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Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby Poiuytrewq » 28 Apr 2018, 20:34

Repulse wrote: looking at the next 10 years, and how the RN (and UK) maximises it’s influence
Personally I am of the opinion that asking for more resources to be put into additional large offensive amphibious platforms will be ultimately unsuccessful until the mid 2030's.

In my view to give the amphibious fleet the additional capacity it requires, a different approach will be needed but first things first what extra capability does RN actually need?

If we had 2 30,000t LHD's rather than the Albion's, would additional capability really be necessary?

If Ocean had of been retained would the capacity of the Amphibious fleet have been adequate?

Will the current Amphibious fleet survive the upcoming MDP?

Lots of questions and the MDP is the great unknown, everything will hinge on its conclusions.

Overall I think the Amphibious fleet is in a very good place. Much better than the escort fleet or to a certain extent the submarine flotilla but as ever it's not perfect. Losing Ocean is a blow but getting POW in the water is a massive upgrade in capability. The vehicle transportation aspect is easily replaced most likely by the MARS FSS vessels and the aviation capacity can be easily handled by POW. The ability to lily pad the troops ashore in a timely fashion using the current platforms is were the current fleet is weakest in my opinion. If the Albions are not going to be allowed to come inshore before the beachhead is totally secured it will take a long time for the Assault force to be moved from vessels with only one or two landing spots.

So how does RN convince HMG to provide funds to build a vessel(s) with a large troop carrying capacity along with some aviation facilities when it's unlikely an LHD's will be built before the mid 2030's?

Pretty simple in my mind. HADR

At present what assets is RN going to send to areas hit by natural disasters such as hurricanes, severe flooding, earthquakes and major disease outbreaks?

The Bays and the Albion's could help but with minimal aviation capabilities that are not ideal as multipurpose HADR vessels. The only vessel with combined large scale aviation and PCRS capabilities is Argus, currently going through a major refit and due for decommissioning in 2024. If Argus can be replaced with one or possibly two multi role vessels with decent aviation capacity, large scale accommodation for embarked troops and a large flight deck the amphibious fleet would have all it needs.

These vessels need not be overly costly if adapted from, and added too the FSS order. I see no reason to cut Frigates to pay for these vessels, they are fully justifiable for HADR missions and would be an excellent advert for Global Britain doing some good in the world.

Basically, solve the HADR problem and the Amphibious capacity issues solve themselves.

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby Lord Jim » 29 Apr 2018, 05:21

Like the other three services over the next decade the RN is going to have to make some hard choices and probably going to have to chose between maintaining and possible increasing the number of escorts it can operate or doing the same for its amphibious capabilities. Doing both effectively at the level we aspire to will become unaffordable. Where do people think the priority should be?

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 29 Apr 2018, 06:38

Balance. It was the beauty of RN for long. Without balance, RN is not a world leading navy any more.

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby Repulse » 29 Apr 2018, 08:59

donald_of_tokyo wrote:Balance. It was the beauty of RN for long. Without balance, RN is not a world leading navy any more.


Agree on balance, but there is a level of scale below which relevance is lost. What this balance is, is the question, I’m thinking that having a permanently globally deployed Carrier Strike Group which is configured in a balanced Strike / Littoral role, CASD, forward presence patrol ships and a HADR carrier (for Caribbean / Sierra Leone type HADR) is affordable and would keep the UK at the top table.

If the cost of this is to continue gapping the APT(S) commitment occasionally then it’s a price worth paying IMO.
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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby dmereifield » 29 Apr 2018, 09:28

Repulse wrote:
donald_of_tokyo wrote:Balance. It was the beauty of RN for long. Without balance, RN is not a world leading navy any more.


Agree on balance, but there is a level of scale below which relevance is lost. What this balance is, is the question, I’m thinking that having a permanently globally deployed Carrier Strike Group which is configured in a balanced Strike / Littoral role, CASD, forward presence patrol ships and a HADR carrier (for Caribbean / Sierra Leone type HADR) is affordable and would keep the UK at the top table.

If the cost of this is to continue gapping the APT(S) commitment occasionally then it’s a price worth paying IMO.


What about the other take such as Nato etc? I doubt too many are worried about less frequent APT(S) deployments

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby Poiuytrewq » 29 Apr 2018, 10:03

Repulse wrote:... forward presence patrol ships and a HADR carrier (for Caribbean / Sierra Leone type HADR) is affordable and would keep the UK at the top table....
Im not sure RN has had a truly balanced fleet for a long time but it wouldn't take much to achieve a respectable balance from were we find ourselves today. Realistically the bulk of the escort fleet has been decommissioned without replacement to protect the carriers, it has worked, the carriers are in the water, now it's time to reconstruct the escort fleet. In my view the only way to achieve a balance with the sub's is to introduce a class of SSK's.

