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

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

Post by Repulse »

Interesting that the 1SL yesterday in the commons started to raise the option of Argus remaining till 2026 (a 2yr extension).

Given the broader fleet composition the Aviation Support Ship requirement remains key and there are now only 4 ships in the fleet that can operation more than 2 helicopters in the fleet (2 CVFs, RFA Argus and RFA Fort Victoria).

Pairing Argus with a LSD for the LRG(S) seems to be the logical short term solution to me.

With the recent RoRo RFI then it seems the option of converting a few Points is dead. This really leaves only the MRSS as an option, but with it's potential MCM mothership role (also mentioned by the 1SL) then we could end up in a FSSS situation where the requirement does not match the budget.

My vote remains for a 3rd flat-top :D
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Post by Tempest414 »

Repulse wrote:Pairing Argus with a LSD for the LRG(S) seems to be the logical short term solution to me.
As I said 8 weeks ago as she is just out of refit now is the time to send her EoS as the lead ship of LRG south for the next 4 years along with 2 Merlin and 2 Wildcats .

Argus along with the Gulf based LSD and the 2 Indo-Pac B'2's would make a good first step for long term deployment EoS
Repulse wrote:My vote remains for a 3rd flat-top
at least we can agree on this if not what it should look like and do

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

Post by Jensy »



(£) https://www.shephardmedia.com/news/nava ... abilities/


RFA Argus medical facilities will eventually be replaced by a capability hosted on the future Multi Role Support Ships (MRSS)


The UK MoD has confirmed it plans to extend the service of life its primary casualty receiving ship RFA Argus beyond 2030.

The MoD confirmed the decision in a letter from Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin to the UK Parliament’s Defence Committee, dated 13 June and made public on 29 June.

RFA Argus, with its onboard Role Three medical capability, was scheduled for retirement in 2024. Plans were being explored to extend it until 2026.
Can only see this as a positive. I don't think anyone was expecting the MRSS to enter service much before 2030.

Also somewhat compensates for nothing having been done yet to fit a fixed hanger on the Bay Class LSDs.
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Post by Repulse »

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

Post by donald_of_tokyo »

Looking at the article, I was wandering how RFA is to man the planned assets.

RFA (and RN) is in shortage of crew, especially skilled engineers. RFA Argus will be active until 2030, which is good. But, in view of man-power, I think
  • her crew was kept by simply putting Wave Knight into extended readiness, I guess.
  • considering the situation around 2030, Argus will NOT be replaced by MRSS, but rather by FSSS.
Now RFA “mans”, 4 Tides, 1 Argus, 1 Fort Victoria, and 3 Bays. 2 Waves have no crew. When 3 FSSS come in, Tides and Bays will still be there. Then, how can RFA man the 3 FSSS?

I guess the plan will be to man 3 FSSS with the crew from Argus and Fort Victoria (This means the FSS crew must be ~2/3 of current For Victoria and Argus. Or, there can be only 2 FSSS "active" = third one not built, or always in extended-readiness/deep maintenance).

What is more, how can RN/RFA man the (up to) 6 MRSS? The crew must come from, HMS Albion (or Bulwark) and the 3 Bays. Simple assumption is that, 2 MRSS will have a crew of 150 RN sailers, and 4 (or 3) MRSS will individually manned with 80 (or 110) RFA crew. Not easy, but doable, I hope.
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Post by wargame_insomniac »

donald_of_tokyo wrote: 03 Jul 2022, 14:18 Looking at the article, I was wandering how RFA is to man the planned assets.

RFA (and RN) is in shortage of crew, especially skilled engineers. RFA Argus will be active until 2030, which is good. But, in view of man-power, I think
  • her crew was kept by simply putting Wave Knight into extended readiness, I guess.
  • considering the situation around 2030, Argus will NOT be replaced by MRSS, but rather by FSSS.
Now RFA “mans”, 4 Tides, 1 Argus, 1 Fort Victoria, and 3 Bays. 2 Waves have no crew. When 3 FSSS come in, Tides and Bays will still be there. Then, how can RFA man the 3 FSSS?

