RFA ARGUS replacement - what and when?

The disaster relief shop isn't a bad idea. Especially as hurricanes laying waste to sunny islands seems to be an annual occurrence now.

what if it was actually an RFA PCRF vessel? DFID could cover some costs, RFA crew, NHS sponsored reserves/twinning programme.

We'll use it when needed.
 
Staffed by whom? The NHS is already cripplingly short of doctors and particularly nurses and no trust is going to allow their staff to amble off halfway round the world like that. And it’s only NHS staff (plus a few who normally work in private hospitals) that would be clinically current and competent enough to work on it. The idea is a complete white elephant.
I must have imagined the NHS staff being released by their Trusts for Op GRITLOCK...
 
I’m sure she does.... ‘Oh look, another responsibility that we can abrogate to the wider world’.

It wouldn’t reduce health tourism in any way at all.
Having had innumerable dealings with health tourists, I beg to differ. It would be far, far cheaper than the present clusterfcuk of almost unlimited liabilities.
 

Yokel

LE
Having had innumerable dealings with health tourists, I beg to differ. It would be far, far cheaper than the present clusterfcuk of almost unlimited liabilities.
We could even lead an international initiative with an international crew, international medical staff, the vessel(s) provides work to a British yard(s), and this is part of soft power.

The Americans have used their hospital ships in that sort of role in Latin America and the Pacific.

Anyway, this getting away from the things I wondered about - the future PCRS, the need for a vessel to train aircrew and maintainers and give them experience of operating at sea before they join a ship on operations (do WAFUs do BOST - @alfred_the_great?), and Argus' recent role carrying Jungly Merlins and Wildcat for BALTOPS - would a smaller, more survivable, better defended, platform perform the 'mini LPH' role more ably? I hate to think what Argus' Radar Cross Section must be.
 
I must have imagined the NHS staff being released by their Trusts for Op GRITLOCK...
In far smaller numbers, very few in reality, and called up under the terms of the Armed Forces Act on a time limited basis, not an ongoing commitment and to a facility with little surgical capability, so basically no requirement for theatres/anaesthetists/surgeons etc from the NHS.

One of the learnings from Herrick and Telic is that ongoing commitments test the patience of Trust bosses significantly and a good number now struggle to get time off for ACT, particularly doctors.
 
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Having had innumerable dealings with health tourists, I beg to differ. It would be far, far cheaper than the present clusterfcuk of almost unlimited liabilities.
One ship able to treat a limited number of people and only able to operate in one area at a time? And more crucially making no difference at all to people who don’t live near a coast or large waterway.

I’ve worked for an NHS commissioning organisation, this idea wouldn’t make the slightest impact on health tourism and would come nowhere remotely close to covering its costs in terms of savings.
 
One ship able to treat a limited number of people and only able to operate in one area at a time? And more crucially making no difference at all to people who don’t live near a coast or large waterway.

I’ve worked for an NHS commissioning organisation, this idea wouldn’t make the slightest impact on health tourism and would come nowhere remotely close to covering its costs in terms of savings.
You are not looking at the bigger picture of illegal immigration, non-removal and eventual settlement and the lifetime costs of these. A migration driver is access to (free) healthcare, not least maternity services.
 
In far smaller numbers, very few in reality, and called up under the terms of the Armed Forces Act on a time limited basis, not an ongoing commitment and to a facility with little surgical capability, so basically no requirement for theatres/anaesthetists/surgeons etc from the NHS.

One of the learnings from Herrick and Telic is that ongoing commitments test the patience of Trust bosses significantly and a good number now struggle to get time off for ACT, particularly doctors.
They were by no means all medical reservists.
 
We could even lead an international initiative with an international crew, international medical staff, the vessel(s) provides work to a British yard(s), and this is part of soft power.

