Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Contains threads on Royal Navy equipment of the past, present and future.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Repulse »

Lord Jim wrote: This would seem more logical that having teh MRSS replace the Bays, as the former are far more expensive to operate
Completely agree - and what is more they are completely different roles.

The RMs needs a larger number of smaller / cheaper LPDs which can operate independently but also operate together for larger operations. They need to be sized to normally operate a RM company sized LCU (if I have the terminology correct) plus kit and at extreme scaled to accommodate two LCUs in austere conditions. In this sense, 4 mini LPDs makes sense, but perhaps a 5th attached to LRG(N) to ensure Med coverage would be a good approach IMO.

The Army needs logistics to transport and re-supply a land based Brigade landed via a safe port or prepared landing ground. This does not need a LPD, it was what the LSD was supposed to be designed for, and the Points do. I’d argue that probably more Point style ships (perhaps with modular accommodation) should be the priority here. Forget wasting funds on more LPDs or LHDs etc. Keep it focused and simple.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Tempest414 »

If we take what is in the pipe line and apply a little fantasy to it so we have Type 32 and MRSS in the future mix as thing stand so what could be done

Type 32 RN ) If T-32 was a up dated Absalon keeping the 127mm and 40mm guns and the full width hangar for 2 Merlin plus adding 2 extra boat bays and say 24 CAMM and capable of carrying say 100 crew plus 50 in support of helicopter ops and 120 troops norm

MRSS RFA ) if MRSS was capable of carrying 4 helicopters off of 2 spots plus 200 troops norm 350 in max plus fitted with a well dock to operate LCVP and small boats

Light carrier RN ) If we could add a light carrier to allow 2 flat tops at all time and allow something between the LSG and CSG capable of carrying 24 aircraft and 4 x landing craft plus 400 troops norm ( air wings 6 Merlin , 6 Apache , 2 Chinook or 12 F-35 8 ASW Merlin 2 AEW Merlin

As said up thread LRG's N & S could be made up of 1 x MRSS , 1 x T-32 & 1 x escort able to carry 4 Merlin and 3 wildcats plus 300 troops plus give NGFS and local area air defence .

LRG centre could be made up of 2 x T32 and 1 x escort able to operate 2 Merlin and 3 Wildcat plus 240 troops this group could move into the Black sea if needed if the escort was a T-26 or 45 it could also support the North or South groups

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by jedibeeftrix »

Tempest414 wrote:a well dock to operate LCVP and small boats
a well dock to operate LCVP?

do you mean LCU, a dock is a very expensive thing compared to some davits if we're only considering dinky little boats...

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Tempest414
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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jedibeeftrix wrote:
Tempest414 wrote:a well dock to operate LCVP and small boats
a well dock to operate LCVP?

do you mean LCU, a dock is a very expensive thing compared to some davits if we're only considering dinky little boats...
yes LCU as well

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Lord Jim »

These days I would put NGFS in the "Quite nice to have", category rather than essential, especially with the Royal Navy's next round of new escorts, namely the T-32 followed by the T-83. Shore based, mobile AShMs are always going to outrange any contemporary gun fitted to an Escort, and therefore conducting NGFS is going to become increasingly detrimental to the health of any warship undertaking such a task. To this, when designing an escort, you need to take into consideration the size, weight and cost of a modern automatic main gun. Would the above be better used to other systems aboard the ship? If providing fire support frim the sea is deemed essential then a missile based approach is far more valid and survivable, and as mentioned up thread, could be met by using Army systems rather than a bespoke naval one.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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Lord Jim,You are right that in most cases NGFS is increasingly limited - unless of course the RN builds some modern day Monitors with a couple of Railguns... :D
”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: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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the other thing to bear in mind is HIMARS only comes in 6 shot packs and they range is all good but unless you are only going to put your troops ashore with helicopters from 150 km's plus your ship will need close on the coast line given that 127mm with extend rounds can cover 90 Km's there is use for both plus the 127mm dose not need the auto mag system. So what is needed is good ISTAR to find land baaed SSGW's sites then using a missile base system to take them down so ships can close on a coast to off load troops by sea and support them with NGFS

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Repulse »

ArmChairCivvy / Lord Jim - if I am understanding correctly the core of the LSG (or LRG depending on what MOD is using nowadays) is the LSU - typically there will be one LSU stood up with the other 3 at various stages of the "leave, train, standby + deployed" cycle. Obviously, a key part of the FCF concept is the ability to scale up and down for the operation in hand, but most of the time a LSG will have a single LSU, but can surge up to four LSUs if required in extreme circumstances.