I guess the plan will be to man 3 FSSS with the crew from Argus and Fort Victoria (This means the FSS crew must be ~2/3 of current For Victoria and Argus. Or, there can be only 2 FSSS "active" = third one not built, or always in extended-readiness/deep maintenance).

What is more, how can RN/RFA man the (up to) 6 MRSS? The crew must come from, HMS Albion (or Bulwark) and the 3 Bays. Simple assumption is that, 2 MRSS will have a crew of 150 RN sailers, and 4 (or 3) MRSS will individually manned with 80 (or 110) RFA crew. Not easy, but doable, I hope.
I believe in one of the articles I read (can't remember if it was Navy Lookout or UK Defence Journal) it mentioned that the 6 MRSS would replace Argus, Albion & Bulwark and 3 Bays.

I presumed that 3 FSS would replace Fort Victoria and both Waves. So we would end up eventually with 4 Tides, 3 FSS & 6 MRSS.

But unfortunately that is going to require additional crew to what we have now so the government will have to fund extra salaries and put more emphasis on both crew recruitment and retention. So far we have seen no evidence that they are planning to do so.

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

Post by Repulse »

The lack of RN and RFA crew and the resulting early retirement of vessels is fast becoming a scandal. What ever comes next, the RN cannot argue for more kit if it can’t use what it has.

Also, the RFA has to return to its roots, replenishment and logistics. For too long it’s been used to fill in inappropriately gaps - whilst mixed crews is possible the working conditions and risk expectations are completely different between the two, and can only be suboptimal and lead to issues onboard.

If 9 is the limit of the current RFA crewing capabilities it either needs increasing or the size of the fleet needs to be limited to 9.

If it is 9 then the priority has to be replenishment based on 6 Tankers (4 Tides + 2 Waves) and 3 Solid Support Ships.

One option is to expand the SSS requirements to also cover some of the original JSBL (Joint Sea Based Logistics) ship requirements allowing more flexibility to move between the CSGs and LRGs. The reality is that in anything major the two groups would be joined as a single group anyway.

This of course would be combined with a new contract to replace the Point capability, plus I suggest the T32 becoming a fleet of 3 LPMs (Littoral Platform Motherships) as discussed on the escorts [Edit] thread.
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Post by Tempest414 »

Repulse wrote: 03 Jul 2022, 17:04 The lack of RN and RFA crew and the resulting early retirement of vessels is fast becoming a scandal. What ever comes next, the RN cannot argue for more kit if it can’t use what it has.

Also, the RFA has to return to its roots, replenishment and logistics. For too long it’s been used to fill in inappropriately gaps - whilst mixed crews is possible the working conditions and risk expectations are completely different between the two, and can only be suboptimal and lead to issues onboard.

If 9 is the limit of the current RFA crewing capabilities it either needs increasing or the size of the fleet needs to be limited to 9.

If it is 9 then the priority has to be replenishment based on 6 Tankers (4 Tides + 2 Waves) and 3 Solid Support Ships.

One option is to expand the SSS requirements to also cover some of the original JSBL (Joint Sea Based Logistics) ship requirements allowing more flexibility to move between the CSGs and LRGs. The reality is that in anything major the two groups would be joined as a single group anyway.

This of course would be combined with a new contract to replace the Point capability, plus I suggest the T32 becoming a fleet of 3 LPMs (Littoral Platform Motherships) as discussed on the escorts [Edit] thread.
Maybe we should start a new scheme for the RFA to offer over seas nationals contracts that if they do say a full 26 years service they git UK citizenship
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Post by navynewbie »

A quick question that I've not seen the answer for online...

How many helicopters can Argus carry in her hangars? Thanks.

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

Post by donald_of_tokyo »

navynewbie wrote: 23 Nov 2022, 22:30 A quick question that I've not seen the answer for online...

How many helicopters can Argus carry in her hangars? Thanks.
Hi navynewbie-san, welcome!

See
https://www.navylookout.com/the-oldest- ... rike-ship/
and you can find your answer in "Space" panel of figure 2. In caption, the article states

Argus could theoretically accommodate up to 9 Merlin-sized helicopters if required, although she does not have the weapon storage facilities of a true aircraft carrier or LPH.

