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Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 31 Dec 2016, 16:06

With the recent addition of the "Current & Future Escorts" topic, I thought it would be good to have a similar one for the RNs Amphibious Assault, Landing and Support ships, rather than have the comments spread over a number of class related topics. With the focus of available RN resources on ensuring that a continuous Carrier Enabled Power Projection (CEPP) capability, and the decision to replace HMS Ocean by adding additional amphibious assault capabilities on HMS PoW (and presumably HMS Queen Elizabeth during the next refit), it will be interesting how the Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime) requirement develops and it's impact on platforms.

A few questions for me as starters are:
- What capability should the UK maintain and what does it need to support it?
- How will the RN adapt it's SOPs to use a CVF in the HMS Ocean role without putting it in extreme risk?
- Does the RN still have the right mix of amphibious ships, or should it go to fewer more capable ships (e.g. LHDs like France)?
- Has the RN anything to learn from the USN Sea Basing concept and Mobile Landing Platform Ships (MLPs)?
- What is the future role of the RFA in this area?
- How should capabilities such as the Primary Casualty Receiving Ship (PCRS) evolve in the near future as vessels come to the end of their lifetime?
- Is the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force with France still valid, and if so how should the RN adapt to it?
- Should the RN look to convert existing merchant ships to fill in the gaps or build?
- Should these ships be treated as "Complex Warships" and therefore constructed in the UK, or is it ok to buy off of the shelf aboard?
"For get this quite clear, every time we have to decide between Europe and the open sea, it is always the open sea we shall choose." - Winston Churchill

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 31 Dec 2016, 19:34

I posted this elsewhere, but think it's relevant to this thread.

There is need for a reappraisal of our amphibious capabilities, the assumptions that current amphibious structure is based on came from a very different royal navy to what we have today. It's led to a few conflicts which makes them inefficient. plus there are affordability questions.

  • Their only ever going to attempt an uncontested lsnding, so are big specialist LPD's the most effective?
  • Same for big slow specialist LCU's, are they suitable for non contested landing?
  • I would ask the same question about moving landings over the horizon? Are they equipped to do that effectively?
  • Is it more effective to leverage modified commercial design's?
  • How does carrier strike and vertical manoeuvre's from the carrier's fit in?
  • Are their vehicles still for for purpose?
  • should they be exploring self deploying vehicles?
  • expeditionary ports to leverage civilian shipping?
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Frenchie » 31 Dec 2016, 21:51

Someone can tell me why the HMS Ocean must absolutely to be decommissioned, this ship is only about twenty years old, it's absurd.

Regarding Franco-British cooperation, our fleets are complementary, it would be very easy to defend our common interests, for example a possible war against Russia, but if our interests diverge, I don't know if our governments would be loyal one with the other.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 31 Dec 2016, 23:14

  • She was built cheaply.
  • She wasn't built to last.
  • Her crew is needed for Prince of Wales.
  • Retirement is reasonable

I hope cooperation with France strengthen, you are the most similar nation to ours.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby S M H » 01 Jan 2017, 00:54

shark bait wrote:She was built cheaply.She wasn't built to last.
I had a look at Ocean when fitting out in Barrow in Furness her hull construction was less strengthened than the carriers hulls The equipment on board was to a enhanced merchant build specification. It was no were near military specifications. In effect she was more like a cheap R.F.A. ship than a amphibious L.H.P.
With present spending the best outcome for her replacement would be a pair of L.H.D. replacements for the two L.P.D. when they come up for replacement they need to be more adaptable platform. With over the horizon first landings . As the deterrent subs will skew procurement budget and we desperately need new Frigates as a higher priority. To avoid throwing money away keeping the 23s beyond there out of service dates, So sadly she will have to go with out replacement till we replace the two L.P.Ds.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby seaspear » 01 Jan 2017, 01:45

Going slightly off the topic , shouldnt air-lift capability be assessed as part of any package on needs particularly heavy lift .