If we assume each LSG will be compromised primarily of 2 amphibious ships (let's call them LPDs for ease) and two escorts, whereby typically a LPD + Escort will be deployed at one time. In addition will be RFA assets as required. That would also suggest that a LPD + Escort group would typically have 1 LSU onboard, but needs to scale to 2 LSUs.

I know it's verging on Fantasy, but what would be interesting is to use this requirement as a guide to discuss the size / capabilities of the ships required.

A LSU as I understand it, is effectively a RM company (120 men) plus support (artillery and logistics etc). Very happy to be shot down, as I have limited knowledge here, but the structure / large equipment list could be:
  • Troop A (30 RMs): Assault & Littoral Security Troop - e.g. securing a landing ground then protecting the insertion point via fast boats
    • Deployed on the Escort
    • 4 ORCs
  • Troop B (30 RMs): Amphibious Close Combat Troop - e.g. LC inserted light rapid force
    • Deployed from the LPD via LCVP (or similar)
    • 8 x Polaris MRZR-D4s
    • 4 x LCVPs (or similar)
  • Troop C (30 RMs): Armoured Support Troop - e.g. LC inserted follow up support
    • Deployed from the LPD via LCM/LCU (or similar)
    • 4 x Vikings
    • 2 x LCUs (or similar)
  • Troop D (30 RMs): Airborne Close Combat Troop - e.g. Helicopter inserted light rapid force
    • Deployed via Merlin
    • 8 x Polaris MRZR-D4s (under slung on Merlins after initial insertion)
    • 2 x Merlins
    • 2 x Wildcat AHs
  • Supporting Ground Units (@80? RMs/Army): Follow on units from the LPD deployed via LCM/LCU
    • HQ: 6 RMs + 2 x Land Rovers
    • Reconnaissance / sniper section: 8 RMs + 2 x Polaris MRZR-D4s
    • Mortar Troop: 8 RMs + 2 x Vikings
    • Anti-Tank (AT) Troop: 12 RMs + 2 x Vikings
    • Artillery: ?
    • Air Defence: ?
    • Logistics: ?
  • Supporting Air Units
    • 2 x Wildcat HMAs

All very broad brush, but it is easy to see that to support a LSU you need to be able to transport and deploy:
  • 200 RM/Army personnel
  • 2 Merlins + 4 Wildcats
  • 4 ORCs + 2 LCMs / LCUs + 4 LCVPs (or similar)
  • 8 x Vikings and 20 light vehicles
  • Plus Artillery + Air Defence units
  • Plus Logistics
If you are performing an extreme / large operation where 2 LSUs would be deployed on each LPD then you need to double most of it.

Confirms IMO that currently an Albion LPD + Argus + Escort basis for a LRG isn't far wrong, with the ability to add another LPD/LSD in extreme conditions. It also sort of confirms the 4 to 6 MRSS discussion.

This of course is in addition to the logistics required to deploy an Army Brigade...
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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And this is what I am saying if type 32 was a Absalon with the two added boat bays and keeping the twin hangar and it was paired with a MRSS capable of carrying 4 helicopters off 2 spots and operating LCU's & LCVP's from a well dock the Absalon could close on the coast deliver your troop A supported by troop D in a Merlin and a Wildcat plus offer NGFS once in the MRSS with a escort could close in and deploy the rest these ships could move upto 2 LSU's

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by jedibeeftrix »

two years later, and my concerns** about this notion of 'multiple companies' of marines yomping around after mobile artillary units remain unassauged!

** https://jedibeeftrix.wordpress.com/2019 ... ew-future/

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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Repulse wrote:Confirms IMO that currently an Albion LPD + Argus + Escort basis for a LRG isn't far wrong, with the ability to add another LPD/LSD in extreme conditions. It also sort of confirms the 4 to 6 MRSS discussion.
So as said up thread with LRG N made up of a LPD + 1 Bay and escort if LRG S was to be made up of Argus + 1 bay and a escort plus the ability to add a point we would be in a good place

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Repulse »

Tempest414, but the Argus + Bay + Escort would be much more limited given the number of LCVPs/LCUs. A Bay is ultimately a logistics ship.
”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: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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jedibeeftrix wrote:two years later, and my concerns** about this notion of 'multiple companies' of marines yomping around after mobile artillary units remain unassauged!

