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Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 18 Sep 2020, 15:51

I think that I can now see where we got stuck, as per Donald
""disk size" of this web page, of course, not for free.

Anyway, thanks to the organizer for providing this place..."

So the (cold) links would need to be to hot images hosted somewhere else?

There is this Hot Topic, though, brewing as LSGs (on Bays, for starters) are now 'official policy' - if not to be overturned in the "IR" outcomes
... is there any way of rebaking this to a 'TD-like' opening shot, for discussion, on a brand new thread?



Poiuytrewq wrote:Pulled across from the FSS thread.

Now that the FSS programme is heading in a much less ambitious direction the gaps in the current fleet look like they will have to be plugged by the existing vessels if they are to be plugged at all. The Bay class in particular look to be vastly under utilised and could offer a lot of potential if adapted to enhance their capabilities.

The most recent addition to the Bay Class has been the installation of the temporary hanger. The increased aviation capacity is very useful but It's clear from the image that the temporary hanger is taking up a large amount of the working deck and considering these ships have a beam of nearly 27m a more space efficient solution must be possible. The available space remaining on the working deck looks extremely small for such heavy duty 30t cranes and it's clear that the hanger installation has greatly compromised the original design.

image.jpgThe storage area between the flight deck and the hanger is also far from ideal. I am sure it can be made to work but it's far from ideal.image.jpgSo what does a Bay class need to be a lot better than what we have today?
Increased aviation capabilities?
Increased storage facilities?
Increased medical facilities?
All three?

OPTION ONE image.jpgThe simplest option would be to add a central hanger. With a 27m beam this hanger should be able to embark up to 3 Merlins, possibly 2 if the LCVP's are also incorporated. The 30t cranes could go back to business with a clear working deck but no additional medical facilities would be possible with this option. Is it possible to retain the working deck and also enhance the aviation capabilities?



OPTION TWO image.jpg
Option 2 retains what is probably a viable working deck, possibly with stricter weight limits imposed. The cranes could probably be replaced with smaller 20t versions and if these cranes could be folded safely out of the way a 3rd landing spot could be possible on the working deck.

The space created under the working deck is big enough to house 4 to 6 Merlins or 2 Chinooks as well as lots of extra storage or possibly a small medical facility at the rear of the hanger.If the weight distribution and CoG hurdles were successfully overcome this looks like a workable and realitivly inexpensive option which would vastly increase the capabilities of the Bay's.


Is the working deck really essential? If not lots of extra capabilities can be added to these highly versatile vessels.



OPTION THREE image.jpg
The 3rd option removes the working deck altogether and maximises the aviation capabilities of the vessel. By removing the working deck a third landing spot is created. Is a third landing spot really that important? It's worth considering that the 3 Bays would have 6 to 9 embarked Merlins (depending on LCVP's) along with 9 landing spots in this configuration, a major boost to any amphibious operation. The increased superstructure could also contain a pretty extensive medical facility or addional space for higher numbers of embarked troops. Could a redesign such as this go a long way to plugging the gaps created by the decommissioning of HMS Ocean? This configuration would also be ideal for lone HADR deployments. The combination of 2 or 3 embarked Merlins, LCU, LCVP's and mexeflotes together with large quantities of supplies and extensive medical facilities Is pretty much unbeatable.


OPTION FOUR image.jpgOption Four is simply the full use of the Bay platform. This is a very substantial redesign and would not come cheap. Again 4 to 6 Merlins could be embarked but the main flight deck would shrink to two spots. The medical facilities would again be extensive and extra space for embarked troops would also be included. It may be possible to include a 3rd landing spot on the top of the main superstructure, this would give direct access for casualties into the medical facilities from helicopters up to the size of a Merlin. When configured in this way a Bay looks like totally different vessel and vastly superior to the make do and mend version we have today.

Personally I think a lot of the current gaps in the Amphibious fleet could be filled by improved Bays. Maybe a mix of the options would be the best way forward but one thing is for sure any of these options would be a considerable improvement over what the RFA has today.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 17 Oct 2020, 11:00

Given the MASTT trials on RFA Lyme Bay at the moment, I think it’s clear that in the mind of the RN the primary role of the Bays will move from one of Logistical Support to that of a Support USV mothership. Probably makes sense, though I can’t help but think that having the ability to transport (at high readiness) a configurable Army brigade via the sea could have been a strong part of the UK global strategy.

