1: Bay class LSD will be starving for tasks, I think.
Needs to amphibious assets are relatively low in peace time. A guy of German shipbuilder was also stating so in some article.
With 4 Point class, Bay lost a "peace time" job = transferring vehicles of Army/RM. With 2 LSS coming, some other tasks (SF support and HADR) will be lost.
2: Partly related, partly independent, RFA Mounts Bay used as MCM drone's mothership in collaboration with USN is very attractive.
Regardless of future MCM drones size, weight, and numbers of assets included, Bay class can handle any of them. For example, Bay can handle up to 8 ARCSIM drones, which I believe amounts to 4 MCM-team. Even if a more larger drones are added, Bay can handle it.
So I propose to use Bay-class much more for MCM tasks.
MCM is an activity "always busy" even in peace time. If one Bay is actively used in MCM, it will need at least 1.5 hulls to cover the task. By assigning another Bay for amphibious task, another 1.5 hulls will be needed, securing the need for 3 Bays.
3: My fantasy plan for MCM tactics including Bays, will be as follows.
- Currently RN has 13 MCMVs. So, let's assume it has 13 MCM teams.
- Assign 5 of them to a Bay (or 1.5 Bays), 3 active, and 2 in training? In other words, with drone-based MCM teams introduced, RN will be able to disband 5 Hunts/Sandowns, providing the "ship handling" part of their crew to relax the man power issue (I guess 60-100 in total).
- What if the "MCM-Bay" were required for amphibious task? I think a River B2 can carry 1 MCM team. It has a large deck (named "flight deck", not needed within a TF), 16t crane, +50 accommodation, simple CMS with good communication suites. RN can send 3 River B2 to cover the 3 active MCM teams from the MCM-Bay.
- Number of MHC hull will be reduced. If an MHC carries 2 MCM teams, 4 hulls plus 2 more for Echo/Enterprise replacements. By reducing MHC build cost required in ~2030, the money could be used for buying these drones.