Four more ships for the Surface Fleet...?

Discussion in 'The Fleet' started by stumpy, May 24, 2006.

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  1. Just a quick idea, but considering that the RN is short of escorts, and given that either Albion or Bulward is on a successful deployment to the Gulf of Aden, why not use the Bay Class in a similar role? Surely one could be permantly deployed to the West Indies, with a team of RN sailors for disaster relief and RMs for drug interdiction. She would have enough space for a couple of helicopters, landing craft (and possibly RM fast boats), and crucially, enough disaster relief stores and equipment to do a proper job. You could either keep the RFA personnel onboard, or fully take them into the RN, in manpower terms 1 scrapped Type 42 almost equals the manpower for 4 x Bay Class.

    I know that they are not as fast as a frigate or destroyer, or have the sensors, missiles etc. But, most of the time the sort of the work that escorts do don't require these. This idea would provide 4 more ships to go on the plot, and enable them to be fully utilised.

    What do you think? :?:
  2. Wait and see what they can do - word on the grape vine is that we're only going to get Lyme, Largs and Mounts and Cardigan's going to be sold/used for spares.

    None of them have even been through more than sea trials yet (I'm joining Mounts in June and she's going to start the full trials busines ie getting BOST'ed etc.), so it's worth waiting and seeing what they're capable of. There's no need to take them into the RN (long standing bone of contention this) - they seem to think that the Wave class are capable of doing standalone ops in the Caribbean, so why not the Bay's? I like the idea personally, but because they've been built on the cheap, and like Albion and Bulwark there are serious teething problems at the moment, we're just going to have to wait and see what they can do.

    In manpower terms though, it would be interesting to see if 60 RN personnel could man one - the division of responsibilities is radically different in the RFA, and the requirements might be a bit of a culture shock. (again, different topic in itself this).
  3. There's been all sorts of RUMINT on the Bays, from full RN manning to only two entering service and the others to be laid up. If it hasn't come to you personally from COMRFA himself it's all lies! :p

    Have you visited or sailed on a Bay yet? I was on Mounts Bay's maiden voyage as an RFA so if you've any questions about her, or about BOST from a cadet's point of view feel free to PM me.
  4. Well funnily enough, the dit on Cardigan was from old Billy bob himself when he came to us to give his 'triangle with three corners' speech. He said we were definitely getting Mounts, Largs and Lyme, but Cardigan was a bit uncertain at the moment.
  5. Mmmm, I thought the government was meant to be taking littoral warfare seriously...?

    At the very least I would have thought that the Cardigan Bay would make a good dedicated Hospital Ship/PCRS (or whatever it is called). I understood there were plans for one anyway to replace the RFA Argus.
  6. Not if the chancellor doesn't like it we don't.

    Argus is on her way in for a refit, but there is still talk about replacing her. The main RFA replacement impetus at the moment though is replacing all our old tankers with double hulled jobbers (MARS project), so possibly it might have to wait a bit.

    I have to say though, I shall be joining the Naval medical branch in their cheers of joy when they finally scrap Argus. Horrible Ship.
  7. What do you think is wrong with Argus sufficient to merit 'horrible'?

    Last I heard this year's refit is intended to extend her service until 2020.
  8. She smells of effluent, she manoevres like a brick, the bridge is cramped and badly designed, she's horrendously stiff and rolls like a pig (even in practically flat calm in the med).

    Hopefully the refit will go some way to dealing with most of the above issues, but having spent a few days on her I'd never ever wish to do a trip on board.

    The thought of her being still there in 2020 is a pretty horrendous thought for what is after all an 80's box boat.
  9. When were you on Argus?

    I was on her for five months last year, and not once that I can recall did she smell of shit. :p

    She's very straightforward to manoeuvre once you get the hang of it. Not especially agile perhaps, but positively spritely compared to a Leaf boat.

    No argument on the bridge layout. It's only going to get worse when they install two WECDIS terminals this year, taking up whatever gains of space are made with the removal of CANE. I sailed with a functioning CANE table on Galahad and it's actually quite handy when it works.

    Disagree on her movements in a seaway. She is notorious for it, but in practice I had no problems in weather up to Force 9/10 in the Channel. Had much more trouble on Mounts Bay because of the height of the accommodation and that awful navy style metal furniture they've fitted her out with. Argus is getting at least some cabins refitted this year so she may go the same way. :(

    Overall, Argus is not half as bad in reality as her reputation IMO (a lot like her former owner Capt(X) ;)), despite all the flying and high naval content.
  10. Is it not true that she had tonnes of concrete added to make her roll more? I heard that originally she was too stable to provide worthwhile aviation training for 'small ships flights'?
  11. Not quite - as a container ship she was designed to operate in a laden condition, which a few helicopters, spares and additional accommodation can't come close to. She has had well over a thousand tonnes of ballast added, but it's to reduce her GM and thus increase the roll period to something sensible. Without it, she'd be stiffer than a stiff thing that had been set in starch and then shown a picture of Kylie in the nack.....
  12. Seadog

    Seadog War Hero Moderator

    Rumours abound that the RN want all the Bays. As Scud moots:

    Who will get the CEO’s cabin (mirror of the Captain’s)? Will Senior Rate MEs occupy RFA Officers' cabins adjacent to the old man’s (different organisational cultures) or would that be a touchy feely step to far?