A HADR 'carrier' is also unlikely in my view, simply because HMG will see it for what it is, a LPH or an LPD to replace Ocean. RN will have to be a bit smarter than that. As I have stated before IMO the best way to achieve the correct balance in the Amphibious fleet will be through an Argus replacement within the MARS programme. The best way to justify the overall cost of the Amphibious fleet in peacetime is its HADR role, hopefully RN have identified this and make this world class capability indispensable in the minds of the British public before the next round of cuts.

With a foreign aid budget as large as the UK's you would expect the RN HADR response to be one of the best in the world, it could be if it had the correct vessels. HADR is an easy win for HMG, a popular and highly visible way to spend the not universally popular foreign aid budget.


Repluse wrote: If the cost of this is to continue gapping the APT(S) commitment occasionally then it’s a price worth paying IMO.
I see no reason to start gaping APT(s) if a T31 is forward based in the Falklands along with a River. If this is the approach RN decides to take it will prove the need though for a credible T31, a proper frigate with a true offensive capability that is blue water deployable.

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby Repulse » 29 Apr 2018, 10:05

dmereifield wrote:What about the other take such as Nato etc? I doubt too many are worried about less frequent APT(S) deployments


Fair point, from a RN stand point beyond the CSG (which could be used in the North Atlantic or Mediterranean) and CASD, then I'd say the UKs NATO contribution is a SSN somewhere in the North Atlantic, MCMs in the Baltics, occasional FF/DD deployment to the Med and the UK keeping its EEZ safe.
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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 29 Apr 2018, 12:49

For me, balanced is "balanced". In other words, current situation is NOT bad, I think.

<CV and escort>
I assume 2 CV, 6 T45 and 8 T23/26 is "not bad" here.

- 2CV, 4 T45 and 4 T23/26 ASW will provide 1 CVTF deployed (67%) and another CVTF ready (67%). In other words, 33% of the time 2 CVTF "deployed+ready", and 67% of the time 1 "deployed or ready" while the other is in maintenance/rest. (Here, "ready" means, 2-3 weeks on-call ready).
- 2 T45 and 2 T23/26 will provide 1 escort deployed for "all other tasks" (either NATO, APT-S or Kipion, only one).
- 2 T23/26 for TAPS.

* [EDIT] Note, "always 1 CVTF deployed" will not happen. To do this, we need at least 3 CVs.

<amphibious>
I assume, 1 LPD and 3 Bays and 4 Points (or even 3 Points) is OK as a minimum. LPH role is covered by CV.
- 33% of the time, 2nd CVTF will be "ready" as LPH.
- 67% of the time, one Albion LPD will be "deployed or ready".
- If LPD is not available, CV-LPH shall be available, and if not vice versa. Either will provide Command.
So, RN will have 33% of the time with good air assault capability but with less LCU, and 67% with limited air assault (helos from 1st CVs using LPD and Bay's deck, like in Falklands war) but with good LCU. I think it is NOT bad.

The scope/difficulty of initial landing has a large diversity, from "easy" to "impossible". But, in any case, logistic backend is critically important. Therefore, for me, Bays and Points are the key, and I regard Albion as "the 3rd Command asset".

Also, Bay with plastic hangar is perfect for most of the HADR tasks.

<Patrol ship fleets>
5 River B2s, and maybe up to 5 T31e?
- Can do "as much as" they can.

<comments>
- I put T31e as a "bonus" here. It can/will cover presence ship, so nothing bad.
- If no T31e, River B2 shall cover it, with significantly less capability. But, it is still much better than nothing.
- Two proposals for small improvements;
1: Call back Cardigan Bay from Persian gulf, to be replaced with either Echo/Enterprise as a MCMV mother ship. And, I may send her as "APT-S", more oriented on West-African HADR/interdiction operations, and BOT assistance. (This may cause efficiency reduction of MCM operations, but I'm proposing this in such a case that there is no T31e.)
2: Slightly modify two Wave-class AORs, to add more ISO containers and two small LCVPs to be carried (i.e. model 34-17 on http://www.munsonboats.com/military.php . Similar to those used in USCG Polar ship, and French B2M ships). And, use them for APT-N in rotation. When war breaks out, they will become AOR, but in peace time, they will be "a little HADR-oriented modified" large ship.