** https://jedibeeftrix.wordpress.com/2019 ... ew-future/
I assume this is where vehicles like the Polaris come into play?
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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Repulse wrote:Tempest414, but the Argus + Bay + Escort would be much more limited given the number of LCVPs/LCUs. A Bay is ultimately a logistics ship.
I agree but at this time LRG/S is going to be a Bay + escort only and I would love nothing more than to get the second LPD going for this task but by adding Argus it would give LRG/S good airborne options

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Poiuytrewq »

IMO,

1x LPD
1x T23GP
1x Wave
plus a Bay or Argus

is simply unaffordable for a LRG in the current climate if it is to be required to be available on a regular basis.

I think the LRG concept is substantially more modest than the group discussed above.

Personally I think it is highly likely that both LPD’s will be placed in extended readiness if the Bays are converted with permanent hangers. It makes much more sense to convert the LPD’s and squeeze the utility out of the Bays in other ways.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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Poiuytrewq, would agree and converting / using the Bays would give a much more limited capability than using the two LPDs that are already built. Argus plus an Albion would give a solid LSG(S) capability- though would cost @£50mn more a year to run which isn’t negligible but ultimately a rounding issue in the MOD budget.

Longer term if the MRSS turned out to be something like the Singapore Endurance Class then I think it could be a good fit for the role.
”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: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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Repulse wrote: 17 Nov 2021, 17:53 Poiuytrewq, would agree and converting / using the Bays would give a much more limited capability than using the two LPDs that are already built. Argus plus an Albion would give a solid LSG(S) capability- though would cost @£50mn more a year to run which isn’t negligible but ultimately a rounding issue in the MOD budget.

Longer term if the MRSS turned out to be something like the Singapore Endurance Class then I think it could be a good fit for the role.
Are we not trying to make MRSS fit a small part of the bigger picture if the size needs to be limited to sub 10k for the black sea

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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Tempest414 wrote: 19 Nov 2021, 11:58 Are we not trying to make MRSS fit a small part of the bigger picture if the size needs to be limited to sub 10k for the black sea
It depends on what the bigger picture looks like - if we are scaling that a MRSS can accommodate a full LSU (and kit), then excluding logistics to transport an Army brigade then probably 4-6 MRSSs (with smaller units based on existing RN vessels) is the big picture with RFA support.
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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Poiuytrewq »

Tempest414 wrote: 19 Nov 2021, 11:58
Repulse wrote: 17 Nov 2021, 17:53
Longer term if the MRSS turned out to be something like the Singapore Endurance Class then I think it could be a good fit for the role.
Are we not trying to make MRSS fit a small part of the bigger picture if the size needs to be limited to sub 10k for the black sea
The design of the MRSS will be completely dependent on the FCF concept maturing.

Therefore the priority is to use the existing platforms to their fullest extent and finesse the concept until a clear way forward emerges.

IMO HADR will become the primary function of the LRG’s. The interim platforms will need to have the capacity to accommodate mexefloats and heavy reconstruction equipment as well as all the FCF raiding/assault kit.

Lots of other elements remain unclear. For example, what strategic value has a constantly available rapid reaction commando force specialising in short endurance littoral strike in the Indo-Pacific? Where would it ever be used and against whom? Not clear at all.

Rapid reaction littoral strike forces would be massively useful in multiple theatres across the globe but the Indo-Pacific would be pretty low down the list in terms of strategic value. A mixed surface and sub-surface group of T31’s, RB2’s, Wildcats, UUAV’s, UAV’s operating with RFA support could have enormous strategic value in the Indo-Pacific as a disruption and containment force. Such a force could be highly effective and very persistent for a minimal operating cost. Much more effective than 100 marines bobbing around in the SCS IMO.

