RFA Lyme Bay (L3007)

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RFA Lyme Bay berthed at Portland, August 2007
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: Lyme Bay
Namesake: Lyme Bay, Dorset
Ordered: 18 December 2000
Builder: Swan Hunter / BAE Systems
Laid down: 22 November 2000
Launched: 3 September 2005
In service: 26 November 2007
Identification: IMO number: 9240768
Status: in active service, as of 2014
General characteristics
Class & type: Bay class landing ship dock
Displacement: 16,160 t (15,905 long tons) full load
Length: 579.4 ft (176.6 m)
Beam: 86.6 ft (26.4 m)
Draught: 19 ft (5.8 m)
Propulsion: 2 x Wärtsilä 8L26 generators, 6,000 hp (4.5 MW)
2 x Wärtsilä 12V26 generators, 9,000 hp (6.7 MW)
2 x azimuth thrusters
1 x bow thruster
Speed: 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Range: 8,000 nmi (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
1 LCU or 2 LCVP in well deck; Mexeflote powered rafts
Capacity: 1,150 linear metres of vehicles (up to 24 Challenger 2 tanks or 150 light trucks)
Cargo capacity of 200 tons ammunition or 24 TEU containers
Troops: 356 standard, 700 overload
Complement: 60
Armament: • 2 × Phalanx CIWS
• 2 × 30 mm DS30B cannon
• 4 × 7.62mm Mk.44 Miniguns
• 6 × 7.62mm L7 GPMGs
Aircraft carried: None carried
Aviation facilities: Flight deck can operate helicopters up to Chinook size

RFA Lyme Bay (L3007) is a Bay class auxiliary landing ship dock (LSD(A)) of the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA). Ordered from Swan Hunter in 2000, the ship was launched in 2005. However, cost overruns and delays saw the shipbuilder removed from the project, and the incomplete ship was towed to Govan for finishing by BAE Systems Naval Ships. Lyme Bay entered service in late 2007; the last ship of the class to join the RFA.

Design and construction[edit]

The Bay class was designed as a replacement for the Round Table class logistics ships operated by the RFA.[1] The new design was based on the Royal Schelde Enforcer design; a joint project between the Dutch and Spanish resulting in the Rotterdam class and Galicia class amphibious warfare ships.[1] The main difference with the British ships is the lack of a helicopter hangar.[2] The ships were originally designated "Auxiliary Landing Ship Logistics" or ALSL, but this was changed in 2002 to "Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary)" or LSD(A), better reflecting their operational role.[3] Four ships were ordered; two from Swan Hunter, and two from BAE Systems Naval Ships.[1]

The Bay class ships have a full load displacement of 16,160 tonnes (15,900 long tons).[1] Each is 579.4 feet (176.6 m) long, with a beam of 86.6 feet (26.4 m), and a draught of 19 feet (5.8 m).[1] Propulsion power is provided by two Wärtsilä 8L26 generators, providing 6,000 horsepower (4.5 MW), and two Wärtsilä 12V26 generators, providing 9,000 horsepower (6.7 MW).[1] These are used to drive two steerable azimuth thrusters, with a bow thruster supplementing.[1] Maximum speed is 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph), and the Bay class ships can achieve a range of 8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph).[1] Lyme Bay is armed with two 30 mm DS30B cannons, four Mk.44 miniguns, six 7.62mm L7 GPMGs, and two Phalanx CIWS. The standard ship's company consists of 60 officers and sailors.[1]

As a sealift ship, Lyme Bay is capable of carrying up to 24 Challenger 2 tanks or 150 light trucks in 1,150 linear metres of space.[1] The cargo capacity is equivalent of 200 tons of ammunition, or 24 Twenty-foot equivalent unit containers.[1] During normal conditions, a Bay class ship can carry 356 soldiers, but this can be almost doubled to 700 in overload conditions.[1] No helicopters are carried on board, but the flight deck is capable of handling helicopters up to the size of Chinooks, as well as Merlin helicopters and Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.[1][3] The well dock can carry one LCU Mark 10 or two LCVPs, and two Mexeflotes can be suspended from the ship's flanks.[1][3] Two 30-ton cranes are fitted between the superstructure and the flight deck.[1]

Lyme Bay and sister ship Largs Bay were ordered from Swan Hunter on 18 December 2000.[1] Lyme Bay was laid down at Swan Hunter's shipyard at Wallsend, Tyne and Wear on 22 November 2002.[1] The ship was launched on 3 September 2005.[1] The Bay class construction project saw major delays and cost overruns, particularly in the Swan Hunter half of the project.[4] Shortly after Largs Bay was handed over to the RFA, Swan Hunter was stripped from the project, with BAE taking full responsibility for the class on 13 June 2006.[1][4] Lyme Bay was towed to BAE's shipyard in Govan for completion, departing on 16 July and arriving on the River Clyde on 22 July.[5][6] The ship was the last to be built on the River Tyne, and the only warship built by Swan Hunter but not completed.[5] BAE completed construction, and Lyme Bay was dedicated on 26 November 2007; the last ship of the class to enter RFA service.[1]

Operational history[edit]

Lyme Bay was deployed for three years on a Maritime Security Patrol in the Persian Gulf, based in Bahrain, acting in a support role of coalition and allied forces. In June 2012, Lyme Bay sailed from Bahrain to return home to the UK undergo a planned refit and regeneration period.[citation needed] She was seen in the port of Falmouth, Cornwall during early July 2012 and in February 2013 was at Plymouth. On 25th April 2013, the vessel was located in the Irish Sea off of Northern Ireland.

In August 2013, she joined the COUGAR 13 task group.[7] On 16 October 2013 she joined Operation Atalanta, the EU’s counter-piracy force off Somalia; she will rejoin the COUGAR group in mid-November.[8]

External links[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Saunders (ed.), Jane's Fighting Ships 2008-2009, p. 876
  2. ^ Kemp, New UK landing ship takes to the water
  3. ^ a b c Scott, The Royal Navy's Future Fleet
  4. ^ a b Brown, UK strips Swan Hunter of LSD(A) role
  5. ^ a b Armstrong, Last Ship Leaves the Tyne
  6. ^ BBC News, Unfinished ship arrives on Clyde
  7. ^ http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/News-and-Events/Latest-News/2013/August/09/130809-Cougar-13
  8. ^ "UK Ship RFA Lyme Bay Joins EU Counter Piracy Naval Force off Somalia". EUNAVFOR Somalia. 21 October 2013. 

Still in refit at Falmouth, Cornwall.

References[edit]

Books
  • Saunders, Stephen (ed.) (2008). Jane's Fighting Ships 2008-2009. Jane's Fighting Ships (111th ed.). Surrey: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 978-0-7106-2845-9. OCLC 225431774. 
Journal articles
  • Brown, Nick (13 July 2006). "UK strips Swan Hunter of LSD(A) role". Jane's Defence Industry (Jane's Information Group). 
  • Kemp, Ian (25 July 2003). "New UK landing ship takes to the water". Jane's Defence Weekly (Jane's Information Group). 
  • Scott, Richard (4 September 2003). "The Royal Navy's Future Fleet - Taking Shape". Jane's Defence Weekly (Jane's Information Group). 
News articles