Sunset for the Royal Marines? The Royal Marines and UK amphibious capability Contents

5Amphibious ships

Development of Royal Navy amphibious vessels

Box 1: Amphibious assault ship hull classifications

LPD (Landing Platform Dock) – Usually designed with a floodable well deck and a platform for aviation with hanger facilities. Examples include the current Albion class and the retired Fearless class.

LSD (Landing Ship Dock) – Usually possessing a well deck similar to an LPD, but often lacking substantial facilities for aviation such as hangers. The UK’s Bay class vessels are designated Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary) or LSD(A) as they are part of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

LPH (Landing Platform Helicopter) – A helicopter carrier, often visually similar to a ‘flat top’ aircraft carrier but optimised to operate rotary wing aircraft. HMS Ocean is the Royal Navy’s only current LPH, due to leave service in March 2018. Royal Navy ships in this role have been referred to as ‘Commando Carriers’ as they had sufficient space for a large embarked force of Royal Marines for airborne theatre entry.

LHD/A (Landing Helicopter Dock/Assault) – LHDs and LHAs combine the capabilities of the above in being flat tops capable of operating sizeable helicopter contingents with well decks to operate landing craft. Examples of LHDs include the French Mistral class and American Wasp class. LHAs, such as the US Navy’s America class are often optimised towards operating both rotary and fixed-wing aircraft.

LST (Landing Ship Tank) – A wide variety of design, usually of a smaller size than the above, with the primary role of delivering tanks and vehicles.

46.The designs of modern purpose-built amphibious warships originated in the Second World War from British staff requirements which saw a need for vessels that could swiftly transport and deploy smaller landing craft over a long distance. The US Navy was the first to construct ships to this requirement, and they saw service with both the US and the UK during the war.78 By the time of the Suez Crisis in 1956, a large proportion of the Royal Navy’s amphibious fleet had left the Service. Two light aircraft carriers were temporarily converted into LPHs for the Suez Campaign, enabling the first ever airborne amphibious assault operation using rotary aircraft.79 This was sufficiently successful for two other carriers80 to be permanently converted to an LPH / Commando Carrier role.

47.The first post-war purpose-built Royal Navy amphibious ships were the Fearless class LPDs, HMS Fearless and HMS Intrepid, which entered service in the 1960s. As many witnesses have recalled, these ships were under threat of being removed from service in the course of the 1981 Defence Review under the supervision of the then Defence Secretary, John Nott.81 These plans were reversed shortly before the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982, and the LPDs proved themselves to be vital in delivering a landing force ashore which retook the islands.82 General Thompson’s personal account to us of the events surrounding the initial decision in 1981 suggest that the nature of the capability was not fully appreciated by Ministers at the time the decision was made.83

48.The Fearless class ships were replaced on a like-for-like basis in the early 2000s with the Albion class LPDs HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark. HMS Ocean, a purpose-built LPH, entered service in 1998. The Bay class LSD(A) vessels, which sought to replace the ‘Round Table’ class of logistic landing ships, began entering service in 2006. These vessels would be at the centre of the amphibious force identified in the 1998 Strategic Defence Review as being necessary to deliver a brigade-level landing force.84 As discussed in paragraph 26, this ability ended after the 2010 SDSR with the sale of one LSD(A) and with one of the two LPDs put into an alternating cycle of extended readiness. The disposal of HMS Ocean will reduce the amphibious fleet further.85

49.With the disposal of the Albion class LPDs reportedly being considered, it is likely that the utility of using other vessels as amphibious platforms is being evaluated. The Government stated in the 2015 SDSR that it intends to build amphibious capability into one of the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. We note the remarks of the First Sea Lord in his Gallipoli Memorial Lecture delivered in November 2017 (which also contained a lengthy and thoughtful discussion of the future of the Royal Marines), that in the future the Royal Navy “may opt for multi-role platforms which can provide amphibious capabilities, but can also serve as an afloat forward base for a range of enduring maritime security tasks”.86 The forthcoming Type 31e class of frigates were one platform suggested as having a future amphibious role. An examination of the utility of our current amphibious vessels will allow an assessment of those ships most likely to be claimed to be capable of compensating for their deletion.