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Tempest414 »

The way I see it is MRSS will be a RFA operated ship replacing the 3 Bays and 1 Wave class the other Wave and Argus will not be replaced instead the RFA will end up with

4 Tide class
4 MRSS
3 SSS


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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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Poiuytrewq wrote: 20 Nov 2021, 09:01 Nice overview, well worth a read.

https://engagingstrategy.blogspot.com/2 ... e.html?m=1
very good thanks

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

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Poiuytrewq wrote: 19 Nov 2021, 14:43 IMO HADR will become the primary function of the LRG’s. The interim platforms will need to have the capacity to accommodate mexefloats and heavy reconstruction equipment as well as all the FCF raiding/assault kit.
I think focusing the LRG on HADR would be a big mistake. I do see a role for the delivery of immediate (water/food/shelter) supplies and forces to support local law enforcement, and also being able to survey/secure/temporarily repair ports, but nothing more. Basically, allowing the rapid deployment of government and civilian agencies who can do the real and long term lifting.

The LRGs need to be focused on their real primary role which is the delivery and support of small/scalable elite units into "warm to hot" risk environments.
Poiuytrewq wrote: 19 Nov 2021, 14:43 Lots of other elements remain unclear. For example, what strategic value has a constantly available rapid reaction commando force specialising in short endurance littoral strike in the Indo-Pacific? Where would it ever be used and against whom? Not clear at all.

Rapid reaction littoral strike forces would be massively useful in multiple theatres across the globe but the Indo-Pacific would be pretty low down the list in terms of strategic value. A mixed surface and sub-surface group of T31’s, RB2’s, Wildcats, UUAV’s, UAV’s operating with RFA support could have enormous strategic value in the Indo-Pacific as a disruption and containment force. Such a force could be highly effective and very persistent for a minimal operating cost. Much more effective than 100 marines bobbing around in the SCS IMO.
I do agree in part to the general thrust of what you are saying, but having a single LRG covering the Gulf, Indian and Pacific Oceans will mean that the force will be thinly spread and therefore should be fully utilized in a number of engagements in collaboration with partners. A good example would be to help support allied nations to defend their atolls in the SCS by giving the ability to deploy additional forces. Another one is the neutralizing non state actors involved in piracy and terrorism. Having a force on standby, albeit small and limited, will give options in an increasingly turbulent region.

Having said that, I would still be looking at a B2 + RFA Wave combination to supplement the LRG and increase presence, in combination with more occasional CSG and SSN deployments.
”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: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by wargame_insomniac »

Hi First post.

As a layman I am finding it very confusing what the Future Commando Force programme and the creation of two new Littoral Response Groups (North and South) will mean both to the Royal Marines and the RN/RFA Amphibious Warships. I have seen articles talking about (converting) Littoral Strike Ships as well as building new Multi Role Support Ships (as well as replacement Fleet Solid Support ships). Is it me or does everything feel up in the air and liable to fall down if not all these promises are kept....

I know you can't compare the Royal Marines to US Marines Corps, but when you look at the latter, they will shortly have ten LHA's / LHD's, a dozen LPD's, a dozen LSD's, as well as 7 Command Ships and Expeditionary Docks / Sea Bases, not to mention a dozen plus Fast Transports. But at the moment we have no LHD's, just the two RN Albion Class LPD's (with one in extended readiness) and at most four RFA ships (three Bay class LSD's and Argus helicopter support / hospital ship), with pretty much of all of these due to replaced iin the next decade.

How are we going to support two LRG's with such few amphibious ships, (let alone provide an escorts for them)? It seems that we would struggle to move one complete RM Commando in one go or to move separtely the six companies of another Commando. I am guessing that if just an individual RM Troop was being deployed then they could be carried by a Type 23 Frigate or River Class OPV??

It seems that we would need in future something like 2 LHD's, 3-4 LPD's or LSD's, and maybe half a doen smaller ships. But I doubt the RN Budget could stretch to that whilst also maintaining two carriers, six destroyers and (eventually) 18 frigates. What concrete facts / figures do we know about these new Multi Role Support Ships? What tonnage will they be? Similar size to Bay Class or smaller?

Presumably Bulwark would need to be reactivated for LRG South? What impact will this have on the already stretched Bay Class?

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Re: Current & Future Amphibious Capability - General Discussion

Post by Lord Jim »

I understand your confusion, but more an entire Commando will become a rare event once the FCF is implemented and hopefully the required ships are assigned. And LRG will normally only have a single Marine Company or LSU assigned to it. In a nutshell the RM are moving away from being seen as another Infantry brigade/Battalion organisation aimed at moving such formations over the beach. It is returning to its roots so to speak and destined to be conducting raids and other smaller scale operation as the norm.

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