Following on from my very first Shipbucket drawing - the RAF B-52K Sensor-Shooter
- I've now had a go at my first ship drawing.
In 2019, the UK MoD announced the intention to explore the development of class of Littoral Strike/HADR Ships, given the shifting nature of amphibious warfare to the littorals, and - quite frankly - a coming loss in amphibious shipping capacity and the need to compensate for that in a fiscally constrained environment. Similarly, the role of HADR has received prominence as many RN vessels now perform this role in peacetime.
While the design has yet to be released, there has been speculation that a combined Littoral Strike/HADR-role ship design may ultimately involve the militarization of a COTS design or existing vessel. A good candidate is the Point-class sealift ship
, of which 4 are leased to the MoD. These ships were heavily used to maintain the logistics chain between the UK, the Middle East and Afghanistan in the last decade while the UK fought a significant land campaign there.
This shipbucket design is a (non-technical, artistic(!)) exploration of the Littoral Strike/HADR Ship concept, based off the MV Hurst Point
drawing by Shippy2013.
. . . . . .
UK Royal Navy Littoral Strike/HADR Ship (2025)
At the start of the 2010s, the UK Royal Navy had considerable amphibious shipping assets, including 1x LPH, 2x LPDs and 4x LSDs. Simultaneously, it has RFA Argus as a Joint Primary Casualty Receiving Ship (JPCRS) although that ship is nearing the end of its life. Against the backdrop of post-2008 austerity, defence resources dominated by the land campaign in Afghanistan, the economic and geopolitical impact of leaving the EU, and the economic impact of COVID-19, the UK faces the challenge of renewing amphibious capability with a shrinking defence budget.
The Littoral Strike/HADR Ship has been mooted as a possible way for the UK to sustain its amphibious capability, and maintain its 'soft power' ability for HADR-type missions on a 'shoestring' budget. The Point
-class are good candidates for the development of this design, with ample space and capacity for growth as well as already being leased to the MoD.
The Littoral Strike/HADR Ship is a one-to-one replacement for the RFA-operated Bay
-class, with the RN maintaining a minimal level of dock capacity through its LPDs and their eventual LHD successor (Shipbucket drawing coming in the future
). Three ships are ordered to be operated by the Royal Navy (not the RFA) and enter service from 2025 through 2028:
- HMS BASTION
- HMS BARRAS
- HMS HERRICK
In a deviation from Royal Navy convention - and in recognizing the new type of class - the ships of the class have names previously unused by the RN. Whereas in history ships were named after famous battles, the joint aspect of modern warfare (where battles now are 'operations') require a their own addition to the record. So, after the operations that have dominated and defined the UK military for the first two decades of the 21st century, the ships of the class are named after key experienced. BASTION is the name of Camp Bastion, located in Afghanistan that was the largest overseas base operated by the UK military since WW2. It is said that up to 75% of UK forces passed through Camp Bastion at some point during their careers. BARRAS is the name of one of the best examples of littoral strike - Operation Barras - taking place in Sierra Leone against the West Side Boyz in 1999. During this campaign, the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and SBS led an operation to rescue members of the Royal Irish Regiment and local Sierra Leonean forces - and in so doing, stabilize the nascent Sierra Leonean government. HERRICK is the name of the 13-year operation conducted by the British against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Although a land campaign, this operation required heavy involvement of joint forces - an example of the intended use of the Littoral Strike Ships.
The class' primary role is Littoral Strike, and secondary role is HADR.
The key change with this class compared to the Bay
-class is the omission of the floodable well deck but the substitution with a Ro-Ro deck. The implication being that the LSS/HADR is not capable of conducting beach assaults - a trade-off given the current doctrine that amphibious assaults take place over the horizon by helicopters. Instead, the CONOPS in the Littoral Strike role is that the ship will conduct OTH strikes with Royal Marines and Special Forces. Or move towards the coast to dock at a friendly, or recaptured, port facility and unload its cargo.
In the HADR role, the ship can employ its flight of helicopters to conduct SAR operations, conduct marine rescue using its small boats, utilize its 70-bed NATO Role 3 field hospital, as well as use its vehicle deck for the processing and accommodation of civilians. The vehicle deck includes gantry cranes, lock-down points and power/utilities to enable the flexible reconfiguration of the space to operate and store heavy equipment such as mobile generators, cell towers, reverse osmosis systems, dry/consumable stores and other materials.
The LSS is a significant modification of the Point
-class design, with a superstructure added to include accommodation, a field hospital, and other needs.
Additional reading on the Littoral Strike/HADR Ship
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... ips-101407
https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2019/02/ ... ship-flss/
https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/a-clos ... p-concept/
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2 ... mothership
- Unit cost: £230 million
- Length: 193m
- Beam: 26m
- Displacement: 27,000t
- Propulsion: 2 × MaK 94M43 diesel engines; 21,700 hp (16,182 kW), 2 propellers, Bow thruster
- Speed: 18kt
- Armament: 2x 40mm Bofors Mk4 guns, 2x 20mm Phalanx 1B, 6x Miniguns/GPMGs
- Vehicle deck capacity: 2,400 linear metres or 50 military tanks, armoured vehicles and trucks. Gantry cranes, lock-down points and power/utilities are fitted to enable the flexible reconfiguration of the space.
- Accommodation: 400 troops, or 650 with accommodation TEUs on the vehicle deck
- Amphibious: 4 LCUs on davits
- Aviation: Main deck: 4 flight deck spots, with a hangar capable of storing 2 Chinook or 4 Merlin helicopters (tail folded). Rear deck: 1 flight deck spot for medium helicopter (mostly for UAVs, or receiving MEDEVAC)
- HADR facilities: 70-bed NATO Role 3 field hospital, 'plug and play' vehicle deck for storage, operation of RO tanks, power generators, NBRC triage and isolation chambers