Albion class Landing Platform Dock

50.HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark entered into service in 2003 and 2005 respectively and are due to leave service in 2033 and 2034 respectively. These out of service dates, together with a description of their role as “a vital asset to the Royal Navy”, were confirmed in a letter to the Chairman of the Committee from the then Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin, in January 2017.87

51.The central advantage of the well deck design around which LPDs are built is that it allows fast and secure movement and deployment of landing craft. An Albion class LPD can embark and deliver a landing force and can operate up to eight landing craft at once. This enables the insertion of a force, from the sea, sufficiently large to be tactically useful, and adequately supplied with its supporting arms and heavy- and medium-weight equipment, to be able to sustain itself and fight if necessary.88 General Thompson, after recalling the limitations that existed before the LPDs came into service, said:

The LPDs, the Fearless and the Intrepid—now Albion and Bulwark—made all the difference in the ability to move heavy stuff ashore and maintain the logistic support needed.89

General Fry also highlighted the impact an increased requirement for heavy equipment and protected mobility vehicles has on the need for strategic lift:

Equipment is getting heavier; it is not getting lighter. There was a time when we could undersling Land Rovers and they could be flown quite considerable distances. Because of the requirements today for protected mobility—a lesson we learned bitterly in Afghanistan—those vehicles are much, much heavier.90

Dr Roberts highlighted the risks of not being able to deliver this heavy lift when inserting a force into a hostile environment:

If you go back through history … you can see where a capability gap in delivering the heavy lift, as [General Thompson] said, across the beach has put a very light force at huge risk. The same was almost true for Operation TELIC in 2003, where the Marines moved ashore but they needed heavy vehicles with them—that was the one deficiency they felt they had, so being augmented with armoured capability at the time of going in was absolutely critical. There is this idea that you need a balanced force: you need not just to put the light elements—the infantry; the fighting man—in right at the outset along with his artillery, which might be air transportable or might be ship-based; but critically, for the close-in fight, you require armour with you, particularly where you move inland. You are going to encounter an adversary who is usually, these days, pretty well matched in terms of capability.

52.The internal design of Royal Navy amphibious ships also extends to features that allow the safe embarkation and transport of large forces of heavily armed Royal Marines. Dr Roberts elaborated on this:

they are not designed for normal people. They are designed for Royal Marines who carry ridiculous weights in their backpacks and carry heavy weapons as they walk through the ship, so even things like the ladders are not like you would normally find on merchant or normal naval ships. They are at a much shallower angle and have deeper treads to allow guys with bigger boots carrying enormous loads and weapons to walk up. They are designed so that, as you step onto the landing craft or the helicopter, you do it all together with your Jeep next to you for underslung loads or your ammunition pallets. All of it is absolutely designed around amphibious capability, and this is crucial to delivering it properly.91

53.A key aspect of the LPD platform is the sophisticated command and control (C2) systems that the vessels possess, and which are vital to co-ordinating and executing amphibious operations. As General Thompson explained:

Somebody once rather arrogantly described amphibious operations as the scholarship level of warfare. One of the reasons is the array of communications you need to fight the various battles at various layers: the anti-submarine battle, controlling your own aircraft, anti-aircraft, controlling the task groups, surface actions; and then the managing of the landing itself, vectoring the landing craft, managing the air lift in; and of course, fighting the land battle, which is the ultimate object of the whole game.92

The Albion class are designed to act as command ships for an amphibious task force and have dedicated C2 facilities aboard for the relevant maritime and land staffs to control an operation. They are the only ships in the Royal Navy, alongside HMS Ocean, which have these facilities.93

54.A constant theme in the evidence we received on the wider utility of the LPDs is the flexibility they offer in tasks outside of their primary military role, and in humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and non-combatant evacuation operations in particular.94 The ability to operate over a beach or in a coastal area where ports and other infrastructure have been put out of action is of great value in these operations. The LPDs have been called into service repeatedly in this role. HMS Bulwark saved several thousand lives in assisting during the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. Although neither Albion nor Bulwark was involved in the operations following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean in 2017 (Operation RUMAN), the ability that amphibious ships have to land equipment and supplies has been shown more recently in the response provided by HMS Ocean and RFA Mounts Bay.95 With Ocean shortly leaving service, the ability to mount these operations in the future would be further compromised without the LPDs.

