Repluse wrote:Interesting input into the debate:
Lots of very useful clarification and very relevant to recent discussions. As stated by others this quote appears to provide the basic outline of what is being proposed.
The LSG is expected to consist of two Littoral Strike Units, each comprising up to three amphibious ships and able to react at “immediate notice,” he told the seminar.
At the “extreme scale” the LSG might also include a Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier with embarked F-35Bs, “but on the other side of the scale it could involve chartered shipping, operating covertly, using maritime special operations forces” to deliver effect.
The things that jump out for me, over and above the obvious highlighted areas are the use of "up to" and "extreme scale". I think this proves that the Littoral Strike Group is to be highly flexible and scalable depending on the individual situation and that the use of QE and PWLS will only be in extreme circumstances. Personally I think this makes complete sense when considering the costs involved of forming the full LiTM group. Much better than trying to pretend that PWLS is a £3.5bn LPH.
How the two individual LSG's are configured is slightly clearer with the "three amphibious ships" quote but which three?
Can an A140 with 4 modest RHIBS and an embarked helicopter really be classed as an amphibious ship? Surely not.
Can oilers/solid stores replenishment vessels be classed as amphibious? They certainly have never been classed as such previously. That only leaves the Albions, Bays and the proposed FLSS.
Effectively this would make each of the LSG's half of the amphibious part of the LiTM. Possibly deployed either side of Suez and able to combine in extreme circumstances to form the LiTM. Very efficient but given the forces described above why would a Bay and Albion be necessary to support the FLSS? All those LM's really aren't required nor are the mexefloates or the LCU's. This part is far from clear.
Perhaps the size of the Albions floodable well dock is crucial to the Littoral Strike concept but for the deployment of large fast assault/patrol craft rather than LCU's. The FLSS and Albion combination seems like a very good fit but adding a Bay seems unnecessary if a lot of vehicles aren't required. Maybe the Bay's are not to be part of the mix, could they be moved on to MCM duties and HADR deployments? If so, it would provide some very welcome strength in depth.
Given the scale of the ambition for the LSG a Wave/SSS combination seems excessive so perhaps a joint logistics vessel to replace the Waves is to be the third vessel in the group. Something like a modified Tide or maybe even an ELLIDA variant that is tailored to provide the optimum mix of liquids and solids to support the LSG when required and extensive medical facilities for HADR deployments when the LSG isn't active.
Still lots of unknowns but a clearer picture is now starting to emerge.