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Devonport Navy Days 2009

Photographs & Notes   Neil Marsden 2009

Type 22 Frigate, 'HMS Chatham' together with close up view (Photo 10) of her 'Goalkeeper' 30mm 7 barrel gatling gun, 'Bulwark' has two of these, though of course Chatham also has her 4.5" main gun, Harpoon missiles, Seawolf missiles, 2 x 20mm guns, 6 torpedo tubes and two Lynx helicopters!!Type 22 Frigate, HMS CHATHAM together with close up view ( of her 'Goalkeeper' 30mm 7 barrel gatling gun, 'Bulwark' has two of these, though of course Chatham also has her 4.5" main gun, Harpoon missiles, Seawolf missiles, 2 x 20mm guns, 6 torpedo tubes and two Lynx helicopters!!One of 'Chatham's Lynx helicopters armed with 'Stingray' torpedo and 'Sea Skua' anti-ship missile, a pretty useful aircraft!!Type 23 frigates, 'Somerset' (nearest) and 'Northumberland' (pity the weather was so overcast!!)HMS BULWARK
Another view of HMS BULWARK which shows to good effect her 18,500 tons displacement, flight deck area and well dock gateSorry it's a little dark but this is the view inside 'Bulwark' of half of the well-dock area, the ship can carry four of these Landing Craft (Utility) each weighing 240 tonnes full load and capable of carrying a Challenger 2 tank

Again not too clear I'm afraid but shows the new 'Beach Recovery Vehicle' or 'Hippo' based on a Leopard tank chassis and weighing 50 tons, it can wade up to 10 feet depth and push a fully laden LC(U) off a beach or tow  up to 50 tons.  Only four in service with the Royal Marines.



The cargo deck of RFA MOUNTS BAY one of four sister ships described as 'Landing Platform Dock (Auxiliary)' these are pretty impressive ships in their own right displacing 16,160tons and 176m in length they can carry 356 Royal Marines in normal load conditions and upto 700 in operations.

The cargo deck can carry upto 24 x Challenger tanks or 150 light vehicle, the ships have a well dock see next photo and can operate LC(U) size vessels from it, unlike the Bulwark/Albion which can carry four LC(U) the Bays can carry just one, but a larger cargo.  As such they act as support ships to the 'Albion' Class but have a really useful independent role as well.  The design is based on the Dutch Navy's 'Rotterdam' Class LPD. They can also operate  upto Chinook size helicopters from the flight deck as well!


Approaching the new Type 45 Destroyer HMS 'Daring'

Close up of the mainmast/radar and funnel.  Not the best looking ship in the fleet in my opinion!!Funnel and ship's badge


Shows a section of the sick bay on Daring, note the size of the TV screen!

Two berth cabin HMS DARING. Of some concern is the fact that in this all computer ship every crew member has access to the internet and personal i-Pod, something that most agree does not bode well for 'mess life' esprit de corps or whatever!

The whole issue of computerised charts, computer control, digital this and HD that look great but on looking around I wondered what would happen in a black-out!!  Of course she's a completely new ship, well launched 3 years ago, but an entirely new concept so it's easy to be a little sceptical.  Simple things like doors and hatchways have been modified for a single lever operation, fine in theory but I wondered how this might effect safety in some circumstances, I saw no means whereby a single 'dog' could be left in place to make sure all was well before opening a hatchway??  Safety issues such as this may have been incorporated but all new personnel would require training to adapt from a more conventional ship and of course for years to come, vice versa!!


View from the bridge showing 4.5" gun and the ship's Aster or Sea Viper missile system silos. There are 48 launchers carrying a mix of Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles.  In fairness there is plenty of space for extra kit and it is suggested that the ships may be retro-fitted with cruise missiles in due course. The main feature is the 'stealth' design which relies on smooth surfaces and few projections etc. so that extra missiles and guns will no doubt impact that aspect of the ship's profile.

Despite a recent announcement that the MoD are seeking to upgrade the navy's main gun, currently the Vickers 114mm (4.5") to a 155mm based on the Army's main gun and the 'Type 45's' have been designed for the upgrade, nothing much has been heard since the onset of the credit squeeze, so it may well become a casualty. The fact that only six type 45's are now to be completed from the original twelve, then eight it's pretty evident that the RN will be badly overstretched unless some radical changes lie ahead!!

The survey ship HMS ROEBUCKjust 1500 tons, crew 50 or so and more like a little yacht, in the background another Type 23 this time HMS 'Kent' newly arrived from the Gulf region.The RN's largest survey ship, HMS SCOTT at 13,000 tons, very much built on 'merchant ship lines'  with a lean manned crew totalling just 42 at any one time.

I'm happy to say thisis a more conventional ship, but as the Navy's biggest at present, HMS 'Ocean' is an impressive vessel and they really seem to have got a quart from a pint pot here, albeit at 21,500 ton 'pot'  Considering the new 'Queen Elizabeth' Class carriers will be three times the size then they will be overwhelming, of course I've never seen a US 'Nimitz' Class carrier which at 5 times the size of 'Ocean' must be amazing, but what 'Ocean' packs in is still quite something.  She is in fact not an aircraft carrier at all in the strict sense but a 'LPH' (landing Platform- Helicopter) She carries 4 Landing craft on davits and can operate upto 12 Sea King/Merlin helicopters, plus six Lynx or Gazelle helos as well. These days she can also operate Chinook and if needed the Army's Apache helicopters although they cannot be struck down to the two massive hangars.

Stern view of HMS OCEAN (couldn't get her all in shot!) showing loading doors, two of her three Vulcan 'Phalanx' 20mm Gatling guns on aft sponsons also the flight deck with embarked 'Merlin' helo. The two large apertures in the side further forward each house a 35 man landing craft with two more to port.


Shows one of the HMS OCEAN hangars in its mid way position, at this point vehicles and stores stowed in a tween-deck can be loaded and raised to deck level or alternatively discharged via side and rear doors in the ship's hull onto ramps etc. Additional vehicles can be stowed in the hangars and on deck also.

Ocean can accommodate up to 800 Royal Marines, I only saw a few and they scared the daylights out of me, so 800 storming ashore must be a terrifying experience!!


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