55.Placing one of the Albion class LPDs into extended readiness (i.e. into reserve, usually accompanied by a major refit) in 2010 resulted in only one LPD being available at any one time. HMS Albion entered extended readiness in 2011 and came back into service in 2017 after a £80 million refit.96 HMS Bulwark has entered extended readiness in its place and will not re-join the Fleet until 2023. Written evidence has noted how the lack of a second LPD restricts planning options and leaves no margin for attrition or major equipment failure in the active LPD, particularly when the extra amphibious support from HMS Ocean is shortly to be lost.97 In the oral evidence session we sought to explore whether the option of putting both LPDs into extended readiness rather than disposing of them completely was a viable option. General Thompson answered:

First, you wouldn’t be able to exercise with them, and therefore you would very quickly lose your expertise at how to use this instrument. Secondly, they probably wouldn’t come out in time to meet the emergency. In extended readiness it takes something like a year to get them back into service, which is simply not enough time. You would be caught totally short-footed if you allowed yourself to get into that situation.98

Written evidence from Mr Andrew Jackson, who was involved in bringing HMS Intrepid out of a state of extended readiness in 1982 to allow her to participate in the Falklands Campaign, suggests, on the other hand, that an LPD could be brought out of extended readiness quickly if there were an operational imperative to do so.99 As others have pointed out, finding a crew for the newly active vessel might not be so straightforward.100

56.We have received and published written evidence which argues that the Royal Navy could dispose of the LPDs and still sustain the necessary amphibious capability. Rear Admiral (Rtd) Chris Parry advocates a departure from the traditional and linear approach to amphibious operations as warfare changes, and believes that the introduction of the Queen Elizabeth class carriers provides an opportunity to adopt a more flexible joint approach which can exploit opportunities for amphibious action. While coherent, this argument still needs to address the issues associated with using aircraft carriers as amphibious platforms discussed below, particularly the challenge of putting vehicles and heavy equipment onshore and guaranteeing a level of logistic supply that is necessary for a landing force to sustain itself. His paper also assumes the use or retention of some kind of specialist littoral/amphibious platforms without being clear about what these platforms are.101 Dr Mark Campbell-Roddis’s written evidence argues that the LPDs should be disposed of, but HMS Ocean retained, as the focus of future amphibious warfare should be on airborne rather than sea-based assaults, and that any need for sealift can be fulfilled by the Bay class LSD(A) vessels.102 We set out why we believe that other platforms would be poor alternatives in the sections below. Although we disagree with the ultimate conclusions of these two papers on the future of the LPDs, we commend their thoughtful approach to the future of operations and their view that there should be further investment in platforms which provide a wide range of amphibious theatre entry options.

57.We strongly oppose the withdrawal of the Albion class LPDs from service ahead of their out-of-service dates in 2033 and 2034. They are purpose-built amphibious assault platforms which provide the primary means of deploying a landing force over a beach. There are no other ships in the Royal Navy which could conceivably sustain this capability in the future. The wider utility and the versatility of the LPDs beyond their primary roles in amphibious assault are substantial, and will be sacrificed if their disposal goes ahead.

Helicopter carriers and aircraft carriers

58.Since her entry into service in 1998, HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy’s first and only purpose-built LPH, has been the UK’s primary airborne amphibious platform. The decision to withdraw her from service was announced shortly after the publication of the 2015 SDSR—the year the vessel completed a £65 million refit.103 As an LPH, the Ocean was able, like her predecessor Commando Carriers, to embark a large force of Royal Marines and deploy them by helicopter. She also had the ability to deploy landing craft, although at a lower capacity than an LPD. As mentioned in paragraph 46 above, the UK pioneered the operational use of amphibious air assault and the optimal amphibious operation would allow for both airborne and sea-based theatre entry, with airborne landing of personnel freeing more space in landing craft for equipment. This increases the speed with which a balanced landing force can be put ashore, and allows for the possibility of ‘vertical envelopment’ of an enemy force.104 The ship also boasts considerable command and control and medical facilities.105 The Ocean has repeatedly shown her worth, being at the centre of the UK’s engagements in Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Her disposal without replacement is a serious loss to the amphibious fleet and is rightly criticised throughout the evidence we have received.106

59.The 2015 SDSR indicated that one of the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers would be enhanced to support the amphibious capability of the Royal Marines.107 It is unclear exactly what these enhancements will be. MoD officials told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the carriers are not “bespoke amphibious shipping” and will not be able to carry or operate landing craft.108 The Department subsequently wrote to the PAC and provided information on enhancements for communications, facilities for an embarked force, ammunition stowage and optimisation for helicopters. This letter also acknowledged issues relating to training and clearances for certain types of helicopter because of the need for the carriers to concentrate on certification for fixed-wing F-35s.109 In its report on the development of carrier strike, the PAC has registered its concern at the uncertain future of the amphibious fleet, and at the level of risk that delivering carrier strike poses to other defence capabilities.110