In any case, Albion will be a useful asset as a key enabler for amphibious landing. And, when she is not available, "2nd CV" will come in. (I remind this is Albion thread :D)

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby Tempest414 » 29 Apr 2018, 13:00

I think the best way forward for the amphib capability is 2 LHD's to replace the Albions and as said the HADR role is the best way to justify them and to my mind the RN need them if it is to have a flexible - balanced and strong amphib group along side the Bay class

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 29 Apr 2018, 13:14

"Two LHD in addition to two CV", looks very much "top heavy". I'm afraid many other things may be forced cuts.

And, anyway, it is around 2030, when Albion are to be replaced.

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 29 Apr 2018, 13:37

I do not understand why LHD is so popular.

When used for LCU operation, it is putting the helicopters in unnecessary very-high risk (within hand-carry fire range from land, say ATGM or even MANPADS), because LCU needs LPD to be located within ~5 km from the landing beach (which means shorter distance from land).

When used for LPH operations "at the right position", LCU is too slow to be used.

So, the only way to use LHD is
- phase-1: LPH from ~50km away
- phase-2: LPD from ~4km from the landing beach
In other words, phase-2 is "logistic landing", not an "assault".

For me, it is much better to be covered with
- 2nd CV in LPH role
- Bays or Albions in LPD role
If needed, you can used it at the same time (=use LCU for assault), or use them in 2-phases.

This point is always make me difficult to understand why many here favors LHD.

Yes, LHD is nice for a navy which CANNOT afford independent "Bays" and "Points". So, these Navies abandon the idea of doing LCU assault. So, I think LHD for them is "LPH with Bay-like logistic landing capability". HMS Ocean was blamed for not having LCU/LCVP capability, simply because she was only used for HADR in her life, never used for assault, I guess.

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 29 Apr 2018, 13:40

Repulse wrote:Fair point, from a RN stand point beyond the CSG (which could be used in the North Atlantic or Mediterranean) and CASD
... let's quote from the gov/ mod websites:

The SDSR is unequivocal on the need to retain a nuclear deterrent as the ultimate means to deter the most extreme threats. It will remain the Royal. Navy's responsibility to deliver the Continuous At Sea. Deterrent (CASD) on behalf of the Nation. In addition the Royal Navy has three mutually supporting core roles [...] the Royal Navy will deliver its three core roles by:
1. fulfilling its maritime standing commitments
- tripwire talk is pointless as any of these might need to be backed by "warfighting" which in practice means sending the "single TF"
, 2. conducting (security) maritime operations
- i.e pre-war and where necessary, against non-state actors
and 3a. projecting influence
- maritime diplomacy and "grooming" partnerships
and 3b. responding to emerging crisis with a Response Force Task Group (RFTG)
- the nipping "in the bud" role - and should that not work, to carry out a NEO (or two)
... so all that gives quite a long list

All in the context of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) setting the ambition and then outlining investment in the RAF, Navy and Army for ... The MOD to be able to deploy a potent, expeditionary force of around 50,000, based on a land division, maritime task group (AKA the single TF) and expeditionary air group.

Now that the SDSR is being augmented by the the Modernising Defence Programme (MDP), I can't see any of those lists - either at the Forces (MoD) level or at the RN level - being shortened, so that only leaves
1. getting more coherent with the equipment programmes
2. getting more coherent with the way the Army is organised to produce the "max effort"
3. cutting manpower (where is there anything left to cut?)
4. reducing readiness (in the case of the RN: more ships alongside)
5. closer parnerships (whatever happened to the Anglo-French joint intervention force?)
... or spending more :clap:

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby Poiuytrewq » 29 Apr 2018, 14:21

donald_of_tokyo wrote:I do not understand why LHD is so popular.When used for LCU operation, it is putting the helicopters in unnecessary very-high risk....
I agree 100%. When the amphibious fleet was being replaced back in the 1990's why were LHD's not chosen then? Why were 4 Bays, 2 Albion's and Ocean built when 3 or 4 LHD's could have done the same job? In my view it was because of lessons learned during the Falklands campaign.

donald_of_tokyo wrote:HMS Ocean was blamed for not having LCU/LCVP capability, simply because she was only used for HADR in her life, never used for assault, I guess.
Very true, but she excelled in the HADR role and that is what is now missing in the fleet unless POW is going to be used in the HADR role which would be bonkers :crazy:

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby Tempest414 » 29 Apr 2018, 15:01

donald_of_tokyo wrote:"Two LHD in addition to two CV", looks very much "top heavy". I'm afraid many other things may be forced cuts.

