Royal Navy Announces Six Newbuild Amphibious Warships

Royal Navy Announces Six Newbuild Amphibious Warships
Royal Marines land ashore in the Baltic during NATO exercises. (Image credit: Royal Navy)

The Royal Navy will have up to six new state-of-the-art amphibious ships to bring the punch of the Royal Marines Commandos ashore wherever in the world they are needed.

The new Multi Role Support Ships (MRSS) will replace HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, the Royal Navy’s current amphibious flagships which will remain in service until 2033/2034.

The MRSS will also take place of the three Bay-class amphibious support vessel, RFAs Lyme Bay, Mounts Bay and Cardigan Bay and support ship RFA Argus.

MRSS will be extremely versatile warships, able to deploy on a wider variety of operations, and designed to carry vehicles, aircraft, insertion craft and a broad range of uncrewed systems for complicated missions. They will also be able to act as primary casualty receiving ships, providing urgent medical care to British forces wherever they are deployed.

The MOD has entered the first, or concept, phase of the MRSS Program and will work with industry as part of early market engagement ahead of developing the vessel design.

MRSS Program Director, Commander Alex Allen, said: “As the son of a Royal Marine who fought in the Falklands War, I recognize the importance of this capability to a global navy.

“But these ships must be ready to meet a future threat where they will be required to exploit new technology and change roles quickly.

“Adaptability and flexibility will be central to the Multi Role Support Ship design, as will interoperability with our NATO allies.

“This announcement is a significant step in the program bringing these ships into service and modernizing the Royal Navy’s littoral strike capability.”

The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Ben Key, added: “I am delighted that the Secretary of State has cemented the future of our Royal Marines by committing to this new class of up to six amphibious vessels.

“These will be the most capable amphibious warships the nation has ever owned, designed to be fully interchangeable with our closest allies in Europe, and in NATO.”

In a host of announcements made by Defence Secretary Grant Shapps at the First Sea Lord's Sea Power Conference 2024 in London, it was also stated that two stalwart Type 23 frigates will be retired.

HMS Argyll has been sold to BAE Systems and will be used within the UK’s shipbuilding sector, supporting apprentice training in line with the government’s agenda on skills and shipbuilding capacity.

HMS Westminster will be decommissioned, but both ships depart as the next generation of frigates—the Type 26 and 31—continue to be built.

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