60.Witnesses in oral evidence were sceptical about the ability of the aircraft carriers to act as amphibious platforms. Nick Childs said:

the aircraft carriers are fabulous and have a huge deck with a huge hangar. In that sense, having, as part of the capability of the carriers, an ability to act in certain contingencies as an amphibious capability, and even as a hybrid capability with some jets and some helicopters and aviation, is an asset and is part of its broader utility for certain contingencies … it is not the same as a bespoke amphibious helicopter carrier, let alone an LHD, because of the internals of the designs—the fact that even Ocean, without a deck, has the ability to accommodate not only marines but vehicles and the like. And while it can also supplement that bespoke capability by providing extra aviation and providing reach—being able to help with delivering forces from over the horizon by aviation—that is still not enough if you want to deliver a fighting formation that still requires heavy equipment providers as well.111

General Fry added “All you could deliver from a Queen Elizabeth class carrier is probably less than a commando group with what it stands up in. There is no combat sustainability; there is no mobility when it gets there—it will be a non-persistent presence.”112

61.Written evidence has also emphasised the importance of sealift. Without this, transport of any medium- and heavy-weight vehicles and equipment that cannot be airlifted will be impossible. Even where personnel and equipment are able to be transported by air, it is unlikely that the large numbers of aircraft that would be needed to transfer equipment, at the scale and in the time required, would be available. Substantial airlift between sea and land would also be hazardous without air superiority, which cannot always be guaranteed in the landing zone. Airlift involving large fixed-wing transport aircraft would generally require access to an airstrip and, potentially, overflight rights from third-party states. Only through sealift can a balanced force, that can sustain itself onshore, be delivered over the beach without access to port facilities.113

62.A number of questions arise about the capacity of a Queen Elizabeth class carrier to act in a dual aircraft/helicopter carrier role. First among these is the ability to operate fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters simultaneously. Operating both roles simultaneously would mean that neither is being run at full capacity, compromising both the carrier’s support of an amphibious operation by rotary and fixed-wing aircraft, and, indeed, its own fixed-wing air defence.

63.Although the correspondence from the MoD to the PAC indicates that communications systems are one area that would be optimised, if a carrier were to act as a command ship for an amphibious operation, it would need a sophisticated suite of C2 systems of equal or greater capacity than a current LPD, as well as the dedicated command facilities for the attached amphibious staff.114 When asked at the 25 October evidence session whether the command and control capabilities that the LPDs provide would be replicated in the Queen Elizabeth class carriers, Lieutenant General Mark Poffley, the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Military Capability) said:

That is not replicated in the QE-class carriers… you would need to provide a platform of a similar type, if it is C2 of that type that you wish.115

64.Space for an embarked force is also a consideration. HMS Ocean has sufficient space for more than 900 personnel and associated equipment. Although there is space for a similar number of additional personnel on one of the carriers, over-and-above its normal crew complement, a proportion of this will be taken up by the personnel of the Carrier Air Wing if the vessel is intending to operate fixed-wing aircraft alongside rotary-wing aircraft. Internal optimisation for embarking and transporting heavily armed Royal Marines is also likely to be needed.

65.Much written evidence emphasised the proximity with which a carrier would need to operate to the shore. Witnesses were sceptical that such a high-value asset would be permitted anywhere near a coast in the possession of a hostile adversary, particularly an adversary that was armed with modern fast jets and anti-ship capabilities that could put the carrier at risk. Yet, the further from the shore the carrier is, the longer it would take for helicopters to transfer personnel, slowing the rate at which a force can be concentrated onshore.116

66.The decision taken in 2015 to dispose of HMS Ocean without replacement is to be greatly regretted. Her unique capabilities and versatility as a platform have been demonstrated time and again on operations. Her disposal represents a serious loss to the amphibious fleet, and was the first indication that the Royal Navy’s amphibious capability is being run down to release necessary manpower for fixed-wing aircraft carriers.

67.We ask the Department to provide us with details on every aspect of the enhancement of the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers to support amphibious capability set out in the 2015 SDSR, and the timescale for completion of the enhancement. We request information on whether it is planned for one or both Queen Elizabeth class carriers to operate as an LPH, and the modifications that this would require. If this is the case, we would also request details on whether it is intended for the carrier to operate fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft simultaneously—for example, the number of helicopter spots that can be operated while simultaneously maintaining fixed-wing launch and recovery capability. We request details on the intended command, control and communications systems that are part of this modification and how the capacity of these systems compares with those of an Albion class LPD. We understand that the number of F-35s that the carriers will operate has not yet been confirmed, but ask how many personnel would make up the Carrier Air Wing and how these personnel can be accommodated at the same time as an embarked amphibious force.

