Future Littoral Strike Ship (FLSS) /
Multi-Role Vessel (MRV)
The UK’s Littoral Strike Ship concept was first announced in February 2019, with nothing new coming into the public realm until 2021. Multi Role Support Ships (MRSS) will provide the platforms to deliver Littoral Strike, including Maritime Special Operations, in the early 2030s. In the March 2021 Defence Command Paper, the Ministry of Defence detailed plans for new Multi-Role Support Ships (MRSS). The description of the ships included in the paper paints a picture of a vessel similar to the capabilities of the MRV – saying the future MRSS will be used ‘to deliver Littoral Strike, including Maritime Special Operations’ in the early 2030s. This timeline is consistent with the out-of-service date of the Albion-class LPDs which are due to be retired in the early 2030s.
The Royal Navy will invest £40m more over the four years 2021-2025 to develop the Future Commando Force as part of the transformation of amphibious forces, as well as more than £50m in converting a Bay class support ship to deliver a more agile and lethal littoral strike capability. Forward deployed to respond rapidly to crises, this special operations capable force will operate alongside allies and partners in areas of UK interest, ready to strike from the sea, pre empt and deter sub threshold activity, and counter state threats. This will be enabled by the deployment of two Littoral Response Groups; the first in 2021 will be deployed to the Euro Atlantic under a NATO and JEF construct, while a second will be deployed to the Indo Pacific region in 2023. They will also be able to deliver training to partners in regions of the world where maritime security is most challenging.
British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson announced 11 February 2019 his intention to introduce into the Navy two new amphibious ships, called Littoral Strike Ships. "... the Royal Navy... are exerting British influence through greater forward presence. I want to capitalise on that. Investing now to develop a new Littoral Strike Ship concept. And, if successful, we will look to dramatically accelerate their delivery. These globally deployable, multi-role vessels would be able to conduct a wide range of operations, from crisis support to war-fighting. They would support our Future Commando Force. Our world-renowned Royal Marines – they’ll be forward deployed, at exceptionally high readiness, and able to respond at a moment’s notice bringing the fight from sea to land.
"Our vision is for these ships to form part of 2 Littoral Strike Groups complete with escorts, support vessels and helicopters. One would be based East of Suez in the Indo-Pacific and one based West of Suez in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Baltic. And, if we ever need them to, our two Littoral Strike Ships, our two aircraft carriers, our two amphibious assault ships Albion and Bulwark, and our three Bay Class landing ships can come together in one amphibious task force. This will give us sovereign, lethal, amphibious force. This will be one of the largest and best such forces anywhere in the world.
"In 1940, Winston Churchill said: “Enterprises must be prepared with specially-trained troops of the ‘Hunter Class’, who can develop a reign of terror down enemy coasts.” Our actions mean that we will deliver on Churchill’s vision for our Royal Navy and for our Royal Marine Commandos."
"Global Britain needs to be much more than a pithy phrase. It has to be about action. And our armed forces represent the best of Global Britain in action. Taking action alongside our friends and allies. Action to strengthen the hand of fragile nations and to support those who face natural disasters. Action to oppose those who flout international law. Action to shore up the global system of rules and standards on which our security and our prosperity depends. And action, on occasion, that may lead us to have to intervene alone."
Plymouth Moor View MP Johnny Mercer, in a statement following the announcement, said: "I am delighted that the Defence Secretary is talking about Littoral Strike Ships - a concept many of us for some time have seen the Royal Marines fulfilling. The Royal Marines must be given the opportunities to evolve and modernise, and Gavin Williamson’s comments today could herald the start of a very exciting new chapter in the history of our elite amphibious forces. My priority is to make sure these are base-ported in Plymouth. I have for many years now made sure that Plymouth remains the centre of gravity of the UK’s Amphibious Operations forces - something we are enormously proud of. The base-porting of these vessels in Plymouth will cement this for generations to come.”
It's proposed the vessels will be based East of Suez in the Indo-Pacific and West in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Baltic. Littoral Strike Ships are multipurpose amphibious amphibious ships, created through the re-equipment of large civil ferries or container ships. Each such ship must be equipped with a landing deck, accommodate a helicopter air group and a set of assault landing craft, as well as 400 marines with full armament.