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby marktigger » 01 Jan 2017, 12:22

seaspear wrote:Going slightly off the topic , shouldnt air-lift capability be assessed as part of any package on needs particularly heavy lift .

at present that has been sorted by Merlin and the plans for Chinook though how practical carrying out full operations on a carrier with chinook remains to be seen, I suspect the RAF will with much chuntering make it work like most British service personnel. Wildcat is basically a modernised lynx with a few extra extras and Apache can be slotted in though would prefare to see dedicated a Commando Apache Sqn.
Long term it will depend on the replacements for the LPD, Ocean and Argus. I'd prefer to see all the amphibious shipping having hangers so helicopters could be spread across the fleet. Personally I don't think there is enough non chinook lift for the brigade.
Osprey type airframes are possibly a way ahead in the future.
But the Commando Brigade needs Helicopters to be PART of its landing plan and keep things like Landing craft and possibly amphibious vehicles to provide a degree of flexibility.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby marktigger » 01 Jan 2017, 12:41

shark bait wrote:
  • Their only ever going to attempt an uncontested lsnding, so are big specialist LPD's the most effective?
  • Same for big slow specialist LCU's, are they suitable for non contested landing?
  • I would ask the same question about moving landings over the horizon? Are they equipped to do that effectively?
  • Is it more effective to leverage modified commercial design's?
  • How does carrier strike and vertical manoeuvre's from the carrier's fit in?
  • Are their vehicles still for for purpose?
  • should they be exploring self deploying vehicles?
  • expeditionary ports to leverage civilian shipping?


No LPD is no longer effective it needs to have hanger at very least like the Rotterdam class or better still the Juan carlos type vessel with hanger and flight decks and a dock

what's wrong with uncontested landings using brains saves on Blood! contested landings are to costly now

LCU's don't have to be slow there are faster vessels out there but we need the utility. After landing the LCU's don't moor up and load back on the ships they move stores people from ship to shore an amphibious operation isn't all about the 1st wave........Actually how you sustain the operation is more important

There isn't enough helicopter lift to do over horizon full operations you need to sustain over the beach and the Logistics operation cannot be reliant on helicopters that would be needed for the tactical/stratgeic operation on land. which is more efficient 20 helicopter lifts of 1 stores Pallet or 1 LCU lifting 20 pallets of stores?

Possibly but having ships with well docks that landingcraft can load over an artificial beach is much quicker and more efficient.

Depends on the airgroup mix and how tied to the land op you want it to be. And can your land op be maintained if suddenly your carrier group disappear out of helicopter range.....Better to have the amphibious helicopters co located with the amphibious shipping.

are the vehicles fit for purppose......big qusetion have we the luxury of equipping 3cdo bde with bespoke vehicles?

to some extent maybe things like Boxer should be able to swim in sea as part of a landing force but then you change the character of the brigade to a medium armoured force instead of a light infantry brigade

Expeditionary ports......for Uk ops waste of time and money, to inflexible take to long to establish and have to have a big logistic tail to support it in terms of dedicated shipping, engineers would need a huge expansion in 17 port and maritime plus forming a dedicated RE units.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby marktigger » 01 Jan 2017, 12:46

shark bait wrote:
  • She was built cheaply.
  • She wasn't built to last.
  • Her crew is needed for Prince of Wales.
  • Retirement is reasonable

I hope cooperation with France strengthen, you are the most similar nation to ours.


if you are saying we should look at getting mistrals....maybe but only if buillt in the UK the Aussies weren't imppressed with them (build quality in particular) which is why they went for the Juan Carlos. But do we design our own (at great expense) or take an existing design and modify it?

I hope we cooperate more with other European and commonwealth Amphibious forces as well as the Americans.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby marktigger » 01 Jan 2017, 13:27

trials vessel


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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 01 Jan 2017, 13:47

I like the current UK amphibious model which involves a larger number of less sophisticated ships. Sure, it's not as sexy as having LHDs, but unlike the French the UK has depth for operating beyond a short term raid scenario.

If HMS Ocean was seen as a success then why not build another or two to similar commercial standards as Joint Services vessels. They could be RFA manned with RAF/AAC helicopters/ground crew? Both could share the PCRS role.

