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RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby marktigger » 29 Aug 2016, 22:03

donald_of_tokyo wrote:My point is that,
- the 2nd CV must be used as LPH, because it is Ocean replacement


No Donald Must Not be used as an LPD as that lets ministers off the hook and soon you will see albion and bulwark disappear without replacement! they need to be replaced by LHD's and Argus needs to be replaced with a vessel as capable be it new build or conversion

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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby Engaging Strategy » 29 Aug 2016, 23:04

Just repeating what I mentioned earlier, I think a big multipurpose "task group support ship" that combines a sizable aviation facility (large hangar and aft flight deck (space for 4 Merlin/Wildcat or 2 Chinook) to cover the service's requirements for aviation training. Mate that with the role 3 hospital facility (as per Argus) and the workshop/stores space provided by Diligence until very recently. Consolidate the roles of two ships into one new, efficient and lean manned (in terms of the core RFA crew), ship. I'd favor a civilian conversion, the cost of commercial ships are at an all time low, what with the global over supply. Now is the time to pick something up for a steal.

Unlike some here I maintain that capabilities, rather than platforms, are key in certain cases. What matters here is that we replicate the specialist services that Argus (and Diligence) bring to the party. Exactly how that's achieved matters less.

Just for a laugh i'll dub the concept "RFA Arligence" :lol:
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby Aethulwulf » 30 Aug 2016, 02:39

Some years ago now, BMT published a paper on future ship concepts for repair and maintenance at sea. One of their concepts was the use of a heavy lift float on-float off (Flo-Flo) ship and a 120m × 32m barge. It may be possible to use the same concept for a future Role 3 medical facility.

The Flo-Flo vessels could operate in two modes according to operational tasking:

• Retain facilities onboard, operating as a “conventional” casualty ship.
• Deliver the facilities to a sheltered area or port and then leave.

A 120m × 32m barge would be large enough to host a 70 bed hospital and specialist facilities (inc. x-ray & CT, oxygen systems, labs, clinical waste incinerator, etc.), as well as a large accommodation block for 200+ medical staff and a 2 spot flight deck and hanger.

In addition to the flight deck, the barge could be designed with a steel beach and a loading ramp so that casualties can be delivered by landing craft or by ambulance when docked in port.

A multi-storey barge would be similar in construction to accommodation blocks built for the offshore sector, but designed to allow for the easy transport of casualties around the facilities.

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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 30 Aug 2016, 07:24

A good idea.

At the time I was proposing a different use (multi-use assets for folks short of money!) which was that it could bring and float off 6 of the Hamina Class, specifically designed for controling the littoral, with netwroked local area defence built in (and the next-gen RBS SSNs will have land attack capability, too... Not sure if NSM can do this, but its cousin JSM definitely can).

Type: Fast attack craft
Displacement: 250 tons
Length: 51 m (167 ft)
Beam: 8.5 m (28 ft)

Draught: 1.7 m (5 ft 7 in)

Now, the idea of painting it white goes out of the window (Argus was never ainted white, for sme kinds of reasons).

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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby shark bait » 30 Aug 2016, 08:39

Engaging Strategy wrote:Equally I'm opposed to farming out the helicopter training role to a private firm (AKA Serco Marine Services) because we'd, frankly, end up paying for a (relatively) big new aviation training ship and it's crew anyway through the contract.


I wouldn't write off the idea so quickly, the other capability the Royal Navy acquired through a PFI is arguably one of the most successful programs for the MOD, The Point Class were delivered on budget and 18 months early, and have been operating very efficiently through life. All indicators point to this being one of the governments more successful PFI's, and it does look to be cheaper than doing it our self.

It would be highly desirable if we could follow that model with an aviation training ship.

Shedding non core assets is a good way to improve efficiency, the MOD just pay for training hours, and don't need to be concerned about maintenance, and crew, which would be a welcome relief for the RFA.

At sea training is going to be very important if these tailored air groups are going to work well, as well as the Navy pilots, Army and RAF pilots are going to require lots of at sea training. That makes we lean towards a dedicated platform that can provide lots of availability to keep skills sharp.

The French do a very similar thing, which a very simple cheap platform, also used for boarding an searching training. I suppose we would want one with a largest flight deck for Chinook operations.

Image
^sea owl aviation training (vn partisan)

Engaging Strategy wrote:Mate that with the role 3 hospital facility (as per Argus) and the workshop/stores space provided by Diligence until very recently.


This option does sound attractive, however there is one consideration I yet to solve; If we are involved in a naval conflict, it is likley we will need both the hospital and recovery capabilities at the same time, but probably not in the same place. How do we get around this? or is it ok to just accept it?

