophilic capabilty. For what? So we can ape a capability that our primary ally has many times over. Back in the day when we 32 decent escorts, 12 SSN’s, and a credible light amphibious capability to big aviation support ships made sense. As a support. But all this ‘carrier strike’ is at best school boy fantasy and at worst the babbling of the ignorant. A carrier doesn’t sit in splendid isolation. It is supported by a myriad of systems. Systems we use to supply to the US. Systems we no longer have.


Things change. You may not like it, or think it for the best but they have changed.
The RN is now all about carrier strike, not about frigates on a station. Other than peacetime patrol/presence and nuclear deterrent the RN is all in on its new strategy.


The RN isn’t about carrier strike. That’s my point. All your comment says to me is that you have little no real understanding of the topic. All you are interested in specs of weapons. There is more to sea power than that.

Fred the Frog

Crying here now.


First I’m definitely not a “weapons porn” person. I’m much more interested in defence as part of overall national political policy.

Second the RN is all about carrier strike if HMG says it is. To me it’s clear that the government sees the carrier force as an element in their post Brexit diplomatic/trade policy and they see that policy as more important than the pure defence policy.
You may not like that, people in the RN may not like that but as government policy it’s what will happen.

Fred the Frog

” A minor power like the UK ” ? ” the babbling of the ignorant “, I rest my case X.


Short of escorts and submarines against what threat though?

It’s not like the Red Banner Northern Fleet has been reborn and is a rampaging through the Atlantic. If one uses a public domain source like Wiki, the list of ships across all four Fleets is somewhat underwhelming.25 or so ocean going surface combatants and less than 50 submarines – many of which are in parlous state.

They may be increasing their activity and their newer units may be getting more capable, but it’s still a far cry from the literally hundreds of SSN/SSK that used to be there.

Likewise, it’s not like there are clouds of Backfires bristling with AS6 any more either.

They have lost as much – if not more – mass than we have.


If you think that will be enough, you might want to check out France’s Polaris 21 Exercise from Nov/Dec last year. The attrition rate of a naval battle is incredible. The naval component centred around the CdG carrier battle group arraged against an opposition group centred on a Mistrale (which included a Type 45). With 20 ships participating, two frigates were sunk and another two knocked out in the first 15 minutes. More than a third of the ships were sunk/disabled by the end of the battle.

The French equivalent of the Defence Select Committee concluded in a recent report drawing lessons from the Exercise that France requires 18 first class escorts as well as corvettes. This mirrors our Committee’s call for a doubling of escorts. The French expect to have 15 first class escorts and hope for 6+ corvettes (to replace their patrol frigates). We expect to have 14 first-class escorts and 6+ GP frigates.

Their comments on FC/ASW make sober reading

Polaris has highlighted … the inadequacy of the French Exocet missile compared to other more modern missiles. Furthermore, cooperation with the British has so far been hampered by divergent military-technical analyses and industrial interests. Simulations carried out by the Navy and the DGA in the field of anti-surface warfare show that stealth, so much vaunted by the British, cannot by itself make a real difference in naval combat.The stealthy anti-ship missile is indeed detectable as soon as it passes the horizon, even low over the water. High speed and maneuverability, on the other hand, are far more credible factors for operational superiority and lethality.”

They included this particularly worrying line:

The authors also learned that the British could rent or sell their fleet of Chinook transport helicopters to France.

We could? I thought we were asking France to return the three we loaned them for Mali. We just bought 14 more, and they won’t be arriving for years.

Finally to bring us back to topic

Maritime logistics transport, vital for supporting overseas support points, today relies on a fleet of a handful of civilian ships chartered by contract. Some navies have more flexible and more robust systems, such as the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in Great Britain or the Military Sealift Command in the United States.

So at least when it comes to the RFA, the French prefer our system, even if occasionally it seems HM Treasury prefers theirs.


The French equivalent of the Defence Select Ctte……

I’m afraid the quality of the DSC has sadly diminished. Nice But Tobias is passionate about defence, but that does not translate into knowing what is and is not possible. I can’t fault the enthusiasm of all the Ctte members, however…..

John Spellar and Kevan Jones are still convinced that a UK consortium could have built the FSS at any time post-2017, if only they’d been given the contract. Despite them not having a viable design – or indeed design and build capacity to do so.

Tubster F thinks that T45s can all be PIPed in a matter of months without affecting numbers available and irrespective of how many test and commissioning engineers actually exist in the UK, because “reasons”.

Just because witnesses at ctte hearings tell you things you want to agree with, does not make it the truth.

That the cheese-eating surrender monkeys have similarly enthusiastic but misinformed pollies should be no surprise.


The position of the UK on stealth anti ship missiles may well have been as reported by the committee in the past.
Over the past year the past and present First Sea Lord’s have been very public supporters of the RN getting Hypersonic missiles as soon as practical.


Hypersonic ? They gave up their high speed Exocets for the sub sonic harpoon. Supersonic seems to be the most that can be afforded

Supportive Bloke

RAF love Chinook as do Army. It is a proper asset in every sense and is a critical part of battlefield mobility and disaster management.