Sure the funds are not there, but maybe the government could see beyond its nose, and use it as an opportunity to invest in the North of England by giving the contract to Cammell Laird. Would be a good statement in the post Brexit world.
"For get this quite clear, every time we have to decide between Europe and the open sea, it is always the open sea we shall choose." - Winston Churchill

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby marktigger » 01 Jan 2017, 14:27

Repulse wrote:I like the current UK amphibious model which involves a larger number of less sophisticated ships. Sure, it's not as sexy as having LHDs, but unlike the French the UK has depth for operating beyond a short term raid scenario.



I do to repulse, But LHD offers much greater flexibility than a pure LPD (or pure LPH) especially ours with their "limited" helicopter capability. Ocean has been a successful ship and used more than I think was planned. Commercial standard is fine but as ocean has shown even with its enhanced commercial standard it still has had problems.
I think an LHD(a) might be a good option as an argus replacement

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby RichardIC » 01 Jan 2017, 15:17

OK, my inexpert twopenneth.

I think two LHDs post 2030 as a replacement for our current LPDs + Ocean. That means gapping the H bit of the equation for quite a long time, but there's plenty of precedent for that isn't there? And in fact the H bit was also gapped for pretty much the 80s and 90s.

As for Argus replacement, I think the future should (but won't) be:

Image

I'm not usually keen on jack-of-all-trades vessels, but let's face it, that is what Argus is - and the fact they operated together successfully off Sierra Leone shows there is some synergy in the concept. And besides, she looks sexy.

So I think that something that can act as casualty receiving ship/amphib trasnsport/general purpose transport/humanitarian support vessel/tanker/aviation support vessel/general purpose auxilliary and Uncle Tom Cobbly and all would be appropriate and possibly provide excellent value for money (Wiki quotes 363m euro for Karel Doorman although I accept that's probably helped by construction in Romania).

And while I'm at it I'm a big fan of keeping the Aircraft Carrier Alliance model going with block-build across the UK with final assembly at Rosyth.

So my fantasy National Shipbuilding Strategy for larger vessels looks something like:

Late teens - mid 20s 3 x MARS SSS
Mid 20s - JSS-style Argus replacement
Late 20s onwards - 2 x LPH


There you go. Sorted.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby marktigger » 01 Jan 2017, 16:42

would agree with that as argus replacement.

with MARS SSS they should look at having the level of helicopter support the Fort Victoria has so they can carry and support 4-5 merlin

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Jake1992 » 01 Jan 2017, 17:09

For me we should be looking at:
2 x LHD, something between JC1 and the Anerica class in size and capability

3 x San Antonio style LPD

4 x modernised bay class

I know that's way out there and more of a faniticy but I believe if this government was seriouse about defence it what we should be aiming for.

We need to be able to undertake a Falklands 2 type amphibious operation on our own at our max

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 01 Jan 2017, 17:29

marktigger wrote:I do to repulse, But LHD offers much greater flexibility than a pure LPD (or pure LPH)


I actually think having dedicated LPHs allows for a much simpler design which reduces cost both in terms of the build and ongoing operating effort. One problem with the hybrid LHD is that it tends to share a common deck for aviation and amphibious vehicles, meaning that space compromises need to be made.

I see the RN amphibious capability operating solely as a single group (outside of humanitarian ops), so close cooperation of single role assets allow for better efficiency and positioning.

Lastly, I do think the LPDs should be replaced with RFA equivalents which primarily host Army Commando assets. The RMs should primary operate OTH or closer to shore launching from the new T31/MHPC. 12 vessels each with the ability to launch LCVPs/ORCs/Rhibs and accommodating 200 Marines would allow for a more flexible assault capability.

Keeping an Army focused RFA auxiliary amphibious group of 2 LPHs, 2 LPDs, 3 LSDs and 4 Points would allow for a medium strike brigade group of around 4,500 men - unique outside of the US, and keeps the UK at the top table.
"For get this quite clear, every time we have to decide between Europe and the open sea, it is always the open sea we shall choose." - Winston Churchill

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby marktigger » 01 Jan 2017, 17:54

army commando assets like 29's guns, OP's etc? or the assualt engineers of 59?

so landing independently troop sized groups from frigates........are you being serious? the coordination, planning and briefing for that would make fiasco seam like a success!

