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Future Littoral Strike Ships

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Tempest414
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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Tempest414 » 14 Sep 2019, 18:10

As I have said in the past for me now I would like to see a EoS command set up to command

4 x type 31
4 x MCM
1 x Bay
1 x Wave
1 x Point

If FLSS gets off the ground then one of these ships will join this command the main aims of this command is to have ships in the Gulf and Indo-Pacific all year round for Patrol , MCM , Allied support and HADR

Now if we were to get 8 Type 31's this would allow the 4 remaining 31's to undertake SNMG-1/2 tasks , FRE and AP-S could come back from time to time

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby SW1 » 14 Sep 2019, 18:58

Poiuytrewq wrote:
SW1 wrote:If your deploying 4 or 5 merlins in each of these 2 groups then that is your entire deployable commando helicopter capability.
Absolutly but forming one of the LSG's would be a maximum effort for the LSG, forming both LSG's at the same time would be unlikely. Combining both LSG's would probably result in a QE joining and the forming of the LiTM. A massively powerful and extremely expensive force to operate for any length of time.

Most of the time the LSG's components could be widely distributed conducting other deployments and only pull together to form the LSG if required. The majority of the time SF Ops from the FLSS would not require the formation of the LSG.

As I see it the LSG concept is really all about saving time by having assets in or near a given area of operation that can react quickly and coherently to influence events. By having one SSS/FSS and one Tide or Wave available to the LSG more time is saved as the FLSS and T31's can steam directly to the area of operation knowing that replenishment is following very shortly behind. Additional troops and helicopters can join the FLSS/T31's or auxiliaries on route.

If properly funded it could give the Royal Marines a very bright future and allow QE/PWLS to concentrate on what they were originally designed to do.


I would be of the opinion that if a new ship is required for the FLSS then it would be replacing the bay class in service. This would probably only be necessary if age was becoming a concern as there getting on for 15 years old now and likely 20 by the time any new ship would arrive.

Now we’ve gone for such a large capable and flexible type 31 option then simply pairing one with a bay ship would for me be your littoral strike group.

The carriers will be significantly under utilised for there designed role as it is, removing the commando helicopter role from them, would almost certainly see one being mothballed for years.

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Repulse » 15 Sep 2019, 08:36

Interesting input into the debate:

https://news.usni.org/2019/09/11/dsei-r ... ard-deploy

The key comments for me for thought are:

“Starting in 2023, Royal Marines will be permanently forward-deployed close to potential trouble spots. Company-level combat capabilities will be available to insertion forces of just 12 to 16 Royal Marines.”

“After years of land-locked counter-terrorism operations, the Royal Marines’ prime focus is again on warfighting and theatre entry “within a NATO construct alongside our U.S. Marine brothers,” he said.”

“The new littoral strike force will be “active, not just ready,” said Maj Gen Holmes.”

“In the future, combat functions that were fielded traditionally at the company level by a 12 to 16 Royal Marine team, which will gain increased mobility, situational awareness and support from F-35B aircraft.”

“Commodore James Parkin, who commands the U.K.’s Amphibious Task Group – which will be rebranded as a Littoral Strike Group (LSG) on October 1 – said proposals for new ships are now at the concept and assessment phase.”

“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.”

Also interesting is the list of challenges, the possible use of resupply drones and the distances inland mentioned.
"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: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Repulse » 15 Sep 2019, 08:56

Further to my last post a few comments questions:
- the focus on scale of operations is clearly different, moving from “ARG” 1,800 troop operations to “LSG” sub 200 (working with SFs) Operations. I’m sure the RM will want to retain a Cdo level capability but it will be an extreme case not the norm.
- by three ships in a LSG, I would have thought they mean a LPD, a LSD and a FLSS? Though the requirement is to be forward based and readily available.
- Could both LPDs be bought into service, but have certain capabilities (like brigade level Ops) mothballed to reduce crew requirements.
- Given the focus on the challenges of resupply, will the “FLSS” part be focused on Aviation and Solid Supply Support? Back more towards the JSBL requirement?
- The comment on chartering shipping, is that for the core three ships or supporting ships (like the Points).

Going to be interesting to see how it pans out, but what is clear it wasn’t just a wet dream from Gavin Williamson and is something very actively being pursued.
"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: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Jake1992 » 15 Sep 2019, 09:10

Repulse wrote:- Given the focus on the challenges of resupply, will the “FLSS” part be focused on Aviation and Solid Supply Support? Back more towards the JSBL requirement?.


