Albion Class (2003) LPD

The Albion Class, Landing Platform Dock Ships (LPD’s) primary function is to embark, transport, and deploy and recover (by air and sea) troops and their equipment, vehicles and miscellaneous cargo, forming part of an Amphibious Assault Force.
They each carry 4 x LCU's Mk 10.

The LPD is more than just another vessel for the Royal Navy. To appreciate the significance of this new Assault Ship requires an understanding of the background against which they were conceived and the essential roles both Albion and Bulwark will perform.

Amphibious operations are complex, involving as they do the interface of land, sea and air forces. The naval unit tasked with performing the central role of overall command, control and communications with units of the Amphibious task force is the LPD.

The Albion and Bulwark replace the old LPD Assault Ships HMS Fearless and Intrepid. Commissioned in the early 60s, the old LPD performed the essential command and naval HQ function for the Royal Navy’s amphibious capability alongside the modified Centaur Class commando carriers Albion and Bulwark with which they were regularly deployed. 
covered the withdrawal of British Troops from East of Suez and the extraction of British forces from Aden in 1967. In 1969 she became the first RN warship to be fitted with the Skynet satellite communications system.

Despite their invaluable service, the old LPD's were scheduled for imminent but premature disposal in the 1981 Defence Review. The Falklands conflict in 1982 served to highlight their continuing usefulness, prompting a rapid reversal of the disposal order and resulting in their reprieve and ongoing deployments. 

Whilst Fearless was ruled out of playing a role in the 1990 Gulf War, she did play a key flagship role in the task group assembled for the potential Kosovo intervention by the UK’s 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines. Having been stood down with other vessels she did play a key part in the multi-national exercise Bright Star off Egypt in 1999 and also in the UK/Omani joint coalition exercise Saif Sareea (II) in 2002.

The availability of an LPD to act as a HQ vessel and launch assault troops by landing craft and helicopters is fundamental to the UK’s Amphibious Ready Group concept and this is the vital role which the new LPD's will perform. They will enable Britain’s amphibious forces to operate with greater effectiveness whenever the need arises – whether keeping peace afloat, projecting forces ashore, or undertaking humanitarian roles. Their introduction into service will significantly enhance the amphibious operating capability of the Royal Navy, NATO and any future European Force."

Note : Background details from Royal Navy Website.


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This page last edited - 18 January, 2013.

Copyright © Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.