If the LSDs are going to play this supporting role, adding a permanent hangar (for 2-3 Merlins) at the expense of deck space makes sense.

That would make 2 LRGs (cantered on 1 LPD + 1 LSD + 1 DD/FF), with the 3rd LSD acting as MCM mothership in the Gulf.

Personally, I would like to get RFA Diligence (or equivalent) back in the Gulf role, and create a third LRG based around a LSD plus RFA Argus, as it gives some really scaling options (and something more appropriate for HADR), but we’ll have to wait and see.
”We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." - Lord Palmerston

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 17 Oct 2020, 11:45

Repulse wrote:move from one of Logistical Support to that of a Support USV mothership.
Not exactly sure what trials, but these ships have ten years to go and can be used as test beds for many things. Like there was already the test with US MCM kit (one way to redress the ever shrinking mine hunter fleet question, and if successful likely to release some manpower). The other obvious one is what mods we will get to see in their role of supporting LRGs.
- all to inform what to design and build by the time the ten years will be up
- the ship-to-shore future connectors evaluation study (to inform the same) has disappeared :?: totally since its brief was outlined in the public domain

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 17 Oct 2020, 13:25

Sorry, meant RFA Cardigan Bay

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 17 Oct 2020, 13:35

ArmChairCivvy, would agree and the point on trials and supporting future designs.

The point is though with some thought and maximising what we have (or could have cheaply), we could have 3 ready global LRGs which are as capable as anything outside of the US and probably China. It would require reallocating a few tens of millions in the defence budget but well within the art of possible.

The challenge is aviation capability, but even of a Wave class was added to each of the 2 LPD based LRGs, then with some mods on the LSDs and flight capability from the escort DD/FF the air group could get up to a respectable 5-6 helicopters.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 17 Oct 2020, 13:52

Repulse wrote:well within the art of possible.


The point with all the experimentation: prove what is needed, feed it into future designs... and go back to the daily slog.

I guess in your scenario all the specialist amph. shipping would be tied up in LRGs, and the army bde would need to move in the four Points (abt. 10 000 line meters, which then is vehicles and supplies only, and only to a port... the guys would need to fly, just in their boots, and be there at the destination)
- once we have the first Strike bde, they can drive (in that same time :?: )

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 17 Oct 2020, 14:29

ArmChairCivvy wrote:in your scenario all the specialist amph. shipping would be tied up in LRGs, and the army bde would need to move in the four Points (abt. 10 000 line meters, which then is vehicles and supplies only, and only to a port... the guys would need to fly, just in their boots, and be there at the destination)


Pretty much - given that the Army is a few years away from Strike Brigades then that requirement can will evolve. I think though the LRGs will not solely be a RN/RM/RFA affair, can see aspects where the army could and should get involved.

I’m also hoping (rather than expecting) that a similar forward based “air mobile” LRG concept is put in place for the Army, based around the Parachute Regiment. Having the ability to quickly deploy at a battlegroup level a combined force for SF / early intervention is another powerful capability for the country only matched by the USMC.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Lord Jim » 17 Oct 2020, 15:39

I cannot see much Army support for the LRGs except for SF and the SFSG and possibly limited AAC involvement. The Infantry are to follow up the actions of the LRG if required, be they Mechanised or Airborne/Airmobile.

I do think though that we need to slow the whole LRG project down a little. Yes use a Bay etc. to study how the theory works in practice, see what capabilities and equipment are going to be needed as well as provide information for the follow on platforms. Another issue may be whether the LSS or whatever it is now called should be an RFA of RN. I understand that RFAs have been put in harms way before, with the Falklands being the obvious case, but isn't the LSG pushing things a bit to far for what are civilian crewed support vessels.