This was spoken about up thread with the showing of the Ellida concept, I did mention that this concept was very much like a KD with what it was aiming for but that a KD to me fitted the FLSS set up better, I also pointed out that if 2 KDs or similar were purchased it would fill that 3rd requirement of the original MARS program that being JSBL

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Lord Jim » 15 Sep 2019, 09:15

From what I have read, the RN is looking at a vessel similar to that converted for the USN form a Point type vessel to be deployed forward with an escort? and possible an RFA Tanker. This would form a Littoral Strike Group. The size of the FLSS negates the need for a Bay to accompany it as it will embark all the necessary hardware, manpower and the majority of the stores needed for operations. From its location it will be tasked with conducting operations over a large area using the embarked surface craft and helicopter, being "Over the horizon", form any targets selected, often remaining in friendly waters.

For larger scale operations it will be able to work effectively with both the Bays and Albions to form what used to be called the Amphibious Ready Group, but this will depend on the location of the FLSS at the time. As these are planned to be forward deployed and often operation from alongside the pier so to speak, it is likely that both will be operational at the same time. As its escort will be doing just that, and providing cover for wherever the FLSS is operating from this also could be operating almost constantly with crews being exchanged in a similar manner to he T-23 operating at the moment in the Gulf.

These two vessels result in the loss of one or more Bays but this would most likely be as an "Efficiency" rather than a logical replacement, so hopefully this will not happen. The FLSS may though have an impact on the successor to the Bays, which could also actually replace these converted FLSS with a common purpose built class for RFAs.

I cannot see any reason for the FLSS to be designed to operate part time as a support RFA for the Carriers. I cannot see them having any use for replenishment at sea capabilities as these should fall out of its remit, plus the RN should have between four and six tankers and two to three brand new Solid Stores platform to fulfil that roll. Trying to include such a capability will dramatically increase the cost and the time it will take to build/convert the platforms, which is being accelerated ASAP.

These are to be, going by what has been release, forward operating bases, first and foremost but with a wider amphibious role envisaged if the need arises.

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Tempest414 » 15 Sep 2019, 09:45

Repulse wrote:“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.


Given this statement what I was saying about a EoS command seems more important to me as it would give the RN / UK the ability scale operations in the Gulf and Indo-Pacific as I said above if this command had

4 x type 31
4 x MCM
1 x FLSS
1 x Bay
1 x Wave
1 x Point

It would have its 3 amphibious ships in the form of FLSS , Bay and a Point plus it would have tanker and escort support if needed

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Repulse » 15 Sep 2019, 10:25

Lord Jim, I see your point on Solid Stores and the complexity it would add to the “FLSS” requirement. Also, the original JSBL concept was aimed at Brigade Level ops where now that would now be seen to be a serious one off commitment, with a combination of large parts of the fleet plus STUFT.

Ultimately though to ensure a global CEPP capability 3 FSS ships are required, so perhaps a more modest FSS design as proposed by BMT/Navantia would allow 3 to be built and leave cash for 2 FLSSs.

What could also happen is that WoS the group (which would primarily be Baltic / Med focused) could be supported by a Wave and the 3rd FSS, whereas EoS the RN keeps the more flexible RFA Victoria which can support both roles - hence removing a Wave from the fleet.
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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby SW1 » 15 Sep 2019, 10:25

If the flag ship hq capability are removed from the Albion’s and transferred to the carriers is there that much reason for retaining them, without that role are they that much different to a bay. Could a new vessel type replace both bay and Albion with a different crew configuration between RFA and RN.

I suspect the marines are now re rolling away from full up battlegroup operations and training, to more small scale operations 42 commando is already configured for such and the others may well follow a similar pattern.

If mcm is heading toward an unmanned future and essentially the mcm ship capability is being replaced with 2 rib sized USVs and some small underwater craft these will like be based with ease on either a bay/type 31 or future flss without compromise to a/c or smaller marine detachments.

The ability to refuel support potential smaller craft, patrol ships or smaller corvettes may be very beneficial in fwd deployed location especially for foreign navy's we maybe operating with these are predominantly the kind craft they operate with and regularly used in littoral. Not to mention possible larger unmanned craft a modern version of this

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depot_s ... air_(AD-11)_moored_in_Pearl_Harbor_with_destroyers_on_8_February_1925.jpg

I believe the bays have some ability already in this regard and building on it maybe of interest.

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Repulse » 15 Sep 2019, 10:33

SW1 wrote:If the flag ship hq capability are removed from the Albion’s and transferred to the carriers is there that much reason for retaining them, without that role are they that much different to a bay.


The main reasons would be they currently provide 75% of the RN well-dock capability, and ship to shore connectors is high up the RMs list as is Littoral fast boats and USuVs. Plus I would expect they could provide good unmanned MCM mothership capabilities.

2nd reason is that we have paid for them already and whilst currently the running costs are high, by removing/mothballing certain non-core capabilities like the one mentioned the costs could be reduced significantly. They are also only 1/2 way through their lifespan.
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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Poiuytrewq » 15 Sep 2019, 12:03

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.