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Repulse » 01 Jan 2017, 19:58

marktigger wrote:army commando assets like 29's guns, OP's etc? or the assualt engineers of 59?

so landing independently troop sized groups from frigates........are you being serious? the coordination, planning and briefing for that would make fiasco seam like a success!


I'd like to see a joint Army/RM Commando division as the primary mechanism of projecting UK land power. The remaining regular and Territorial Army units would focus on UK/BoT defence.

Whilst I can imagine small raid operations being company sized executed from single Frigates. I'd see on larger ops 4 or more operating together, launching troops via small craft and supported by Wildcats / Merlins.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby shark bait » 01 Jan 2017, 23:55

marktigger wrote:what's wrong with uncontested landings using brains saves on Blood! contested landings are to costly now


I'm not suggesting there is anything wrong with uncontested landings, it's the only feasible option, otherwise everything thing is just a sitting duck.

Accepting that as the baseline, I believe it changes quite a few things.

If the marines are only doing uncontested landings, they need the ability to move rapidly, over a large distance to the contested area. That's something they can't do at present. It's going to be a lot harder to find a permissable environment, so landing far away, and supporting operations at distance will become critical. It that something that needs to be addressed?

For an uncontested environment are specialist platform's really needed? Would it be more efficient to leverage more commercially derived shipping for example? They are highly effective at moving volume, key to sustaining a high intensity operation.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby Opinion3 » 01 Jan 2017, 23:56

The frigates can host Chinooks and the embarked force should be able to join the party so to speak. In the new world of combining sensors and advanced communications I would hope we can organise a force of 5,000 without messing things up.

I don't believe a carrier should ever be close enough to shore to represent a practical platform for a sea borne or air borne assault. This means we need

1) Pascat or at least a modern replacement of our current ship to shore connector
2) A platform which can host and air launch troops and their kit as a ship to shore connector. Clearly the destroyers and frigates can do this but a dedicated platform would be better. A LHD would be the best solution, second to that would be large LPDs. I rate the San Antonio class, it is costing the US about as much as a T45 and quite possibly a T26 (I can't keep up the figures on this one). It could be built to commercial+ standards and would have four large spots and hangars. The benefit of having the kit and the troops arrive at the same time cannot be under estimated...... It would be called a MARS SSS. We need four of them please.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby R686 » 02 Jan 2017, 00:59

Repulse wrote:
I actually think having dedicated LPHs allows for a much simpler design which reduces cost both in terms of the build and ongoing operating effort. One problem with the hybrid LHD is that it tends to share a common deck for aviation and amphibious vehicles, meaning that space compromises need to be made.



Yep an LPH can be as cheap or expensive as you want, but space limitations are going to be enivitable irrespective which type of platform you chose if you want to carry more than just helicopters.
but if you want a multirole platform your overall thru life cost will be cheaper using a LHD as it reduce's the need for more shipping, as has been noted before that two Canberra's will give you more capacity than the three you all ready have.

If the UK wants to move into an LPD with the capabilty of San Antonio which would give the same heavy lift capabilty as a LHD plus have an LPH yep I'm all for it.

But since the chances of that happening are extremely low, I'd go down the route that gives the same combined capabilty using an LHD which also has the benefit of continuous helicopter and landing capabilty in one package.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby seaspear » 02 Jan 2017, 07:16

So not to confuse my previous post was directed at the ability for lifting of armoured vehicles as per R.A.F ,and vehicles of the size of Ajax , should there also be balance to this type of heavy lift certainly there has been research into "electric armour" being lighter that could enable armoured vehicles to be transported by air easier

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby marktigger » 02 Jan 2017, 07:33

shark bait wrote:
marktigger wrote:what's wrong with uncontested landings using brains saves on Blood! contested landings are to costly now


I'm not suggesting there is anything wrong with uncontested landings, it's the only feasible option, otherwise everything thing is just a sitting duck.

Accepting that as the baseline, I believe it changes quite a few things.

If the marines are only doing uncontested landings, they need the ability to move rapidly, over a large distance to the contested area. That's something they can't do at present. It's going to be a lot harder to find a permissable environment, so landing far away, and supporting operations at distance will become critical. It that something that needs to be addressed?