68.Several issues arise which would create problems for a carrier acting as an amphibious platform in any configuration. The most significant of these is that carriers can provide only an airborne amphibious capability and cannot transfer any equipment, vehicles or supplies that are too heavy to airlift. Unlike HMS Ocean, the Queen Elizabeth class has no capacity to operate landing craft. The proximity to the shore with which these high-value assets might have to operate is also, in an age of increasingly sophisticated anti-ship missile capabilities, very hazardous.

69.In combination with purpose-built amphibious ships such as the LPDs, the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers could provide support to an amphibious operation. However, they are not primarily designed as amphibious ships and cannot operate as such in a stand-alone role. This makes them a poor substitute for an amphibious assault ship in this specialist role.

Bay class Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary)

70.During the oral evidence session in October 2017, General Poffley said:

We will examine both the capability of delivering troops from surface vessels and from rotary in the context of the prioritisations we make in the capability review.

A discussion then followed on the capability to deliver troops from surface vessels, including through the use of Bay class LSD(A)s. General Poffley continued:

There is a range of different possibilities for all parts of the capability suite that could go forward. Clearly, Albion and Bulwark provide some very specific capabilities that, if they were not there, would either need to be replicated in a different form, or one would have to accept that you are making a compromise in that part of our operational portfolio.117

71.The Bay class LSD(A)s are one potential platform which might be considered to replicate this capability. The vessels began entering service in 2006. Four were originally constructed to replace the previous generation of logistic landing ships, with one, RFA Largs Bay, being sold to Australia in 2011 after only four years in service with the Fleet. As with their predecessors, their main function is to provide support and follow-on supply to amphibious landings spearheaded by the assault ships. They are able to transport vehicles, personnel and large quantities of supplies, with the capacity to operate landing craft and Mexeflote powered rafts. They also have a limited aviation capacity. Alongside HMS Ocean, RFA Mounts Bay has recently shown the extensive capacity of the platform in supporting disaster relief in the Caribbean as part of Operation RUMAN.118

72.While an excellent platform as a supporting vessel, the capacity of a LSD(A) to operate as a stand-alone amphibious asset in place of an LPD is open to considerable doubt. The LSD(A)s are able to operate just one large or two smaller landing craft at any one time—a significant reduction in sealift compared with an LPD. Dr Roberts thought that this substitution would be “deeply flawed” for this reason:

The LSD(A)s … have the ability to offload and send in on a landing craft, and they can do it with heavy gear, but they can do one at a time—single operation—whereas Albion and Bulwark can do four together. This is really critical when you are putting anyone ashore on a beach that is not yours and you are not quite sure what you are going to experience. One or even two of these landing craft coming ashore presents considerable risk—far more than if you were able to land four together … Operational analysis today would indicate that four landing craft is the minimum capability at which you should be able to land on that beach.119

73.LSD(A)s have no command facilities or C2 equipment necessary for controlling amphibious operations. As one witness stated: “the LSD is utterly unsuited to command and control this most complicated of all forms of warfare”.120 The Bay class are Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships, rather than warships of the Royal Navy, and are largely crewed by civilian RFA personnel. As one written submission notes:

Although proven to be courageous and loyal, [RFA personnel] are not trained for war to the extent RN officers and ratings [are].

The same submission makes the point that LSD(A)s are not built to the same military damage control standards as warships and lack sufficient manpower to fulfil warfighting and damage control tasks concurrently.121

74.The LSD(A)s are also in high operational demand. One is normally in the Gulf to support mine countermeasures operations and a second is assigned to Atlantic Patrol Tasking (North), which includes being in readiness in the Caribbean for the hurricane season. It would be difficult for the LSD(A)s to take a greater share in amphibious operations without reducing these standing tasks.122

75.The Bay class LSD(A)s are valuable vessels for supporting amphibious operations alongside amphibious warships and have recently shown their suitability for conducting a range of tasks including disaster relief operations. For the reasons we have set out, they are, nevertheless, no substitute for dedicated amphibious assault warships.

Type 31e frigates

76.In his Gallipoli Memorial Lecture, the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, discussing the future of specialist multi-role amphibious shipping, said:

The Type 31e General Purpose Frigate will also provide an ideal platform to host an embarked military force, forward deployed to British Overseas Territories, and to regions of concern to the UK.

