Will the Royal Navy design the perfect ship for the French Navy in the Indo-Pacific zone?

A few days ago, the British Ministry of Defense announced the launch of the Multi-Role Support Ship, or MRSS, program. As its name does not indicate, it plans to design a new class of compact, very well-armed aero-amphibious assault ships, capable of carrying out assault operations from the sea, of small and medium size. amplitudes, alone or alongside an escort.

Through this program, London intends to restore to the Royal Navy major power projection capabilities, and above all adapted to the future reality of amphibious warfare, alongside other efforts in the field of logistics ships. , escorts and submarines.

One of the design offices participating in this program, Steller Systems, presented, a few days ago, its vision of what the MRSS program could be, with a model called Fearless, named after one of the ships of key assaults in the recapture of the Falklands in 1982.

Particularly promising, this model combines naval combat capabilities, generally embarked aboard destroyers or frigates, with LPD-type assault capabilities.

However, and whatever the future of this program, while the future of the Sunak government, across the Channel, seems more than threatened, it appears that this concept, beyond the needs of the Royal Navy, would also be a a major asset, but for the French Navy, for its missions in the Indo-Pacific zone!

The Royal Navy's aero-amphibious assault destroyer MRSS program

Officially launched only a few days ago, the MRSS program was initially intended to be led jointly by Great Britain and the Netherlands. However, it quickly became apparent that the two Marines had incompatible expectations.

Royal Navy MRSS
first visuals broadcast during the announcement of the joint LPD program by Great Britain and the Netherlands. The needs quickly diverged, giving rise to two different programs.

The Koninklijke Dutch Navy, was waiting straight-deck LHD type ships, more compact than the French Mistrals, but falling under the same operational concept, except by increasing, as much as possible, automation, to achieve a limited crew of 70 members. Very weakly armed, these ships will, however, have to be systematically escorted, as is the case with the Mistrals.

The Royal Navy, for its part, had radically different ambitions. The six ships of the MRSS program will have to replace the two LPDs of the Albion class, as well as the 3 RFA of the Bay class, and the support ship RFA Argus.

Above all, these ships will be designed to carry out reduced or medium power projection operations, by helicopter or amphibious means, sometimes autonomously, and must be able to provide the necessary support to the deployed forces, using its own abilities.

In other words, the MRSS, planned to enter service before 2034, will combine the assault capabilities of an LPD, an aero-amphibious assault ship with a truncated airlift, and a base, to significant armament, both to ensure its own protection and to support the forces. The term aero-amphibious assault destroyer, given the tonnage of the ship, which will undoubtedly exceed 10 tonnes, is therefore certainly not overused.

The MRSS Fearless model from Steller Systems

Le British design office Steller Systems, was the first to present a concept, concerning the MRSS program, during the Combined Naval Event (CNE) 2024, which took place in Farnborough from May 21 to 23.

Steller Systems MRSS Fearless
visual rendering of the Fearless mRSS model from Steller Systems. notice the mission modules, upstream of the aviation hangar.

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6 Comments

  1. I'm not sure this is the best type of ship. There is a lack of means to vertically receive vectors other than helicopters. Helicopters are hard to maintain and expensive to acquire and very vulnerable in engagements. Fixed-wing drones are much cheaper and fly much further, much longer. This ship would therefore not be able to support ground troops with equipment other than its artillery or its rare land-strike missiles.
    Yes, at sea or against planes, it is a superb ship, but afterwards, for the support of disembarked personnel, we fall back into the super light. It is a helping hand boat, to land 2 sections of infantry. Why not send 10 A400 Ms with the pallets that fit instead. It would be faster. And the paratroopers would deploy their drones from the ground. We fit our armored vehicles well into the A400s. If the concern is to protect islands, then there is a need for more prepositioned forces and the means to deploy them. A ship for island warfare can quickly become a waste of resources. Finally, I don't have all the data in the equation.

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