The Royal Marines amphibious role ?

I want FCF/LSS to work - it's bold, it's right for the UK, it's exciting for the Corps.

But my goodness they've been left hanging now that Gavlar is gone. It's devolved into a classic procurement process, where getting approval for anything is an indeterminate round of notes and delayed decisions.

Can't help but feel the Corps is about to do a Wily E Coyote and suddenly realise the presence of gravity.

Meep meep.
Sadly, it's a case of starting from the wrong point. If you start from a perspective of Surflot & WAFU need billets, how can we make Royal reduce to fill them, it ain't going to end well. That's a different place to "we want Royal to do this what do we need?"

All coupled with an expectation ( intended or not) that it'll somehow be cost neutral because it theoretically means no LPD replacement.

ETA : It also leaves Royal holding a mish- mash of roles (CASD security, maritime security and...??????) As opposed to a coherent raison d'etre such as (limited) forced entry.
 
Last edited:

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
It's halfwit central, currently resident in Tracy Island.

This is the brainchild of a certain 3* sundodger who has hit upon the idea of raiding the only extant budget (FSS) to keep going with the LSS and one or two other capabilities. This is justified by the suggestion that WestLant 18 & 19 mean that the RN now understands exactly what support Carrier Strike will require, despite both deployments being staged out of Norfolk Va and only having a slack handful of cabs aboard, with weapons expenditure purely for trials.

Trouble is, a cursory look at the dimensional, cargo type and quantity numbers tells you that combining FSS with LSS is a blind alley. The arrangement issues are incompatible and you'll end up with a ship that plummets between two stools and jeopardises Carrier Strike. There also seems to be a belief that a 2.5te RAS system will be all that's needed. Shame it will probably invalidate the Explosive Safety Case for QEC. Never mind eh?

LSS is best based on a redesigned Bay, with a sensible propulsion system and a none-tent based hangar.

ETA Given current spending, all budgets are largely fictional from this point anyway, obviously.
A constant and ignored theme of amphibious ops is the need to combat load the tubs in such as way as to spread risk and allow the important stuff off first.

Could something along the lines of Lizzie's automated warehousing system be useful or cost effective for this? Rather than an amphib which can also act as a stores ship for the carriers just a big dumb stores ship which can solve the muddle of combat loading / finding the right bits of kit in a hurry?

Also why are the FSS tubs budgetted so high? A billion quid for 2 + 1 option seems outrageous for what are effectively merchantmen with RAS rigs.
 
A constant and ignored theme of amphibious ops is the need to combat load the tubs in such as way as to spread risk and allow the important stuff off first.

Could something along the lines of Lizzie's automated warehousing system be useful or cost effective for this? Rather than an amphib which can also act as a stores ship for the carriers just a big dumb stores ship which can solve the muddle of combat loading / finding the right bits of kit in a hurry?

Also why are the FSS tubs budgetted so high? A billion quid for 2 + 1 option seems outrageous for what are effectively merchantmen with RAS rigs.
QNLZ doesn't have an automated warehouse system. She has a highly mechanised weapons handling system, limited to a couple of specific areas in the ship. That system is designed for weapons only and incurs some serious stowage density issues.

The sheer variety in type, size and stowage media required for the range of stores will defeat any attempt at fully automating. It's still vastly more efficient to get the STON to dig out the required item.

If you can find a merchantman with a breakbulk configuration, multiple climate controlled holds, explosive safe holds, accommodation for a hundred plus bodies to MLC2006, vertical and horizontal access for cargo throughout the ship while underway, plus flightdeck and hangar and the generating capacity for RAS, cargo handling, firefighting and HVAC systems, then crack on. These are specialist ships about as far away from merchantmen with RAS rigs as one can imagine.
 
Also why are the FSS tubs budgetted so high? A billion quid for 2 + 1 option seems outrageous for what are effectively merchantmen with RAS rigs.
Because they're not MV - they'll be built to warship Lloyds rules.
 
Because they're not MV - they'll be built to warship Lloyds rules.
Well we could always have TUI flying into contested airspace, or stenna entering contested areas. @Flight want to be the first?
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
Well we could always have TUI flying into contested airspace, or stenna entering contested areas. @Flight want to be the first?
I'm all in favour of building our ships properly.

Thought some of the previous RFA tubs were built to civilian standards though not sure where I got that from...
 
I'm all in favour of building our ships properly.

Thought some of the previous RFA tubs were built to civilian standards though not sure where I got that from...
They're built to a mix. LR Naval Ship rules cover off most of the IMO-related and basic naval standards. There are also MCA stds to comply with as they're UK-flagged. Then there are some pure DefStan to do with survivability, cargo ammunition holds and some of the more important spaces. There will also be civilian standards in some of the equipment as well - depends on the requirement and the Class tailoring doc.

None of which means they're off the shelf, simple or cheap.
 
Wasn’t Ocean built to commercial standards?
Another mix - and one of the driving factors behind the creation of Naval rules to get it all a bit more coherent. Particularly as she was in a warship role.

Hull & machinery to LR Commercial ship rules, but with some naval stds in way of stability, magazines, firefighting, sensitive compartments etc.
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
Presumably the Wasp Class in San Diego was full US Naval standards and still ended up as a pile of scrap despite all ammo having been offloaded.

I had assumed it was the well dock and gubbins seen in the public designs which made them pricey, which seems a bit OTT for a supply ship.
 
Presumably the Wasp Class in San Diego was full US Naval standards and still ended up as a pile of scrap despite all ammo having been offloaded.