The Americans have used their hospital ships in that sort of role in Latin America and the Pacific.
Soft power buys us influence and goodwill.
 

spoolerdog

Clanker
RFA Argus started life as an Italian container ship, then she was taken up from trade during the Falklands War, and later was purchased by MOD UK and converted into an aviation training ship, taking aircraft and personnel to train at sea. Recently this has included Army Apaches and I imagine RAF Chinooks have also operated from her deck. In the eighties the PR people claimed that in wartime she could act as another 'aircraft carrier' - presumably with ASW Sea Kings embarked.

Apart from aviation training, she has deployed in a medical role as a floating hospital to the Gulf in 1991 and 2003, and following the abandonment of the SDR 98 idea she was designated as the Primary Casualty Receiving Ship, and more recently went to Sierra Leone in 2014 as part of anti Ebola efforts. She also acted as a makeshift LPH in the Adriatic in 1993 (she carried 29 Cdo Regt RA and their 105mm guns - I am not sure if she had Jungly Sea King aboard to save deck space aboard HMS Ark Royal), and had acted as a platform for helicopters of live operations a number of times - such as taking Sea King ASaCs East of Suez, and just this year operated three Jungly Merlin HC4 and two Wildcat AH1 for BALTOPS.

However, she is rather old (over forty years!). What plans are there to replace her?

@instinct? @Not a Boffin?

I remember working, as an electrician and then draughtsman, on this ship when it first came into Harland and Wolff for a refit / change to heli training ship.

It was a huge undertaking by the ship yard at the time and we spent a couple of years getting it up to spec.

The boat was in tatters and absolutely minging inside - the Italians did not look after their ships too well!!

It was known as the Contender Bezant? before being converted to the RFA Argus and for those who are really interested its H&W ship number was 5500.

Good to see it is still out there and hopefully will go on for another few years with a few plasters added here and there to keep it going.
 

endure

GCM
I remember working, as an electrician and then draughtsman, on this ship when it first came into Harland and Wolff for a refit / change to heli training ship.

It was a huge undertaking by the ship yard at the time and we spent a couple of years getting it up to spec.

The boat was in tatters and absolutely minging inside - the Italians did not look after their ships too well!!
She was built in Italy but wasn't sailed by Italians. She was built for Sea Containers (a company I used to work for ;-) ) and at the time would probably have an Indian crew on board up until she was STUFT.

"28 November 1980 launched by Cantieri Navali Breda S.A, Marghera Yard, Venice as Yard Nr: 293 named CONTENDER BEZANT for Contender 2 Ltd (Sea Containers Ltd, Managers) Hamilton, Bermuda. The Lady Sponsor was Mrs Nigel J Tatham
31 July 1981 completed as a 1108 TEU capacity container ship
May 1982 requisitioned for service during Operation Corporate - the Falklands Conflict - and was sent to Devonport for conversion into an auxiliary aircraft carrier"

 
I served on her in 2009/2010, bringing her out from the refit. I remember working as the Flyco logger that the aft lift wouldn’t go down if a merlin was placed on it facing fwd, it had to face aft.

Inside the fwd lift had been removed and a series of ramps has been installed in place to allow hospital beds to be pushed up them in an emergency, there are also 2 patient lifts able to accommodate passenger trolleys also, these are exterior to the hospital area and go from flightdeck level to 4 deck. The hospital is no longer modular but is properly fitted in the space that was originally hangar 1. It contains a standing passenger lift that’s internal to the hospital only, but it also has a Catscan machine (never worked!). Looking on photos of the exterior this is all below the extension built between the super structure and the aft island for the smokestack.

The aft hanger did apparently have a ramp on the side but that’s sealed for some reason so stores came down the lifts. The aft hanger contains a chip on that’s for beer, but is for the mortuary.

I still have plenty of photos from my time onboard, but I suspect @instinct will have more recent memories onboard about the state of play of the ship.


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bodies make excellent fish food. Beer doesn't.
That’s should have said ISO container and not chip, bloody auto-incorrect.


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