Royal Navy eyeing development of new “littoral strike ships”

The Royal Navy could possibly get a fleet of two new “Littoral Strike Ships” for operations close to the shore, UK defense secretary Gavin Williamson announced during a speech at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies on February 11.

Research into the feasibility of the new ships will be financed from a Transformation Fund which is designed to bring capabilities to the armed forces “as quickly as possible”.

The new Littoral Strike Ship concept revolves around globally deployable, multi-role vessels capable of performing both crisis support and war-fighting missions.

The defense secretary envisions these ships to form part of two 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.

The ships could join the Royal Navy aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, and Bay-class landing ships can come together in one amphibious task force should need be, the defense minister noted.

“This announcement to accelerate the concept and assessment stages of future littoral strike ships brings us one step closer to realising our ambitions for the future commando force,” Major General Charlie Stickland, Commandant General Royal Marines, said.