Royal Marines to acquire six new multi-purpose support vessels, cost to be determined

Royal Marines to acquire six new multi-purpose support vessels, cost to be determined

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The future of the Royal Navy’s HMS Albion was under threat until recently, with decision-makers saying it would remain in active service until 2033 (UK Ministry of Defence)

BELFAST — The Royal Navy today announced that the Royal Marines will receive a fleet of six amphibious support ships capable of carrying unmanned aerial vehicles, large aircraft and injection craft.

The new ship will be under the Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) Multi-Role Support Ship (MRSS) program and will join the Navy’s existing amphibious flagships HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark in 2033-2034, as well as three other Bay-class ships. We are planning to replace the platform. The support vessel is RFA Argus, the military said in a statement.

In addition to carrying heavy vehicles and aircraft, future ships can also operate as casualty receiving vessels to provide emergency medical care to seafarers.

MPs fear both HMS Albion and Bulwark could be scrapped before their 2033 retirement deadline due to recruitment issues, reportedly The Ministry of Defense ultimately decided in January not to retire the ships, despite efforts to allow sailors to transfer to other ships during the outbreak. prematurely.

It is not yet known when the MRSS fleet will be ordered and the total cost of the program has not yet been determined, but a statement from the Royal Navy said the Ministry of Defense has started the first stage (concept) and plans for the future. It is stated that It will work with industry “as part of early market engagement prior to the development of vessel designs.”

In a statement to Breaking Defense, a Ministry of Defense spokesperson said that the MRSS’s “procurement strategy will be set after the conclusion of the concept phase” and market engagement is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2024. he added.

“All Royal Navy warships are designed to meet minimum naval survival standards to protect sailors and marines,” the spokesperson explained. “Furthermore, the ongoing concept phase is considering cost and feature trade-offs within a set of key user requirements and broader fleet assumptions.”

There is a select group of shipyards in the UK calling for MRSS acquisitions. Babcock, BAE Systems, Cammell Laird, Harland & Wolff.

A BAE Systems spokesperson said: “We welcome the announcement that the Multi-Role Support Vessel Program will progress. I look forward to working on the next steps.”

Harland & Wolff, based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, currently supplies the Royal Navy with three Fleet Solid Support ships after securing a £1.6 billion ($2 billion) contract in January 2023. FSS) has a contract to deliver ships. When deployed at sea, it provides ammunition and stores to Royal Navy aircraft carriers, destroyers and frigates. The shipyard had not responded to a request for comment on MRSS at the time of publication.

Among other large naval projects under contract, London is investing in new Type 26 and Type 31 frigates.

In a speech to the annual Seapower Conference today, British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps reflected on the decision to add six MRSS ships to the 22 other Royal Navy ships on order or under construction, saying: “It’s a golden age for us.” in London, England.

He added that the acquisition was “underpinned” by the recent announcement to increase UK defense spending by 2.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030. However, such plans are still conditional on the Conservatives winning a general election, which is expected to be convened in late 2020. Year.

However, according to opinion polls, Labor has won after 14 years in opposition and is on track to return to power.

British think tank the Geostrategic Council said in a report published on Monday that the UK should seek to protect or appropriately “contribute” to UK and NATO interests in the Euro-Atlantic region amid the Russian threat. “We don’t have enough naval power,” he said. Towards maritime denial in the Indo-Pacific to deter China.

If these two goals are to be realized, the Royal Navy will need to become “more lethal, more massy, ​​more survivable and better integrated” while investing in the US F-35B fifth generation combat aircraft. The aim should be to “ensure the full potential of the UK aircraft carrier fleet” by ordering more aircraft. According to the report, the jet plane.

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