This concept allows you to quickly and relatively affordable to create suitable for long expeditionary deployments ships. Any commercial tanker under construction can, at the request of the military, turn into a combat expeditionary ship on which large marines can be deployed and its landing means, various missile and strike weapons. Such a tanker can also perform the role of floating bases and supply and support vessels.
Since 2013, this idea is not new: the command of special operations forces of the USA has been using the Ocean Trader roll-over vessel converted into a “forward-based ship” (vessel for the carriage of goods on the wheelbase, cars, freight transport, railway cars
Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB DL [First Sea Lord 2016-2019] added "By accelerating the Future Littoral Strike Ship development via the Transformation Fund, we have the chance for more rapid introduction of this valuable capability into the Fleet, significantly enhancing our ability to act in support of Defence & cross-government objectives."
Prevail Partners Ltd (PPL) is the first company to go public with its Multi-Role Vessel (MRV) proposal that would meet the FLSS requirement. the Prevail Multi Role Vessel, an initiative inspired directly from our experience within the national security domain. It is a bespoke vessel designed in partnership with industry to meet the political, military and humanitarian challenges of the 21st century. As a highly mobile logistic and helicopter base the Prevail MRV enables nations to project power, carrying out the most time-sensitive Special Mission Unit missions, and manage threats at range with swift and decisive action.
As an emergency response platform, the Prevail MRV enables nations to meet their international and domestic obligations, delivering humanitarian aid where it is most needed. Prevail conceived this capability and drawn together an industrial Task Force with unrivalled pedigree to deliver the MRV.
The Prevail Multi-Role Vessel had been specifically designed to offer a flexible and productive solution to many operational challenges. These globally deployable MRVs are able to conduct a wide range of operations from humanitarian crisis response through to Commando and Special Forces operations. The MRV can be forward deployed, at exceptionally high readiness, able to respond at a moment's notice where it is needed. The Prevail MRV can deploy flexibly and form part of an efficient fleet of new ships that are reliable, productive and highly cost-effective.
- FUNCTIONAL: The Prevail MRV has been designed and purpose-built as the most functional solution to the political, military and humanitarian challenges of the 21st Century.
- VERSATILE: With an operational range of over 10000NM, a speed in excess of 20kts, and flexible deck-spacing ready to receive a range of operational capabilities including a substantial hospital, the Prevail MRV can move from one operation to another completely different task at pace.
- PRODUCTIVE: Both the design of the Prevail MRV with its functionality, and the proposed Turnkey Contract, are planned with exceptional productivity in mind.
- ADAPTABLE: The flagship capabilities designed into the base-model guarantee that Prevail MRV is the most adaptable vessel in your fleet.
The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE was Secretary of State for Defence from 2 November 2017 to 1 May 2019. He was appointed Secretary of State for Education on 24 July 2019. Ben Wallace was appointed Secretary of State for Defence on 24 July 2019. Williamson claimed that he is the victim of a “kangaroo court” after being dramatically sacked by Theresa May over the leak from the National Security Council of Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G network. May was determined to reassert her authority over her squabbling ministers, whom Williamson’s successor as chief whip, Julian Smith, had described as the “worst example of ill-discipline in cabinet in British political history”.
There had been spectacular resignations of British defence secretaries, such as Michael Heseltine over the Westland affair in 1986. But there had not been a spectacular sacking of a defence secretary in the modern era – until the firing of Gavin Williamson. May implied in her letter firign Williamson that he had failed to cooperate fully with the investigation. Other NSC attendees, she wrote, had “answered all questions, engaged properly, and provided as much information as possible to assist with the investigation … your conduct has not been of the same standard as others”. Martin Kettle, a Guardian columnist, wrote "Williamson was not up to the job he was doing. He flew too close to the su ... He was a minister who commanded little respect and had few loyal followers. He will have none at all now." After Williamson's departure from the Defence Ministry, there was no further discussion of the Littoral Strike Ship.
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