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby SW1 » 15 Sep 2019, 12:24

“Starting in 2023, Royal Marines will be permanently forward-deployed close to potential trouble spots. Company-level combat capabilities will be available to insertion forces of just 12 to 16 Royal Marines.”

Can an A140 with 4 modest RHIBS and an embarked helicopter really be classed as an amphibious ship? Surely not.

How many boats and helicopters do you need to insert a team 16?

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Poiuytrewq » 15 Sep 2019, 14:04

SW1 wrote:How many boats and helicopters do you need to insert a team 16?
How many boats and helicopters do you need to extract your team of 16 if they get into a heavy contact and are pinned down on a hostile shoreline?

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby SW1 » 15 Sep 2019, 14:11

Poiuytrewq wrote:
SW1 wrote:How many boats and helicopters do you need to insert a team 16?
How many boats and helicopters do you need to extract your team of 16 if they get into a heavy contact and are pinned down on a hostile shoreline?


You won’t be extracting them.

At the end of the day Antrim, Plymouth and tidespring retook South Georgia. Infact I don’t think a uk lpd has been used in anger since the Falklands. And we’ve had operation in East Timor, Serra leone, Somalia and Iraq which have inserted troops from the sea.

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Repulse » 15 Sep 2019, 18:02

SW1 wrote:Infact I don’t think a uk lpd has been used in anger since the Falklands.


Good point, but a little unfair as the Albion’s were commissioned just after Telic, which is the main amphibious op since Falklands. Also, they have been used for various Civilian Evacuations in the Med and West Africa which could be classified as conflict zones.

I guess the main thing is that going forwards Cdo level amphibious ops for which they were designed is taking a back seat. My view is to use them both and get value from the investment by expanding their role (and having them if ever needed for a major amphibious operation) rather than scrapping them.
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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby shark bait » 16 Sep 2019, 08:55

Repulse wrote:Going to be interesting to see how it pans out, but what is clear it wasn’t just a wet dream from Gavin Williamson and is something very actively being pursued.


Yes, heard this from a couple of places now. It is a Navy driven project, Williamson only brought it to the surface.
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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 16 Sep 2019, 09:25

Repulse wrote:the focus on scale of operations is clearly different, moving from “ARG” 1,800 troop operations to “LSG” sub 200 (working with SFs) Operations.
I think the word "focus" let's a good thought down; flexibility, as per below?
Lord Jim wrote:The size of the FLSS negates the need for a Bay to accompany it
Yep
Repulse wrote:The main reasons would be they currently provide 75% of the RN well-dock capability, and ship to shore connectors is high up the RMs list as is Littoral fast boats and USuVs.
The "connectors study" that has not been publicised in any way after a brief mention on its launch had full substitution between all other types (but assume LCUs as a given) as its brief.
Poiuytrewq wrote: Possibly deployed either side of Suez and able to combine in extreme circumstances to form the LiTM.
Exactly; perhaps we use "deployed" too much as the former could well be in home waters/ ports and the EoS (Coy-sized) LSG bobbing up and down somewhere where likely needed 'without any notice'?
... as in
Poiuytrewq wrote: highlighted areas are the use of "up to" and "extreme scale"

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby SW1 » 21 Sep 2019, 10:24

https://news.usni.org/2019/09/20/marine ... nt-amphibs

New Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger turned heads when his Commandant’s Planning Guidance said “the global options for amphibs include many more options than simply LHAs, LPDs, and LSDs” and that, on account of a growing anti-access/area-denial threat environment, “visions of a massed naval armada nine nautical miles off-shore in the South China Sea preparing to launch the landing force in swarms of ACVs, LCUs, and LCACs are impractical and unreasonable.”

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Poiuytrewq » 26 Sep 2019, 12:40

Interesting to see what the USMC are developing with their Littoral Combat Group.

https://news.usni.org/2019/09/23/navy-m ... -in-alaska

Clearly this is on a different scale entirely from what the UK could achieve but it will be interesting to see if the proposed UK's LSG(s) will be interoperable with the much larger US LCG.

It's pretty obvious now that Amphibious forces around the world are reorganising and changing direction as securing or striking in Littoral becomes more and more important.

Given the emphasis now placed on contesting Littoral environments, only budgeting £200m for a couple of converted RoRo's seems to be at the lower end of the ambition scale.

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Caribbean » 26 Sep 2019, 13:15

Poiuytrewq wrote:only budgeting £200m for a couple of converted RoRo's seems to be at the lower end of the ambition scale.

It does however, give us flexibility, from an FLSS (effectively a small crossover LPH/Expeditionary Sea Base) and T31 (or even, at the lowest end, an RB2 if the "improved lethality" program goes anywhere), through to Albion + FLSS (roughly equivanent to a US LPD) and T31 (roughly equivalent to an LCS) and on upwards to a fully-fledged ARG.