    And then there are the difficult questions. One RN SR and a baby stoker/technician responsible for an entire engine room? They'll be busy.

    PFS/harmony time?
  13. I can offer some more rumours from the coalface on this one. During OST, had a very interesting chat with the one of the staff Loggies regarding the status of the ships. The moving and shaking has passed beyond speculation and into the practicalities - Cardigan Bay has had several Naval Architects visit the ship with a view to turning them into pussers war canoes. The plans are essentially to rip out most of the accomodation and start again - the current gym will become a 40 man mess, extra bunks will go into the Cadet and RFA senior rate cabins to turn them from either 1/2 man cabins into 4-8 man messes, the double beds will be torn out of the current officers cabins and they'll turn into two man cabins and the like.

    The idea they're looking at is turning them into ships with a crew of something of the order of 180, without any major modifications apart from fitting the phalanxes and turning the ops room into something other than a joke.

    Watch this space...
  14. Where are they going to get the c.1000 crew from for four ships? I know I use a rule of thumb of 3 RN per 1 RFA personnel, but WTF are the 120 supernumaries actually going to do?

    How did you get on with Mounts Bay in BOST anyway?
  15. Seadog

    Seadog War Hero Moderator

    Has 'mixed manning' of the Bay Class been floated with any seriousness Scud? An RN ship's company will hardly walk on board and figure it all out in a forenoon. Gobby sprog matelots calling the Chief Engineer 'mate', junior RN officers thinking he's a 'Chief' Petty Officer.

    Interesting times for the RN and the RFA?
  16. Got a Strong Satisfactory on OST - would have got a VSAT if everything worked. Nearly all the pick up points, from MASC onwards were material defects rather than training issues - along the lines of "this doesn't work", "where's the SOP for this?" and so on. Ship was ok, though it looked like we'd do our final inspection on the buoy at one point after both converters decided to die the day before - we were only saved by a bloke from Siemens flying over at the rush to debug and change £40k worth of circuit boards.

    As for mixed manning, it's an interesting idea. As for adding up the personnel extras, I'll have a go:

    Operations Officer
    4 x Bridge Watchkeeping Officers
    4 x WE Officers
    6 x WE Senior Rates
    18 x WE Junior Rates
    4 x ME Officers
    8 x ME Senior Rates (to do all the engineering)
    20 x ME Junior Rates
    3 x Logistics Officers
    25 x Catering/Supply dept
    10 x Communications Senior/Junior Rates

    As for warfare/seamanship department, I'd be completely lost as to how the RN work it, but that gives an idea how numbers would build up. I've hit 100 already without trying...

    Mixed manning would be interesting to say the least - the culture shock would take at least a Month to get past, and it'd be interesting to see where the lines were drawn, and whose ideas end up dominant. The idea of 1 in 3 bridge watches in itself seems offensive to RN Warfare Officers (as does the lack of anything 'Warfare' to play with), and the possible tussles between CPOMEAs and RFA Engineering Officers about who actually gets to play with the engines would be quite interesting. It's one of the 3 options currently up to the treasury regarding the future of the RFA though. They are:

    1. Navy Takes Over

    2 Greater 'Integration' between RN and RFA (Navy Takes over, but longer timescale)

    3. They do nothing (Navy tries takeover attempt later)
  17. I am glad to hear that my idea a while ago isn't just wishful thinking.
    With an RN ships company, and RM, then they turn into very useful ships, much more practical than a type 23.

    Can helicopters be taken below at all??

    And as for the extra personnel... well they are big ships and will require lots of cleaning......! (groan)
  18. Seadog

    Seadog War Hero Moderator

    Ref Bay class Stumpy asked:

    Um, no! So there is something called 'incremental aquistion' going on. Bays can't operate more than one helo but with a better thought out quarterdeck/flightdeck there could have been multiple spots. Oh and they forgot a FLYCO but have identified a fan trunking that can be adapted (after an A&A and £££ of guidance is approved).

    Serious maintenance, especially in roughers can't be carried out on helos parked on the upper scupper so a hanger is required, but what kind of aftermarket fit will they get?

    Going back to the question. A ditched helo could probably be winched in to the dock/vehicle deck. That's 'below' but not what you meant Stumpy.
    (Am I warm Scud?)

    Best leave the Bays with the RFA for now and start another thread on the future of the RN and RFA marriage- if that's what is happening.
  19. Scud???

    My idea wasn't to grab RFAs for the sake of it, but that the Bays could be operated more like the Albion and Bulwark are at the moment, ie patrolling large areas of sea, sending out RMs on landing craft/patrol boats (poss even some of their go fast ones...).

    I think that the rest of the RFA should be left as they are as they do an excellent job, but these vessels could be used in a way to gain 4 more, very useful, ships for the surface fleet.

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