I had assumed it was the well dock and gubbins seen in the public designs which made them pricey, which seems a bit OTT for a supply ship.
You're confusing the Future Support Ship with the Littoral Strike Ship. The latter of which didn't have a well-dock either FWIW.
 

Truxx

LE
A constant and ignored theme of amphibious ops is the need to combat load the tubs in such as way as to spread risk and allow the important stuff off first.

Could something along the lines of Lizzie's automated warehousing system be useful or cost effective for this? Rather than an amphib which can also act as a stores ship for the carriers just a big dumb stores ship which can solve the muddle of combat loading / finding the right bits of kit in a hurry?

Also why are the FSS tubs budgetted so high? A billion quid for 2 + 1 option seems outrageous for what are effectively merchantmen with RAS rigs.
Never ignored during my time doing amphibious stuff.

That's what port ops do - load for discharge.

But I do remember one major ex where the spearchuckers wanted all the fight kit off first. Right up to the point that they had got about 5k inland when all of a sudden they wanted the bridging kit, which was in the bowels of some LoLo tub still staggering up the east coast.

Funny but no amount of G3 shooting helped.
 

Truxx

LE
Another mix - and one of the driving factors behind the creation of Naval rules to get it all a bit more coherent. Particularly as she was in a warship role.

Hull & machinery to LR Commercial ship rules, but with some naval stds in way of stability, magazines, firefighting, sensitive compartments etc.
The replacement Atlantic Conveyor was built with a mexe compatible self supporting rear ramp and could easily be fitted with a comms suite.
 
The replacement Atlantic Conveyor was built with a mexe compatible self supporting rear ramp and could easily be fitted with a comms suite.
Or ship 121 as some of us knew her - slightly before my time on the river.
 
SO RFA's are more expensive these days as they are much more expected to go in harms way and act in roles that they used to not worry about.

They are built to be more survivable, to be able to take a hit or two with out being lost, or at least lost as quickly and spectacularly as Galahad was lost. Modern standards for the transport of dangerous goods has increased massively and we can't just ignore them any more. I think the highly mechanised weapons handling system is adding to the cost significantly as well as the 2 tonne rigs.

People who keep mentioning the Bonhomie-Richard need to understand she was a ship in yard hands with minimal crew, most firefighting systems shut down and large amounts of rubbish and other stuff abandoned in areas it wouldn't have been. Its not the same bloody thing as a ship at sea.

There was talk several years ago of FSS having a dock or a steel beach for supporting landings with logistics, doubt it ever got further than that.
 
Presumably the Wasp Class in San Diego was full US Naval standards and still ended up as a pile of scrap despite all ammo having been offloaded.

I had assumed it was the well dock and gubbins seen in the public designs which made them pricey, which seems a bit OTT for a supply ship.
I suspect the Navsea investigation will highlight issues in how many fire alarm and suppression systems were not yet set to work and contributory deficiencies in fire boundaries while ship still in refit. Doesn't matter what your standards are if your first and second line defences are disabled. Ammo irrelevant, would not have been loaded while the ship was in refit.

There's only (to my knowledge) been one design shown in public for FSS, which was the BMT effort for Navantia. You may be confusing old NDP designs for what was the Joint Sea-Based Logistics requirement - or Jezebel as she was known.
 
Last edited:
SO RFA's are more expensive these days as they are much more expected to go in harms way and act in roles that they used to not worry about.

They are built to be more survivable, to be able to take a hit or two with out being lost, or at least lost as quickly and spectacularly as Galahad was lost. Modern standards for the transport of dangerous goods has increased massively and we can't just ignore them any more. I think the highly mechanised weapons handling system is adding to the cost significantly as well as the 2 tonne rigs.
FSS designs didn't have the mechanised handling system. It's too inflexible for all the other stores and you won't get the stowage rate you need in a ship of sensible size. The RAS rigs are a small portion of the cost - I can think of at least five systems on the ship that were more expensive.

The real cost drivers are some of the margins specified (applied on top of other margins), climate control for the number and area of cargo holds, certain survivability features and to be honest, some of the wish-list facilities that the RFA had requested.
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
There's only (to my knowledge) been one design shown in public for FSS, which was the BMT effort for Navantia. You may be confusing old NDP designs for what was the Joint Sea-Based Logistics requirement - or Jezebel as she was known.
No it was recent. No idea where I saw it but had the heavier RAS rigs, steel beach with vehicle deck and a well deck... After the FSS was mooted being embuggered around with. Assumed that was what you were ranting against somewhere above.

I suspect the Navsea investigation will highlight issues in how many fire alarm and suppression systems were not yet set to work and contributory deficiencies in fore boundaries while ship still in refit.
Still is a ship's length vehicle deck a good idea on something carrying lots of ammo? Must make fire containment a tadge tricky.


Never ignored during my time doing amphibious stuff.
But was during corporate due to the political consideration of getting ships to sea ASAP such that the FO chaps could be their usual ineffectual selves. You can reload at Ascension / Oh hang on leave Ascension ASAP to put more diplomatic pressure on the Argies. Clapp was somewhat unamused in his book.
 
No it was recent. No idea where I saw it but had the heavier RAS rigs, steel beach with vehicle deck and a well deck... After the FSS was mooted being embuggered around with. Assumed that was what you were ranting against somewhere above.
I suspect that's the BMT Ellida concept - although that never had HRAS, which is a long way from being a design.
 

Latest Threads

Top