And, anyway, it is around 2030, when Albion are to be replaced.


as you say the 2 Albions will won't need replacing until the early 2030's and it is not until then that any LHDs would come in as for 2 LHD's making it top heavy I don't think so it is 2 ships for 2 ships and the LHD's use less crew and as for being close inland it is how you use them

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby Tempest414 » 29 Apr 2018, 15:11

Poiuytrewq wrote:
donald_of_tokyo wrote:I do not understand why LHD is so popular.When used for LCU operation, it is putting the helicopters in unnecessary very-high risk....
I agree 100%. When the amphibious fleet was being replaced back in the 1990's why were LHD's not chosen then? Why were 4 Bays, 2 Albion's and Ocean built when 3 or 4 LHD's could have done the same job? In my view it was because of lessons learned during the Falklands campaign.

donald_of_tokyo wrote:HMS Ocean was blamed for not having LCU/LCVP capability, simply because she was only used for HADR in her life, never used for assault, I guess.
Very true, but she excelled in the HADR role and that is what is now missing in the fleet unless POW is going to be used in the HADR role which would be bonkers :crazy:


if the navy had gone for LHDs in the early 2000 they would not have got the carriers plus until 2005 they had 4 carriers then after the 2010 SDSR they had 3 carriers Ark Royal - Illustrious and Ocean

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby Repulse » 29 Apr 2018, 17:26

I’ve made my views on UK amphibious capability known many times, hence didn’t want to turn this in a OTH vs close to shore assault. Given the increasing focus on funds and hoping that the best case will be not losing overall numbers / capability in the MDP compared to what we have now, my view is to consolidate as much as possible around the key areas that the UK needs to defend itself and make itself relevant to the broader world.

A CVF, LPD and LSD combo in a CSG, operating over the horizon and then moving in stores later moving a reinforced RM Cdo is a first class capability, only a very few select countries can do. Being able to surge at shortish notice can only be done by the US. With some give and take the RN can achieve this. In the future, unless funds are significantly higher, I see no need for LHDs, and even then I’d argue for a 3rd similar CSG first.

Next, the reason why I like the concept of a HADR LHD (Bay and Argus combo) is that the UK has commitments in this area and using an expensive CVF to tackle things like the Ebola outbreak is very questionable.
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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby Repulse » 29 Apr 2018, 17:33

ArmChairCivvy, The 50,000 Expeditionary Force was a complete joke then and is a sad farce now - ditch any idea of this. At best we are talking Brigade level ops, but more likely RM Cdo/Army battlegroup level expeditionary ops.

I also completely disagree on war fighting vs “trip-wire” on some standing commitments. WIGS, FIGS, Atlanta, and APT(S) can all be performed with a Sloop with a level of self defence.

So yes, things can give IMO.
”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: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 29 Apr 2018, 17:56

Repulse wrote:At best we are talking Brigade level ops, but more likely RM Cdo/Army battlegroup level expeditionary ops.


I think you are confusing "max effort" and what can be sent quickly, should an unexpected situation arise?
- then you can add further assumptions: when would a "sovereign" or stand-alone effort apply and how inputs to a coalition might work differently

Lots of documents on all of this (assumptions included), but I put the argument on this thread as it has, over the last half year, become understood that the Albions & an amph. force - that would, without them. have to shrink drastically - are part of the whole (ability to respond on a graduated scale... both as for the scale of the response and the time scale involved).
- meaning that they are not some discretionary "luxury" item.

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby whitelancer » 29 Apr 2018, 18:00

Tempest414 wrote:as you say the 2 Albions will won't need replacing until the early 2030's and it is not until then that any LHDs would come in as for 2 LHD's making it top heavy I don't think so it is 2 ships for 2 ships and the LHD's use less crew and as for being close inland it is how you use them


If you replace 2 LPDs with 2 LHDs how can they possibly have fewer crew than 2 replacement LPDs. They will not only be much larger but will also have extensive aviation capabilities along with the dock and one assumes the Command facilities. Economies will only be made if your LHDs replace both LPDs and LPHs, but we no longer have an LPH and their seems no likelihood of having one in the foreseeable future. With LHDs your still left with the fundamental problem high lighted above of the basic incompatibility of operating both landing craft and helicopters (or other aircraft) from the same platform. Not to mention putting all your eggs in one basket.