From Tokyo...

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Post by navynewbie »

Thank you! I obviously missed that article!

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

Post by Repulse »

If the Iranians can do it, then the RN can do it (as a replacement for Argus).

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

Post by Tempest414 »

I have been playing with an idea over Xmas of replacing the 4 points , Argus and the 3 Bays with 6 Baltic Enabler class CONRO.

3 ships as are and 3 reconfigured with full length full width flight decks and a Island with the weather deck enclosed to make a hangar and hospital the upper deck configured for accommodation and planning leaving the main deck and lower hold with 2600 lane meters of space ( the same as a point class ) giving us 3 Auxiliary / escort carriers

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

Post by Poiuytrewq »

IMO it’s inconceivable that RN replace the Amphibs without some sort of flightdeck for launching and recovering large numbers of drones.

If the MRSS programme was supposed to be entirely Ellida based I think it’s history.
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Post by Repulse »

I personally think that a rolling rotation rather than a single big purchase for a new class is the best way to go. Keeps it relatively under the radar for cuts and maximises value for cost. I’d start with a commercial conversion for an Argus replacement, then think about even a 2nd one to replace a Bay.

What still needs to defined is the logistical requirements for the Army, as this will be the biggest influence for the LSD replacements. Given a similar Points replacement is being put into place, any significant change feels a decade away which feels ok.
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Post by Poiuytrewq »

Repulse wrote: 31 Dec 2022, 13:36 I personally think that a rolling rotation rather than a single big purchase for a new class is the best way to go. Keeps it relatively under the radar for cuts and maximises value for cost. I’d start with a commercial conversion for an Argus replacement, then think about even a 2nd one to replace a Bay.
I agree. A distributed build schedule over a decade or more makes more sense, especially if a single common design is not be pursued.
What still needs to defined is the logistical requirements for the Army, as this will be the biggest influence for the LSD replacements. Given a similar Points replacement is being put into place, any significant change feels a decade away which feels ok.
If RN do not start embrace drones in a big way within the next 5 to 6 years they risk getting behind the curve. The technology is maturing rapidly and endless feasibility programmes with no clear outcomes are not going to cut it. Can RN be that nimble anymore when it comes to technological advancement? The recent track record is not encouraging and not everything can be blamed on a lack of funding.

The Points are an interesting proposition as an interim drone/helicopter assault carrier. A cheap conversion with an enormous hanger is possible very much like the FLSS concepts.
30DFD22B-0094-4806-8ABD-6CD557E7EDCF.gif
Adding a ski-ramp at the bow and enlarging the hanger further into the superstructure to embark more drones and less troops would seem perfectly possible.

As a cheap Argus replacement it may be a cost effective and practical place to start.
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Post by Tempest414 »

For me the new Baltic Enabler class at 242 x 35 meters is the starting point and as said they need to be a flattop going forward if we take this on a CONRO ship of this size with a flattop could operate as a ASW carrier with say 8 naval Predator B's in ASW and 6 helicopters or in assault carrier with 8 Predator's in Recce/strike and 16 helicopters

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

Post by Repulse »

Some good pics inside Argus, forget how big the deck and hangar are. Good choice to keep as an interim ASS IMO.

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/british ... licopters/
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Post by Repulse »

It’s even got a Phalanx

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

Post by Poiuytrewq »

Repulse wrote: 21 Mar 2023, 20:39 Good choice to keep as an interim ASS IMO.
Actually I see it as an embarrassing illustration of how ridiculous recent planning has been. Trying to argue that Ocean had to be sold after only being commissioned for 20 years and then retain Argus until the 2030s is pathetic and indefensible.

As a stopgap Argus is a decent choice for LRG(S) but surely it’s time to look into a replacement. By 2030 Argus will have been in the water for over 50 years!

Also proves that the MRSS idea to replace the entire Amphib fleet looks like it is changing already.

Is PWLS still going to masquerade as a LPH for LRG(N)?