I do fear that our apparent intention to do the LRGs on the cheap may come back to bite us. If they are only intended to go after low tier threats and opponents then we maybe ok, but will the current force of a LSS, Tanker and T-31 really be appropriate for a contested theatre. Yes they should be able to go in early before things really kick off to try to deter any escalation, But this relies on the opponent sticking to the rules and not creating an "Accident" where one or more of the ships is damaged. What if the LSG is stopped by a force claiming they are in their territorial waters? Do they fight , starting a confrontation or put their hands up. They will be operating in the grey area, but without the ability to deter asymmetric action against themselves. But if we are trying to mould our capability along the lines of what the USMC is doing, but in smaller and much cheaper manner, to say I have doubts is an understatement.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 17 Oct 2020, 17:41

Repulse wrote:another powerful capability for the country only matched by the USMC
Overmatched https://english.defensie.nl/topics/inte ... lle-krafte, but if you think of a scenario of sending the Points to Trondheim, or any further up that coast, then this DSK and our LRG (1?) can serve exactly the same function: a blocking force, so that the Points can offload safely
- as Norway is practically all littoral, save for the 'fatter' part where Oslo lies, we can ask (still under this heading): how will the German mountain troops be sent, as they are ideally suited to operate in that kind of terrain

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 17 Oct 2020, 20:20

Repulse wrote:....we could have 3 ready global LRGs which are as capable as anything outside of the US and probably China.
Do we need three?
Repulse wrote:The challenge is aviation capability, but even of a Wave class was added to each of the 2 LPD based LRGs, then with some mods on the LSDs and flight capability from the escort DD/FF the air group could get up to a respectable 5-6 helicopters.
You could embark 6 Merlins on a Bay and still retain the twin Chinook capable flight deck.

If large scale Amphibious Assaults are now being binned as a requirement then what are the Bays roles going to be going forward? The Bays are a perfect LSS if properly adapted, no need to build anything else.

The LPD's could also be converted to be much more suitable for the LSS role. By removing the deck crane from its current location a twin Merlin capable flight deck could be created as well as a hanger suitable for 4 Merlins. This would make the Albions a fantastically versatile platform.

Personally I think the LSS concept will require much more aviation than is currently envisaged but it's highly unlikely to require the combined RoRo capacity of a LPD and an LSD.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 17 Oct 2020, 20:29

Poiuytrewq wrote: The Bays are a perfect LSS if properly adapted, no need to build anything else.

The LPD's could also be converted to be much more suitable for the LSS role. By removing the deck crane from its current location a twin Merlin capable flight deck could be created as well as a hanger suitable for 4 Merlins.

Good pointers to what should be done in the next decade, before embarking onto build prgrms
- improving damage control on Bays might be a tall order, though?

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby SW1 » 17 Oct 2020, 21:08

They should really be called multi role support ships. The roles being defined what they carry. The bay has always been the ideal candidate as its basically what they’ve been doing for years fwd deployed. However I doubt there is enough merlins to have 4 on one.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 17 Oct 2020, 21:25

SW1 wrote: However I doubt there is enough merlins to have 4 on one.

Quite a few were marinised as troop carriers?
- v tight with ASW/ AEW Merlins

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby SW1 » 17 Oct 2020, 21:35

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
SW1 wrote: However I doubt there is enough merlins to have 4 on one.

Quite a few were marinised as troop carriers?
- v tight with ASW/ AEW Merlins


Yes a fleet of 25 transferred from the airforce. This I believe leaves a round 10 available to deploy after other tasks/maintenance taken into account. Of that 10 some will be assigned to the carrier for csar. Leaving the rest for elsewhere.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby bobp » 17 Oct 2020, 21:40

Would be nice to see a few extra Helicopters in service but then that costs £'s.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 17 Oct 2020, 22:13

Poiuytrewq wrote:Do we need three?


I’d say yes, one WoS and another EoS with the last in refit / ready to sail from the UK. What’s more we have virtually everything we need now to do it.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 18 Oct 2020, 09:36

SW1 wrote: However I doubt there is enough merlins to have 4 on one.


Would agree, though a mixture of 4 HC4 Merlins / AH1 Wildcats across a LRG would be possible and sustainable IMO.