77.The outline specification for the Type 31e issued by the Royal Navy in September 2017 said nothing specific about amphibious capability. Space for an extra 40 augmentees, in addition to normal crew, was in the specification as an adaptable requirement.123

78.With the understanding that the tender process for the Type 31e Frigate is still ongoing, the Royal Navy’s specification information for the vessel suggests that it would be able to embark only a force of tactically negligible size, let alone the equipment and supplies necessary to sustain a landing force ashore. While some capacity for aviation is also included in the Type 31e specification, it is not at all clear how an embarked force would be moved to its objective. We ask the MoD to give us further details on the amphibious role that is contemplated for the Type 31e, particularly in relation to the size of a landing force that could be embarked, the space for its equipment and how such a force might be delivered to its objective.

Charter or requisition of civilian vessels

79.Both amphibious and conventional operations in the recent past have often required the Government to use civilian vessels to augment sealift capacity. 45 civilian ships were chartered or requisitioned for the Falklands Campaign124 and over 60 merchant ships were required to transport equipment to the Gulf at the outset of Operation TELIC in 2003.125

80.The Ministry of Defence, in co-operation with the Department for Transport, keeps a record of the numbers of militarily useful British registered vessels. The latest figures show continual year-on-year decreases in the numbers of registered vessels.126 Our predecessor Committee noted in its report on Strategic Lift in 2007 that the commercial shipping market is shrinking.127 The numbers of commercial vessels available to the Government would now be considerably lower.

81.Alongside the ships of the Royal Navy and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the department retains four Point class roll-on, roll-off strategic sealift vessels on charter under a PFI arrangement with Foreland Shipping. It was decided in 2011 that the number of vessels that the MoD retains on charter be reduced from six to four. This reduction became effective in 2012.128

82.Previous operations have relied on civilian commercial vessels being chartered or requisitioned (‘taken up from trade’) to provide sealift for personnel, equipment and supplies. This relies on being able to obtain suitable civilian vessels at short notice. Noting both the decline in the numbers of registered militarily useful commercial vessels and a reduction of the number of Point class ships that are chartered by the department to support operations, we seek reassurance that the need for strategic sealift is being adequately prioritised. We ask the MoD to explain the process which it and the Department for Transport use to identify and register militarily useful vessels. Given the decline in these numbers since the last review of strategic sealift requirement in 2011, we also request the Department to revisit this issue, with a view to taking steps to halt the decline. We further request an update on the current status of the agreements in place with Foreland Shipping relating to the Point class vessels, and an explanation of why two of them were released from the contract arrangements in 2012.

Local communities

83.A point often lost in discussions on military capability is the effect that reconfigurations have on the communities where these capabilities are based. Plymouth is the current home of the amphibious fleet and the Government has given a commitment to support the city as a hub of amphibious specialisation in the future. As well as the reforms to the Defence Estate discussed in Paragraphs 42–43 above, a new £30 million Amphibious Centre of Excellence was opened at RM Tamar in 2013.129 The disposal of the Albion class LPDs and a reduction in the number of Royal Marines will have a profound effect on the city. Plymouth City Council estimates that the disposal of the LPDs would put 1,176 jobs directly at risk and remove £61 million of gross value added from the economy of Devon and Cornwall. The effect on the regional supply chain dependent on the Naval Base would be wider and would have an adverse impact on an advanced marine engineering skills base.130

84.Disposal of the LPDs and the reduction in strength of the Royal Marines would have a profound effect on Plymouth, a city which shares a long association with the amphibious fleet and which has been designated as a future Amphibious Centre of Specialisation. As well as the impact it would have locally, it would represent a substantial waste of hundreds of millions of pounds of investment that has been put into these units and this capability. We ask the Department to provide us with details of the work that it has done in the course of the National Security Capability Review on examining the impact on local communities, and how it will be incorporated into the work of the Modernising Defence Programme.

78 Chesneau, R (ed.), Conways All The World’s Fighting Ships 1922–46, Mayflower Books, New York 1960, pp. 72–77, 158–163

79 HMS Theseus (R64) and HMS Ocean (R68), the latter not to be confused with HMS Ocean (L12), a purpose-built LPH shortly due to leave service.

80 HMS Albion (R07) and HMS Bulwark (R08), again not to be confused with the current Albion class LPDs HMS Albion (L14) and HMS Bulwark (L15).