Edit: Changed LPD to LPH for the FLSS - slip of the finger :oops:
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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Tempest414 » 26 Sep 2019, 18:02

For me the place we need to get to over the next few years is having two LSG's made up of

1 x FLSS
1 x Bay
1 x Point

one group EoS and one West these groups could be backed up by the duty Carrier group and Albion. I still feel we should also be looking to form a EoS command with 4 x Type 31 , 1 x FLSS , 1 x Bay , 1 x Wave , 1 x Point and 4 MCM this would be a respectful force able to conducted operations along with our allies in the Gulf and Indo-Pacific

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Lord Jim » 26 Sep 2019, 18:57

We need to be very careful that the rush to establish Littoral Strike Groups does not weaken our ability to conduct other types of operation that are part of our core priorities and capabilities. The Bay's and Points are vital in our ability to move a combat Brigade by sea and spreading these platforms around the world will significantly reduce our ability to carry out such an operation. Given the ground force component of any LSG is likely to be no more than a Company sized formation of Royal Marines and a contingent of Special Forces, why does a FLSS need to be accompanied by a Bay and a Point? To this end I cannot see the need for our planned LSD to comprise of more than;
1 x FLSS
1 x T-31
1 x Wave
The last platform would probably be a regional assets available to support the LSG during transit over longer distances, and so would be assigned when and where it is needed.

The USN/USMC LCG is not just on a different scale to any RN LSG, but provides a totally different level of Capability. There is no way our FLSS is going to have anything like the capabilities of a San Antonio class, nor can we pair our FLSS with a warship with the capabilities of a USN Arleigh Burke DDG. There will also be a significant different in the operating doctrine between out LSG and the USN/USMC LCG. For us to conduct similar operation would involve the commitment of out entire amphibious force.

Our LSG will hopefully be fully capable of conducting self contained amphibious raiding mission, for want of a better description. With this capability it should be very capable of supplement our own more conventional amphibious operations and those of our allies. In fact working EOS together with the RAN and USN should be one of its core tasks. In this our LSG would bring a number of skill sets very complimentary to those of our allies.

Alternatively during the occasional deployment of our CSG to the Far East the LSG would give that formation some very useful additional capabilities whilst it is in theatre, and lessen the need to dispatch one of our convention amphibious platforms with the CSG. Of course if larger amphibious operation are planned then these should be sent in the numbers deemed necessary, and these together with the LSG would form a more conventional Amphibious Group.

Like the Army's planned "Strike" Brigades, the Royal Navy's planned LSG is a new capability unlike anything that has really gone before it and the MoD will be writing the rule book pretty much from scratch. Trying to stich together an operation doctrine from pieces of existing practice will create a Dog's dinner, limiting the effectiveness of the LSG and will not provide the LSG with the tools to maximise its capabilities and hence effectiveness. With tools I mean that the FLSS needs to be designed and built with its true mission in mind. This has to be compliments by the purchase of the necessary ship to shore connectors that will be needed by the embarked troops to carry out their mission, and this should be more than a half dozen RHIBs of various guises. The LSG is not meant to be a mini ARG, and its core platform should not be a smaller version of either the Albions, Bays nor remove one of our existing Points from its existing role.

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Poiuytrewq » 27 Sep 2019, 08:27

Caribbean wrote:It does however, give us flexibility, from an FLSS (effectively a small crossover LPH/Expeditionary Sea Base)
A low cost opener to test the developing doctrine of Littoral Strike perhaps? With something more meaningful to follow in the 2030's (when the Amphibs are replaced) if the FLSS concept proves successful?

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 27 Sep 2019, 08:44

a small crossover LPH/Expeditionary Sea Base


Nicely 'coined' :thumbup:
- small as in the force normally projected/ embarked (ferry function aside; as part of a larger TF)
- not small as for ship size as persistence is part of the core mission

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Re: Future Littoral Strike Ships

Postby Poiuytrewq » 27 Sep 2019, 08:48

Lord Jim wrote:To this end I cannot see the need for our planned LSD to comprise of more than;
1 x FLSS
1 x T-31
1 x Wave
The important thing is that the force structure is scalable and therfore highly cost effective.
It could range from a FLSS on a singleton deployment, through to a full LSG, perhaps two combined LSG's and then all the way up to the maximum effort LitM.

Versatility is the key.

If the FLSS hits the water in the next two years it should become operational by around 2023/2024. Plenty of time to evaluate both the LSG concept and the performance of the FLSS before committing to a follow on batch of T31's.

Given that each FLSS is expected to cost less than £100m as opposed to the T31's £250m+, it will be interesting to see if the priority is for more T31's or more FLSS.


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