From a humanitarian response perspective however it does make sense to have medical, stores and engineering facilities in once package, and would work as an effective sea base strengthening our soft powers.
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 30 Aug 2016, 08:52

The logic is impeccable but putting a ro-ro vessel to an alternative civilian use (or even an AAR platform to fly for Thomas Cook) may be a tad easier than doing the same with an aviation training platform?
- it would probably be too big as a unit to fit in with off-shore (once that sector comes back from its doldrums)

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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 30 Aug 2016, 15:28

marktigger wrote:
donald_of_tokyo wrote:My point is that,
- the 2nd CV must be used as LPH, because it is Ocean replacement

No Donald Must Not be used as an LPD as that lets ministers off the hook and soon you will see albion and bulwark disappear without replacement! they need to be replaced by LHD's and Argus needs to be replaced with a vessel as capable be it new build or conversion
I never proposed it to be used as LPD. But, PoW is stated to be Ocean replacement. This means, there will be no other LPH to come. In 2035 time frame, the Albion replacements will come, with or without LHD form. But, anyway
- it is far future, almost 20 years from now. Untill then, you need to use 2nd Carrier as LPH.
- Albion replacement will have a hangar and a flight deck. I am not against it. I am just saying, if 2 LHDs are to be built, no Bay replacements will be there, resource-wise. Albion was 225M GBP per hull. Bay was 127M GBP per hull. Canberra was 900M GBP per hull (JC was 462M Euro = 370--400M GBP Spanish built). Not in the same regime.

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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 30 Aug 2016, 16:22

A lovely scale
donald_of_tokyo wrote: Albion was 225M GBP per hull. Bay was 127M GBP per hull.
- scale everything down to bare minimum (from assault, with command facilities, to logistics - and, halve the cost

Canberra was 900M GBP per hull
- don't do all the bells and whistles, but do enough for the ship to be fit for its job, and, save half of the cost... get two!
(JC was 462M Euro = 370--400M GBP Spanish built)

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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby marktigger » 30 Aug 2016, 16:40

yes but have you adjusted the costs for the different times they were ordered?

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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 30 Aug 2016, 16:53

I doubt v much , but...

The big picture is unit costs comparing on the scale of
1
2
4
8, roughly

So, if we have say a bn to renew the fleet at their natural OSD points in time (and leave 10% to dedicated enablers, like landing craft, force protection boats, shore line operations - like BARVs), should we have
1 (three times), 2 (once) and 4 (once)
vs.
1 (once) plus 8 (once)?
while in this comparison the provide-to-shore capabilities of the SSSs would be the same for both alternatives.

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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby shark bait » 30 Aug 2016, 17:18

A fair comparison would include through life costs.

A Canberra equivalent is Albion and Ocean together, and whilst and LPD may cost marginally more to procure, it will cost substantially less to operate and maintain through life. Its two platforms Vs one.
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 30 Aug 2016, 17:28

shark bait wrote:less to operate and maintain through life. Its two platforms Vs one.


True, but at the same time it is also about resilience (all eggs not in the same basket).

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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby marktigger » 30 Aug 2016, 17:35

shark bait wrote:A fair comparison would include through life costs.

A Canberra equivalent is Albion and Ocean together, and whilst and LPD may cost marginally more to procure, it will cost substantially less to operate and maintain through life. Its two platforms Vs one.



Especially crew costs

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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby shark bait » 30 Aug 2016, 17:38

Yep, one of the consequences of ever more costly kit. Thankfully it effects every one almost the same, and hopefully we can begin to offset some of the effects through distributed lethality.
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 30 Aug 2016, 17:40

shark bait wrote:Thankfully it effects every one almost the same


Insert a comparison of a man year cost here, all inclusive (like pensions etc):
- UK?
- Russia?
- China ?
- India?

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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby Engaging Strategy » 30 Aug 2016, 17:58

ArmChairCivvy wrote:True, but at the same time it is also about resilience (all eggs not in the same basket).


Except under the current circumstances half our eggs are in a decidedly cheap and nasty "basket" (Ocean) and the loss of one of the major amphibious platforms is still going to badly hobble us. I see very little difference between having two amphibious capital ships that we cannot afford to lose and having three that we also cannot afford to lose.
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby shark bait » 30 Aug 2016, 18:06

In 1960 the USN had 609 surface combatants, it now has 102, 17% the 1960 value
In 1960 the RN had 101 surface combatants, it now has 19, 19% the 1960 value

The fleets have reduced in parallel to accommodate the rising costs of ownership.

Russia hasn't really bothered to modernise its equipment, but not it is trying it is quite cleat it will not replace legacy kit one for one.

China is the only power who is growing, but that's because they never really existed at all in the past.

It all reminds me of this quote;
"In World War II it could take 9,000 bombs to hit a target the size of an aircraft shelter. In Vietnam, 300. Today we can do it with one laser-guided munition from an F-117."
USAF, Reaching Globally, Reaching Powerfully: The United States Air Force in the Gulf War (Sept. 1991), p. 55.

So its not all bad news that numbers are reducing, capability is still arguably increasing. There is a nice graph attached to the quote but I cant find it.
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 30 Aug 2016, 18:53

Engaging Strategy wrote:under the current circumstances half our eggs are in a decidedly cheap and nasty "basket" (Ocean) and the loss of one of the major amphibious platforms is still going to badly hobble us.