What would be interesting if the Bays could be adapted to support 1 or 2 Chinooks.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 18 Oct 2020, 10:12

ArmChairCivvy wrote:...embarking onto build prgrms
We should make the most of what we have rather than flog it off the south American countries for a song. The Prevail conversion was a £100m project. £200m spent on the Bays and Albion's and providing new kit for the FCS would be a few better use of funds IMO.
ArmChairCivvy wrote:...improving damage control on Bays might be a tall order, though?
Compared with the Albions, absolutely.

Before the Albions are scrapped its worth remembering how much time, effort and money went into them to ensure they were as tough and survivable as possible. Have Littoral areas become less dangerous just because the MOD budget is under pressure?

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 18 Oct 2020, 10:36

Poiuytrewq wrote: The Prevail conversion was a £100m project. £200m spent on the Bays and Albion's and providing new kit for the FCS would be a few better use of funds IMO.

How do you see the potential for having both a deck crane and decent aviation facilities? https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/wp-con ... -Flyco.jpg

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Tempest414 » 18 Oct 2020, 10:53

For me right now with money being tight and though I am not a fan of Rubs for now I would add one to the Albion class capable of holding 3 Merlin's and also having doors front and back to allow use of the ramp from the vehicle deck. This with the rubs on the Bays could allow up to 5 Merlin's or 3 Merlins and 3 Wildcats to be carried when operating in a group like we see in the Med right now.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 18 Oct 2020, 10:56

Repulse wrote:I’d say yes, one WoS and another EoS with the last in refit / ready to sail from the UK. What’s more we have virtually everything we need now to do it.
The whole concept of the LSG isn't clear to me yet, if fact I don't think it's clear to RN or RM yet either.

Whatever the LSG ends up being it will have to be sustainable, affordable and justifiable. As SW1 points out aviation availability is a reoccurring problem especially with the CSG now operational. Spread across 3 LSG's the available assets will be minimal.

It is for this reason that I believe if the LSG concept is to work then it must be scaleable and flexible or it will be unaffordable. Widely distributed assets coming together to form the LSG when necessary is much more sustainable than 2 or 3 permanently formed LSG's constantly at sea looking for a fight. I suspect HADR missions are going to be much frequent for these LSG's than assaulting the Littoral.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 18 Oct 2020, 11:02

Tempest414 wrote:I would add one to the Albion class capable of holding 3 Merlin's
I am surprised this hasn't been done for this deployment. Maybe it will happen in future.

If the flight deck on the Albions was reconfigured similar to the San Antonio's then a permanent hanger could be added.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 18 Oct 2020, 14:09

Poiuytrewq wrote:The whole concept of the LSG isn't clear to me yet, if fact I don't think it's clear to RN or RM yet either.

Whatever the LSG ends up being it will have to be sustainable, affordable and justifiable. As SW1 points out aviation availability is a reoccurring problem especially with the CSG now operational. Spread across 3 LSG's the available assets will be minimal.


Let’s see what comes back in the SDSR, but I think it’s fairly clear that more agile forward based forces is part of the strategy. I think the RUSI LSG (Littoral Strike Group) / ASG (Amphibious Strike Group) concept is dead at birth, and a more encompassing single level LRG (Littoral Response Group) concept is in play.

Having 4 Merlins assigned to a Carrier based SPTG (Special Purpose Task Group), and still have three flights rotating through the LRGs (2-3 each) is achievable IMO.

Poiuytrewq wrote:if the LSG concept is to work then it must be scaleable and flexible or it will be unaffordable. Widely distributed assets coming together to form the LSG when necessary is much more sustainable than 2 or 3 permanently formed LSG's constantly at sea looking for a fight. I suspect HADR missions are going to be much frequent for these LSG's than assaulting the Littoral.


Agree that each LRG will be operating in a region, sometimes as a single task group other times as individual units - no problem for me. The scaling factor is that two LRGs can come together to form a group that is capable of delivering a larger impact.

I think HADR tasking will continue to evolve, but will still be part of the RNs duties, just less so.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Poiuytrewq » 19 Oct 2020, 09:38

Is this a new designation for the LSD's?

Using amphibious support ship RFA Lyme Bay as their base,

https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-l ... r-training

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Tempest414 » 19 Oct 2020, 09:49

No they have used this term for sometime


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