For an uncontested environment are specialist platform's really needed? Would it be more efficient to leverage more commercially derived shipping for example? They are highly effective at moving volume, key to sustaining a high intensity operation.



Depends on the type of facilities you expect to have landing in an Austere beach setting like the Al Faw pennisular or Port San carlos you will have radically different facilites than landing in a friendly port and driving/flying across to first contact.
even then a small group of well placed lightly armed troops can cause huge issues "The Fanning head mob" or The Endurance det on south georgia. But going into a full blown Normandy type landing won't happen again. Some elements of commercial shipping are already used and the point class RoRO can discharge onto mexefloats and LCU's but Well dock equipped ships provide one of the most efficient ways of offloading.
The need for more flexibility means more specialist platforms as R686 says the Canberra class offer much more than the UK amphib group currently have and other things like a deck to use as an F35 FOB inshore something a container ship would struggle to do. As additional capicity as in the falklands certainly the use of STUFT has to be considered. However as the loss of atlantic convoyer showed they lacked the damcon and fire fighting capability that Military spec shipping has and installing it in a civilian hull isn't simple as Argus shows. Troop accomodation will need to be in the NBC citadel with all that that entails.

I would agree that transportation does need to be looked at and a radical option how about carrier regiments RLC/RAC who are equipped with stuff like Viking or Boxer armoured vehicles and provide their crews and support and the Infantry are just loaded/offloaded as needed. The LHD and LPD(A) and support ships should all be equipped to carry and support helicopters maximizing the ammount of lift available inshore very quickly

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby marktigger » 02 Jan 2017, 07:39

Opinion3 wrote:The frigates can host Chinooks and the embarked force should be able to join the party so to speak. In the new world of combining sensors and advanced communications I would hope we can organise a force of 5,000 without messing things up.


Can Host but not support chinook and if the deck size isn't large the seastates/visibility the chinook will be able to operate under will be not consistant.

Sensors/communications in the modern world are great but still suffer from the same draw back they are active emissions which can be pinpointed. so when EMCON descends you loose your comms. And EMCON is essential as ESM can pick up an emitter in miliseconds now and pinpoint it.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 02 Jan 2017, 08:36

I am also opting for LPH + LPDs/LPDAs mixture.
- Build a Ocean-like simple LPH(A) around 2020, as a replacement for "BOTH Argus AND Albion".
- Keep Bulwark + 3 Bays. Then, replace them with common 4 Bay-replacements around 2030, with well-dock capable of 2 LCU (Caimen 90s), a Hanger capable of 1 Merlin or 2 Wildcats, and 2 landing-spot flight deck.
- Keep 4 Points as it is.

This will bring 3 flat-tops. This will ALWAYS enable 1 CVF for air strike, 1 CVF or LPH for LPH-role. The former will be operated 200-300 km away from the shore, and the latter around 40-100 km.

"LPH"-role ship will provide the 1st-wave of landing made of helicopters. If the "LPH" is 2nd CVF, do not hisitate to locate it 40-100 km of the shore. If you lose LPH with 500-1000 RMs, it is equivalent to losing CVF. No difference. Do not take any previlege for CVF.

3 of the 4 LPD+Bay will be ALWAYS available. They will provide the 2nd-wave. Here the cargo space of these ships are more important than the well-docks. Mexefloats will help a lot. The landing position will be free of enemy at least from any direct fire, anyway. This is my basic assumption.

Points will provide the 3rd-wave.

This fleet is
- much durable, has higher resilence than a fleet with soley 2-3 LHDs. If you are landing by shore (using LCUs and LCVPs and so on), anyway you need to send these ship near the shore. Thus, resilence is important.
- In peace time, the 5 ships 1 LPH and 1 LPD and 3 Bays will be very useful in many places. A few LHD is just a BIG BEAST very difficult to use in many tasks other than real big disaster relief and real landing.

Personal opinion, it is...

PS. For Caimen 90, see
http://www.bmtdsl.co.uk/media/6098037/A ... imen90.pdf


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