81 Councillor Anthony Carey (RMA0008); Surgeon Captain Edward Grant (RMA0015); Richard Deacon (RMA0044); Dr Mark Campbell-Roddis (RMA0052); William Taylor (RMA0074); Tom Wimsey (RMA0082); Col (Rtd) Ian Moore (RMA0094). Professor Dorman’s work suggests that the wholesale disbandment of the Royal Marines was one option put on the table in 1981 to meet the required manpower reductions. It was rejected because of the effect abandoning the commitment to NATO’s Northern Flank would have had on relationships with NATO allies, and the United States in particular. See Dorman, A, John Nott and the Royal Navy: The 1981 Defence Review Revisited, Contemporary British History, 15:2, p 108

82 HC Deb, 8 March 1982, c327W. See also Oral Evidence, Work of the Department 2017, 25 October 2017, HC 439, Qq71–72

83 Q26

84 Q6. The requirement identified by the 1998 SDR was one LPH (with the possibility of second LPH being provided by an aircraft carrier), two LPDs, two (later increased to four) replacement logistic landing ships, supported by the acquisition of four additional roll-on roll-off (RoRo) ferries. HM Government, Modern Forces for the Modern World, Cm 3999, July 1998

86 Royal Navy, First Sea Lord’s Gallipoli Memorial Lecture, 23 November 2017

88 Gabriele Molinelli (RMA0030); Gary McKenzie (RMA0036); Stuart Broome (RMA0045); Lt Col (Rtd) Ewen Southby-Tailyour (RMA0051); DefenceSynergia (RMA0065); William Taylor (RMA0074); Tom Dixon (RMA0076); Professor Paul Rogers (RMA0078); Commodore (Rtd) Michael Clapp and Rear Admiral (Rtd) Jeremy Larken (RMA0085); Andrew Jackson (RMA0089); Commodore (Rtd) Richard Bridges and Major General (Rtd) David Pennefather (RMA0096); Human Security Centre (RMA0099)

89 Q5

90 Q6

91 Q43

92 Q8

93 Lt Col (Rtd) Ewen Southby-Tailyour (RMA0051); Commodore (Rtd) Michael Clapp and Rear Admiral (Rtd) Jeremy Larken (RMA0085); Commodore (Rtd) Richard Bridges and Major General (Rtd) David Pennefather (RMA0096)

94 Q24 [Nick Childs]

95 Dominic Collins (RMA0026); Peter Booker (RMA0027); Mark Gibbs (RMA0032); Robert Jones (RMA0033); Pamela Chorlton (RMA0035); Stuart Broome (RMA0045); Lt Col (Rtd) Ewen Southby-Tailyour (RMA0051); Captain Ian P Somervaille (RMA0054); Lt Col (Rtd) Charles Wilson (RMA0056); Stephen Beckett (RMA0060); Dr G Y Shin (RMA0061); Adrian Raisbeck (RMA0062); DefenceSynergia (RMA0065)Rear Admiral (Rtd) David Snelson and Lt Gen (Rtd) Sir James Dutton (RMA0066); Geoffrey Roach (RMA0071); Luke Pollard MP (RMA0073); Professor Paul Rogers (RMA0078); Ronald Lockley (RMA0080); Murdo Mackenzie (RMA0083); Commodore (Rtd) Michael Clapp and Rear Admiral (Rtd) Jeremy Larken (RMA0085); Col (Rtd) Ian Moore (RMA0094); Human Security Centre (RMA0099)

96 Ministry of Defence (RMA0098)

97 William Taylor (RMA0074); Roy V Martin (RMA0077); Simon Orr (RMA0090); Chris Smith (RMA0092);

98 Q24

99 Andrew Jackson (RMA0089)

100 Stephen Chan (RMA0019); DefenceSynergia (RMA0065)

101 Rear Admiral (Rtd) Chris Parry (RMA0050)

102 Dr Mark Campbell-Roddis (RMA0052)

104 Gabriele Molinelli (RMA0030); Lt Col (Rtd) Ewen Southby-Tailyour (RMA0051); William Taylor (RMA0074); Commodore (Rtd) Richard Bridges and Major General (Rtd) David Pennefather (RMA0096). A discussion of the development of the doctrine of vertical envelopment can be found in Spellar, I, The Role of Amphibious Warfare in British Defence Policy 1945–56, Palgrave, London 2001, chapter 6

