tomuk wrote:What about 3 mistral LHD. Used on rotation.
One - Painted white/red cross as hospital ship - defensive weapons. Caribbean Hurricane Season / Africa/Pacific Medicins Sans Frontier
Two - Grey full weapons fit - Royal Navy Use
Three - In refit/training swapping roles
Argus goes in the bin.
Argus is due to decommission in 2024 anyway which could be the principal reason why this issue has hit the headlines. Many suspected that there had been no money allocated for an Argus replacement which would have seen the UK lose its PCRS capability. Hard to justify with an aid budget as large as the UK's.
To propose not one but 2 new HADR vessels is interesting. Could this be a signal that something else is due to be axed? Albion, Bulwark, Wave Ruler or the 3rd FSS vessel?
Regardless, this a massive opportunity for RN to reshuffle the currently badly unbalanced Amphibious pack. With a sympathetic DfID Secretary of State it's time for RN to get sharp elbows and make this work.
Based on previous experience I would suggest that the UK's most effective HADR platform was probably HMS Ocean. For a purely HADR platform Ocean's aviation element was a bit on the large side and 2 Chinook capable landing spots would probably be plenty. The 4 LCVP's would be excellent for disaster relief in flooded riverine zones and a couple of LCU's would be excellent for getting the heavy machinery ashore. A lift big enough to move an ISO from the vehicle deck up to the flight deck would also be a useful addition which of course Ocean had no trouble doing. The medical facilities would need to be extensive, probably in the region of 1500sqm, effectively taking a large chunk of Ocean's hanger space.
So bearing all that in mind my specification would as follows,
- 175m-200m x 28m-30m vessel built to an HMS Ocean standard.
- Minimum of 2 Chinook capable landing spots, ideally more.
- Hanger of at least 1000sqm to embark 2 unfolded Chinooks plus 2 Merlins or 6 Merlins.
- 4 LCVP on davits and 2 LCU's in a well dock.
- 750lm vehicle deck.
- 1500sqm medical facility.
- Accommodation for 500 crew/personnel.
- At least one lift from vehicle deck to flight deck.
So what are candidates?
If an LCU capability is required then LPH's are out, so it will have to be LPD's, LHD's or LSD's.
Based on the criteria above BAE's LHD design looks to be a good fit.https://www.baesystems.com/en/download- ... 568205.pdf
Can we really justify having 2 LHD's cruising around the world looking for an earthquake or a hurricane? It might be a tad over optimistic.
How about the Enforcer alternative? At 195m x 29.5m the Enforcer 22000 LHD would be a good candidate and very similar to a Mistral configuration.
Realistically though, all those landing spots aren't really needed so unless RN really want to reshuffle the pack, LPD's are the most likely candidates.
As Lord Jim suggested previously, a Johan De Witt stretched out to 200m would fit the bill very well.
The original FSS concept would again appear to be a perfect fit. Might it see a resurrection now?
Personally I would be happy with any of the options above but I my initial reaction would be to explore the possibility of modifying the Albions. I think this would be a win win for RN. With a substantial superstructure modification the Albions could be fantastic HADR platforms and could still deliver another 15 to 20 years of sterling service.
That would allow RN to get on and build an appropriate LHD that incorporated the C&C from Ablion and then transfer Bulwarks C&C to PoW. This would make for a well balanced fleet. One LHD, 3 LSD's, 4 Points and the 2 Albions in reserve. The strength in depth would be impressive.
It's an attractive prospect but to be honest all of the available options are good, that is unless vessels are cut to make this happen....
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