I don't see it that way at all (exc. for the current circumstances soon passing!):
- Ocean was designed to deliver a cdo bn
- both of the Albons were designed to deliver a cdo bn
... that's al of them covered, but let's assume the extended readiness ship is not... ready in time!

The three Bays have 700 in overload; so it is a matter of the Commander to assess the threat and distribute the types of loads
... all of the RM tooth (and a lot of the tail) can go plus a few 16x companies to throw in for good measure

Having said that, for the years (if any, but say, for 3) in-between the Ocean decommissioning and the first CVF being in any (tried) way useful, we will be in a bad place (for this type of capacity).

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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby shark bait » 31 Aug 2016, 13:35

ArmChairCivvy wrote:The logic is impeccable but putting a ro-ro vessel to an alternative civilian use (or even an AAR platform to fly for Thomas Cook) may be a tad easier than doing the same with an aviation training platform?


Certainly true, but as long as we're not picky we could have a big open competition that could attract some innovative ideas. A few spring to mind

  • Maintain a RORO deck below the flight deck
  • Specialize as a large flat fop for shipping oversize loads
  • Or possibly my personal favorite, a big float on float off ship with a optional flight deck barge

There are a few opportunities to spread the cost between private and public funds, following the successful Point Class model.
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby shark bait » 31 Aug 2016, 13:55

Decided I really liked that last idea, so I'll expand.

Image

  • Length o.a.: 209.00 m / 685.7 ft
  • Width o.a.: 32.20 m / 105.64 ft
  • Depth:8.50 m / 27.89 ft
  • Draft:5.80 m / 19.03 ft
  • Max. draft submerged: 14.00 m / 46 ft
  • Deck length:165.00 m / 541.34 ft
  • Deck width:31.00 m / 101.71 ft
  • Deadweight:11,000 t
  • Service speed:18 knots

Based on a ship like the one above, with a "flight deck barge" floated on and off as required. Could the barge even be used independently from the ship for the most basic training?

It would provide a big ass 150 x 35m flight deck allowing helo crews from all branches to get some valuable at sea training time on a large flat top at a much cheaper cost than using the in demand carriers.

Could we find some other uses for a large FOFO? amphibious operations perhaps?
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 31 Aug 2016, 14:14

shark bait wrote:A fair comparison would include through life costs.
A Canberra equivalent is Albion and Ocean together, and whilst and LPD may cost marginally more to procure, it will cost substantially less to operate and maintain through life. Its two platforms Vs one.
I'm sorry but your calculation is wrong (or I just cannot understand). You propose to
- build 2 JC-like LHDs, which is much costy than Albions
- you say "less operational cost", which I understand, "less crew". If it is true, you should "disband" about half the crew of Albion. But, in turn you are proposing to re-distribute the Albion crews to the 2 LHDs. Thus, surely there is no "reduction in operation cost".
So, you are clearly proposing for fair amount of additional resource.

Then, what are you going to sacrifice for it? May be ~8 F35Bs?

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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby shark bait » 31 Aug 2016, 14:20

To get the capabilities offered by a Canberra class we require both an Albion LPD and an Ocean LPH.

The cost to purchase those capabilities today, like for like, would be £650m (minimum)
The cost to to run those vessels today is £37m per year
The crew required today for both of those platforms is 790!
We also have to pay for the maintenance of 2 ships vs 1

The story is a LPH may cost slighly more to procure, but it will cost less to operate and less through life than an LPD & LPH mix.
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 31 Aug 2016, 14:25

shark bait wrote:To get the capabilities offered by a Canberra class we require both an Albion LPD and an Ocean LPH.

The cost to purchase those capabilities today, like for like, would be £650m
The cost to to run those vessels today is £37m per year
The crew required today for both of those platforms is 790!
I'm sorry but Ocean replacement is PoW. Nothing else. (or PoW would have been mothballed).
The cost to purchase 1 Albion was 230M GBP. 2 was 430M.
The crew now operating 1 Albion is only 325.

THIS is the start point. Not "Ocean+2 Albion". This is what I meant.

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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby shark bait » 31 Aug 2016, 14:28

But one Albion is not equivalent to one Canberra.

I am comparing the cost to acquire a capability, and using real world examples to demonstrate how a LPH is the cheapest way to deliver a modern amphibious capability, which must consist of air, and sea lift.
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 31 Aug 2016, 14:40

I agree. But it do need more resources. Not equivalent to the current one RN pays for their amphibious fleet.

So, if I understand correctly, you are proposing an amphibious fleet WITHOUT using CVF as a LPH, and have a similar or even enhanced amphibious capability compared to now RN has. And it surely requires additional resource, I think.

I am proposing the simple replacement program. Using 2nd CVF as LPH, and Argus replacement to fill the gap. (I also proposed Enforcer-besed "common" hull replacement for Albions and Bays). Here I restrict myself to stay within the "same resource" as now.

If you agree to sacrifice something, such as a dozen of F35Bs or so, your idea will be realized (actually, I admit it will be better solution).


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