105 Ronald Lockley (RMA0080);

106 Q10; Gareth Staples-Jones (RMA0002); Grant Eustice (RMA0007); Steven Kendrick (RMA0012); Mark Rees (RMA0017); Tommy Thompson (RMA0022); Stuart Broome (RMA0045); Dr Mark Campbell-Roddis (RMA0052); Lt Col (Rtd) Charles Wilson (RMA0056); Tim Forer (RMA0068); Phil Chadwick (RMA0086); Nick Paton (RMA0087); Andrew Jackson (RMA0089); Plymouth City Council (RMA0095);

108 Public Accounts Committee, Oral Evidence, Delivering Carrier Strike, 11 October 2017, HC 394, Qq29–31, Qq52–58, Qq84–87 [Lieutenant General Mark Poffley, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Military Capability)]

110 Public Accounts Committee, Delivering Carrier Strike, Fourteenth Report of Session 2017–19, HC 394,

111 Q43

112 Q43

113 Stephen Chan (RMA0019); Lt Col (Rtd) Charles Wilson (RMA0056); DefenceSynergia (RMA0065); Ronald Lockley (RMA0080); Murdo Mackenzie (RMA0083); Commodore (Rtd) Michael Clapp and Rear Admiral (Rtd) Jeremy Larken (RMA0085); Simon Orr (RMA0090); Plymouth City Council (RMA0095); Commodore (Rtd) Richard Bridges and Major General (Rtd) David Pennefather (RMA0096); Human Security Centre (RMA0099)

114 Q43; Simon Orr (RMA0090)

116 Q43 [General Fry]; Barry Collacot (RMA0013); Dr Martin Ridge (RMA0023); Peter Backlog (RMA0031); Robert Jones (RMA0033); Gary McKenzie (RMA0036); Jason Hunt (RMA0042); Mark Bullard (RMA0043); Stuart Broome (RMA0045); Lt Col (Rtd) Charles Wilson (RMA0056); Stephen Beckett (RMA0060); David Turner (RMA0063); DefenceSynergia (RMA0065); Rear Admiral (Rtd) David Snelson and Lt Gen (Rtd) Sir James Dutton (RMA0066); Tim Forer (RMA0068); Luke Pollard MP (RMA0073); William Taylor (RMA0074); Charles Pilton (RMA0075); Ronald Lockley (RMA0080); Murdo Mackenzie (RMA0083); Commodore (Rtd) Michael Clapp and Rear Admiral (Rtd) Jeremy Larken (RMA0085); Carl Stephen Patrick Hunter (RMA0091); Robert Watt (RMA0101)

118 Tommy Thompson (RMA0022); Stuart Broome (RMA0045); Sue Crouch (RMA0064); Col (Rtd) Ian Moore (RMA0094); Ministry of Defence (RMA0098)

119 Q6. See also Gabriele Molinelli (RMA0030); Gary McKenzie (RMA0036); Rear Admiral (Rtd) David Snelson and Lt Gen (Rtd) Sir James Dutton (RMA0066); Commodore (Rtd) Michael Clapp and Rear Admiral (Rtd) Jeremy Larken (RMA0085); Human Security Centre (RMA0099)

120 Lt Col (Rtd) Ewen Southby-Tailyour (RMA0051). See also Tim Forer (RMA0068); Commodore (Rtd) Michael Clapp and Rear Admiral (Rtd) Jeremy Larken (RMA0085)

121 Commodore (Rtd) Michael Clapp and Rear Admiral (Rtd) Jeremy Larken (RMA0085)

122 Stephen Chan (RMA0019); Gabriele Molinelli (RMA0030); Gary McKenzie (RMA0036)

124 Freedman, L, The Official History of the Falklands Campaign, Volume II (Revised and Updated Edition), Routledge 2007, chapters 31 and 32, p 732

125 Rear Admiral (Rtd) David Snelson and Lt Gen (Rtd) Sir James Dutton (RMA0066)

126 Ministry of Defence, UK armed forces equipment and formations 2017, July 2017, Tables 3 and 4

127 Defence Committee, Strategic Lift, Eleventh Report of Session 2006–7, HC 462, paras 26–32

128 HC Deb, 2 September 2013, c 45W. See also Gabriele Molinelli (RMA0030); Human Security Centre (RMA0099)

129 Peter Backlog (RMA0031); Paul Facer (RMA0053); Luke Pollard MP (RMA0073); Plymouth City Council (RMA0095);

130 Plymouth City Council (RMA0095). See also Luke Pollard MP (RMA0073)

1 February 2018