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

Post by Repulse »

Poiuytrewq wrote: 21 Mar 2023, 21:32 Actually I see it as an embarrassing illustration of how ridiculous recent planning has been. Trying to argue that Ocean had to be sold after only being commissioned for 20 years and then retain Argus until the 2030s is pathetic and indefensible.

As a stopgap Argus is a decent choice for LRG(S) but surely it’s time to look into a replacement. By 2030 Argus will have been in the water for over 50 years!

Also proves that the MRSS idea to replace the entire Amphib fleet looks like it is changing already.

Is PWLS still going to masquerade as a LPH for LRG(N)?
I’m not sure it’s an embarrassment, but definitely an Auxiliary Aviation Support Ship replacement is a must have. Using the CVFs in this role is quite possible, but shouldn’t be the first choice.

The MRSS looks dead, and would say that it is a good thing. I think three LPDs, a RFA ASS and another FSS to allow one to be available for the LRG* is the optimal affordable solution when coupled with smaller units operating from other platforms.

* The idea of LRG(N) + LRG(S) looks dead also. More likely I think is a single LRG with units operating globally as the need arises
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Post by SW1 »

Poiuytrewq wrote: 21 Mar 2023, 21:32
Repulse wrote: 21 Mar 2023, 20:39 Good choice to keep as an interim ASS IMO.
Actually I see it as an embarrassing illustration of how ridiculous recent planning has been. Trying to argue that Ocean had to be sold after only being commissioned for 20 years and then retain Argus until the 2030s is pathetic and indefensible.

As a stopgap Argus is a decent choice for LRG(S) but surely it’s time to look into a replacement. By 2030 Argus will have been in the water for over 50 years!

Also proves that the MRSS idea to replace the entire Amphib fleet looks like it is changing already.

Is PWLS still going to masquerade as a LPH for LRG(N)?
Ocean was built because last time they tried Argus in this role it was clear it was inadequate. Ocean had to go because the 2015 review insisted that the 2nd carrier was to be operational, despite that never being the plan and despite there only being one carrier crew/airgroup. Hence the 2nd carrier will be a Lph to replace ocean. When people are reminded that the carrier program completely bent the equipment program out of shape and balance it’s not the other services they’re talking about it is the navy’s.

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

Post by Repulse »

Argus is not being used as a LPH, nor are the CVFs. They need to be used in combination with the LPDs to deliver OTH assault / support capabilities. In a world of limited funds and hard choices this is ok IMO.
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Re: RFA Argus (Casualty Receiving Ship / Aviation Training Ship) (RFA)

Post by donald_of_tokyo »

HMS Ocean needs 285 crew apart from air-wing crew. RFA Argus needs 80+50 RFA/RN crew. The latter has smaller resource with smaller capability.

Disbanding Ocean in 20years old is not a bad thing, she was designed to be short lived.

Using Argus for 50years is very interesting and surprising. Specialist in PCRS means, "important" but "not with major importance to build a replacement putting significant resource", made her live long. Aviation capability was "good" but not "good enough to kill LPH requirement" so that HMS PoW was NOT considered as Argus replacement (but considered as Ocean replacement).

She is "tough" to "sink". :D

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

Post by Poiuytrewq »

Repulse wrote: 21 Mar 2023, 21:42 I’m not sure it’s an embarrassment…
Its a complete failure of successive governments.

Let’s rewind a little.

- The UK had three invincible class aircraft carriers.

- The UK decided to replace them with two QE aircraft carriers

- The UK had a well proportioned Amphibious fleet consisting of one LPH, two LPDs, four LSDs and Argus (which has had various roles).

- Successive governments decided to cut the navy to ribbons. Ocean and Largs Bay were sold for a pittance. Manpower levels were reduced to ridiculous levels and one LPD was mothballed. F35 numbers were radically reduced requiring PWLS to find something else to do. The obvious choice was to get a 65,000t £3bn CVF to perform the role of a 21,000t £154m LPH.

Now Argus is to assume the role of LPH again even though this was the original reason Ocean was built due to the unsuitability of Argus for Amphibious Assault. Argus has now been in the water for 45yrs.

Where is the coherent plan to build the ships the UK needs a price the UK taxpayer can afford?

It is a national embarrassment.
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