That sounds like hogwash to me.

The RFA comment ring true.

The missile guff makes no sense at all. If you want hypersonic it is going to be shorter range….?


£80m a year, what tremendous value compared to most things the Government does. It would be easy to double that and invest in having more ships: as the RN becomes more stretched more RFAs doing the HADR roles makes total sense

Laying up the Waves complete madness and a short term solution is needed to replace Argus (at least like for like) with so few ships capable of carrying more than one helicopter

Last edited 1 year ago by Grant

Just abaft of the Port Crane on the Bays is a Ras Post. It can be used for RASing in either direction.


It is a bit of a disgrace how poorly the RFA have been treated and they do plug a lot of holes for the RN.

I do think that the reality is 5 tides and 10 multi role logistics ships would be about right and even though I bang on about this we need to look at the Karel Doorman class as the current benchmark and seek to improve it. Perhaps a combination of this and the Canadian G-LAM is a great starting point for a RN design.

What is clear is that we need to make use of containerised solutions to be able to make them task specific by utilising their lane metres, as everything from command centres to hospitals and fuel can be containerised nowadays – we have to get the support infrastructure (power and movement through ship) sorted.

I do see a bright future for the RFA – you could argue its the best performing force we have given its size and tasking… in all cases a big thank you to all who serve in it.


The current competition is about to demonstrate – in spades – why your pet hobby horse is not and never will be the answer for FSS.

I would love to see the economics and safety case for suitable containerised fuel stowage on a Ro-Ro style deck, compared to a proper tanker. You could start by explaining how many containers would be required for (say) a small quantity like 5000 cubes of fuel. Then you could calculate how many pipe connections and valves would be required to provide both connectivity and isolation between the containers. That’s before you calculate the number of air escapes needed to fill the containers and where you exhaust those to.

ETA – Plus how such a lash-up would actually be able to receive fuel at several hundred cubes an hour during a consolidation RAS. Those are non-trivial pipe sizes to accommodate on your container beds. Just a thought…..

Last edited 1 year ago by N-a-B

on the 3rd image in the total artical (the one showing RFA tiderace replenishing HMS Richmond of the coast of Iceland) is it just me or do i see a VLS canister? on the very left most of the image . located just behind the PV valves and left of the left most cargo crane. the left most of all the containers. I know it doesn’t made much sense as no RN ships as of yet has mk41 and vls placement is impossible at sea.

Last edited 1 year ago by fvf

Looks more like a Main Rotor Blade container…..


Yeah I would agree. the container looks like it is made out of wood. i was just intreged by its differnet shape from the rest of the ISO containers next to it.

Fred the Frog

That’s one hell of a dog kennel


The article seems superficial, it notes a reduction in hulls from 20 to 9, but no comment on tonnage or capability.


The article does what it says on the tin, discussing the current state of play. There have been previous articles on the Waves, Tides and Bays, and the most recent upgrades to Fort Victoria, which tell you more about their capabilities. I’m sure there are others on Diligence and the Point class (which isn’t RFA but replaces RFA capability).


Less tonnage, less capability.

Fixed that for you.

Phillip Johnson
  1. If you pulled Argus early could you man the 2 Waves? A dedicate hospital capacity is hardly a critical priority at the moment.
  2. I hate to think what ‘paused’ means in terms of littoral strike capability. Is the operating tempo high enough that they simply cannot spare a ‘Bay’?.

Argus and each of the Waves nominally require an RFA complement of 80, so no.

Besides, Argus isn’t just a dedicated casualty receiving ship. It’s also a training ship and a significant helicoper carrier, capable of hosting Apaches and Chinooks. Replacing Argus with a Wave would diminish the amphibious support capability of the RFA. Given its role in the Ebola crisis of 2014 and the recent role supporting overseas territories during Covid, even its medical role can’t be dismissed as “hardly critical”. Another Covid flare up or monkey pox going wild and the cry won’t go up to send a tanker.


If you did that which ship other than a Bay could provide credible support in the Caribbean during hurricane season? Long term an “aid ship”, possibly not RFA manned is a sensible idea, but if it needs to be British built then it will be at the back of a long queue of other larger non direct combat ships needing a build slot.

Supportive Bloke

I think you might change you view if you were going into harms way?

Just Me

The RFA used to be an attractive career choice, but not no more.
compare the laughable RFA pay scales with the RN ones – no wonder they can’t recruit!


Who writes this stuff? Slow decline? Quite the opposite. Really, how do people come to such wrong conclusions?
The RFA does a great job and it’s only getting better. What we do is relevant and current and expanding. There is so much for us to do and the job is great fun with a brilliant team.


I’m not sure which RFA you’re a part of but it’s certainly not the same one that I know. Relatively poor pay compared to the RN, morale at rock bottom across all levels, Appallingly poor senior management unable/unwilling to stand up to the ever increasing demands of the RN to become more “military-fied” and subservient. People are leaving in droves which means gapped billets and overworked crews. Nine ‘working’ ships is a national disgrace.