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby Tempest414 » 29 Apr 2018, 21:27

The Albions have a crew of 325 Ocean had a crew of 285 I here what you are saying about eggs and all that but we don't have the money for lots of types of ships and the carriers are to high value to risk putting close in land

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby Lord Jim » 29 Apr 2018, 22:20

The current size and capabilities of the ARG are probably as big and capable as we need gong forward. The RM are still a very effective raiding force and with the ARG can be moved into theatre rapidly if the environment allows. And that is an issue as can we protect the ARG say if it decided to make a landing in Northern Norway within range of Russian assets? By ourselves I doubt it and so do some other "Experts", which is why investment in increasing/improving the ARG is be resisted in some quarters. As an alternative what we need to be able to do is move a relevant and effective force into southern Norway (Trondheim for example) ASAP and then have then move north and with the Albions, Bays and Points we can do that now. Using other assets, even T-26s, we will be able to raid further north if required and insert other specialised units. So I advocate ensuring we have sufficient sea lift to more a force of a reasonable size and support it rather than maintaining a Amphibious assault capability of the size some aspire to.

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 30 Apr 2018, 05:56

Lord Jim wrote:The current size and capabilities of the ARG are probably [1a]as big and capable as we need gong forward. The RM [1b] are still a very effective [2] raiding force and with the ARG can be moved into theatre rapidly if the environment allows. And that is an issue as can we protect the ARG say if it decided to make a landing in Northern Norway within range of Russian assets?[3] By ourselves I doubt it


The argument from there continues in a way that fits nicely with the "soon-to-come" exercise "To Norway, on wheels". However, on the broader assumptions side
[1a+b]: big and capable when you can bring a third of the RM to bear...
depends much on
[2] i.e what you mean by a raiding force?
[3] is not a raid and would definitely NOT happen by ourselves ... another BIGger exercise coming up this summer

So where is the middle ground, between the third and an all-out (on wheels and in planes to Norway) and then tactically - once there - being facilitated by the "tactical mobility" that we can deploy on sea flanks... the only one, by the way, assuming fighting is not spilling over to Sweden, to the other side of the mountains
[4] a NEO to carried out somewhere else, where things are hotting up, simultaneously to the Norway scenario... the latter of which does need to be a hot war, but simply a show of force on threatened flank(s)
- would take at least one main amph. capable vessel out of the main scenario (and one Cdo)
[5] what's left? 2 in Norway - with not enough shipping - and one elsewhere, otherwise gainfully employed?
[6] teams of 12-30 where ever Maritime Security so demands, and
[7] the RM units that are permanently securing our nuclear facilities and the bases for deterrent

What is the argument the EXPERTS use and what scenarios do they apply their expertise to? Do they want to drop the "mountain & arctic" bit? Or something else; do they assume that trouble only crops up on one continent at a time ("Britain in the Global World" must have passed them by)?

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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby shark bait » 30 Apr 2018, 08:46

Lord Jim wrote:The RM are still a very effective raiding force

That is doing the Marines a great injustice.

A full commando battlegroup is not a raiding force. Opening the door with 1800 men, and then sticking around to kick ass, that is a bonafide expeditionary Army, not a bloody raiding force.

donald_of_tokyo wrote:I do not understand why LHD is so popular.

Me too, separate is better if the force is larger enough to support it. The roles were deliberately split back in the 90's, there must be some good reasons for that.

I'd suggest splitting it, so the RN operate LPH's, and the RFA operate LPD's.
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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby Gabriele » 30 Apr 2018, 09:43

I do not understand why LHD is so popular.


It is the most flexible asset in any navy, that's why. Even the US Navy has given up on LPHs. Briefly returned to them with the America and immediately regretted it.
The problem of distance from the shore is solved by employing faster landing craft. The Royal Marines's biggest weakness is the horrendous slowness of the LCU MK10, but the thing will hit OSD before the LPDs do, anyway.

Moreover, everyone else has abandoned the hopelessly stupid idea of having LPDs without hangar. And LSDs, for that matter.
Whenever the amphibious group splits, otherwise, there is some kind of capability gap and loss because each ship is fully and uniquely in charge for a thing or another.
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Re: Albion Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LPD) (RN)

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 30 Apr 2018, 10:08

I totally agree LHD is good asset, but ONLY for peaceful landing. And, most of their operation is HADR or landing in uncontested beach = peaceful landing. No surprise many navy is using LHD.


But, USN is not banning LSD/LPD. They are the major assets and not going to be replaced with LHD. This is what I mean.

Also I agree LPD with no helicopter asset is a stupid idea. Most of HADR operations are done by single asset. So, having a hanger on LPD and having a steel beach on LPH is good.


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