HMS Bulwark (L15)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other ships of the same name, see HMS Bulwark.
HMS Bulwark.jpg
HMS Bulwark
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Bulwark
Operator: Royal Navy
Ordered: 18 July 1996
Builder: BAE Systems Marine
Laid down: 27 January 2000 Barrow-in-Furness, England
Launched: 15 November 2001
Sponsored by: Lady Walker
Commissioned: 10 December 2004
Refit: 2010–2011
Homeport: HMNB Devonport, Plymouth
Motto: "Under thy wings I will trust"
Status: in active service, as of 2015
Badge: HMS Bulwark badge.gif
General characteristics
Class & type: Albion-class amphibious transport dock
Displacement: 19,560 tonnes (19,250 long tons; 21,560 short tons)
Length: 176 metres (577 ft)
Beam: 28.9 metres (95 ft)
Draught: 7.1 metres (23 ft)
  • 2 × Wärtsilä Vasa 16V 32E diesel generators
  • 2 × Wärtsilä Vasa 4R 32E diesel generators
  • 2 × electric motors
  • Bow thruster
Speed: 18 knots (21 mph; 33 km/h)
Range: 8,000 miles (7,000 nmi; 13,000 km)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
  • 4 × LCU MK10
  • 4 × LCVP MK5
Capacity: 67 vehicles
Troops: 405 Royal Marines (710 overload)[1][2]
Crew: 325
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • 2 × Type 1007/8 I-band radars
  • 1 × Type 996 E/F band radar
  • 1 × Type 997 E/F-band radar (from 2016)
Aviation facilities: Two landing spots for helicopters up to the size of a Chinook.
Migrant rescue duty in the Mediterranean Sea, August 2014
Escorted by FS Courbet & FGS Schleswig-Holstein during IMCMEX14 in the Persian Gulf

HMS Bulwark is the second ship of the Royal Navy's Albion-class assault ships. She is one of the United Kingdom's two newest amphibious transport docks designed to put Royal Marines ashore by air and by sea.

Although launched in 2001, delays caused the delivery date to be put back, and the ship entered service in December 2004. Together with Albion, Ocean, and other amphibious ships, she provides a larger and more effective amphibious capability than the previous Fearless-class vessels. Between October 2011 and June 2015 she was the fleet flagship of the Royal Navy.[3][4] The ship is designed to send large numbers of troops and vehicles to shore as quickly as possible. Bulwark supports a permanently embarked Royal Marines landing craft unit, 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines.[5] The rear of Bulwark opens and floods a compartment, allowing the boats inside to be launched. The 64 metre flight deck is able to take two Sea King HC4 or Merlin medium-lift helicopters and stow a third. The deck can also support two Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, one down the side of the flight deck and one at the rear of the flight deck. Although the Albion design does not have a hangar, the ship has sufficient equipment to support helicopter operations.

Bulwark was launched at the BAE Systems shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, on 15 November 2001. She is, to date, the most recent surface vessel to have been constructed at Barrow with the yard currently specialising in submarine construction.

Operational history[edit]

Bulwark departed the UK in January 2006 for a six-month East of Suez maiden deployment. She conducted counter-terrorist and counter-piracy tasks in waters off the Horn of Africa. Bulwark then headed for the northern Persian Gulf to become the flagship of Task Force 158, providing security for Iraqi oil platforms.

At the start of the summer of 2006 Bulwark was near Spain. Due to the 2006 Israel–Lebanon crisis, on 15 July 2006 she was ordered to divert to Lebanon and to support operations evacuating British citizens from the conflict area.[6] On 20 July, she evacuated approximately 1,300 people from Beirut in the biggest British evacuation.[7] On completion of her extended deployment the ship returned to the United Kingdom. At the start of June 2007 Bulwark was berthed at Sunderland on the River Wear.

In October 2008, Bulwark was at the Tail of the Bank in the Firth of Clyde together with Ark Royal and the French ship Tonnerre, taking part in Exercise Joint Warrior 2008.

On 18 February 2009, Bulwark sailed from Devonport as flagship to Commander UK Amphibious Task Group, Commodore Peter Hudson, on the Taurus 09 deployment. She was joined by Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH) Ocean, Type 23 frigates Argyll and Somerset and four ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.[8]

In Spring 2010, she entered a six-month refit at HMNB Devonport No. 8 dock.[9]

In March 2011, she rejoined the fleet and then took over as fleet flagship from her sister ship Albion in October 2011.[10][11] She made a five-day visit to London on 16 March 2011.[12]

Bulwark undertook Operational Sea Training at the end of June 2011 in preparation to take up the role of fleet flagship of the Royal Navy.[13] Bulwark is on standby as leading ship of the UK's recently formed Response Force Task Group. In October she participated in Exercise Joint Warrior in Loch Eriboll, the largest war games staged in the UK, involving the French Marines and other NATO forces.[14]

On 15 February 2012, Bulwark made an unscheduled stop in Kiel, Germany, after ice on the Elbe river prevented her from entering the city of Hamburg as originally planned. The vessel entered the Baltic Sea to prepare for Exercise 'Cold Response', a NATO winter war games exercise due to take place in northern Norway in March 2012.[15][16]

At the end of February 2012, Bulwark visited the Polish port of Gdynia, carrying out exercises with two Polish frigates, ORP Generał Kazimierz Pułaski and ORP Generał Tadeusz Kościuszko. She also hosted onboard over 4000 people from the city.[15]

She also took part in Exercise 'Joint Warrior' with several other British and foreign vessels including HMS Illustrious off the coast of Scotland.[17] She will be part of the COUGAR 13 task group, with the Commander UK Task Group and his staff embarked on board.[18] She was visited by the Commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces at NATO.[19]

Bulwark is due to be withdrawn from her current role and enter extended readiness in 2016 when she will switch roles with her sister ship Albion[20]

At the end of May 2014, Bulwark visited Greenwich in London. The public were able to visit the ship for tours conducted by the crew.

In 2014 Bulwark was deployed for the COUGAR 14 Response Force Task Group annual exercise and the International Mine Counter Measures Exercise (IMCMEX).[21][22]

Between April and July 2015 Bulwark was allocated to Operation Weald, the upgraded search and rescue operation off the Italian coast for migrants crossing from Libya. She was assisted by three Merlin HM.2 helicopters from 814 Naval Air Squadron.[23] Bulwark rescued over 2900 migrants from the sea during the operation.[24]

Bulwark will assist in security for the 2015 Commonwealth Heads of State Government meeting [25]

In the media[edit]

Bulwark is the featured ship in the second series of Warship originally shown on television channel Five in the UK. The season followed her during the Taurus 09 deployment.[26]

Commanding officers[edit]

  • 2004–2005: Captain Jeremy Stanford RN
  • 2005–2006: Captain Clive Johnstone RN
  • 2006–2008: Captain Jeremy Blunden RN
  • 2008–2009: Captain Wayne Keble RN
  • 2009–2010: Captain Gavin Pritchard RN
  • 2010–2012: Captain Alexander Burton RN
  • 2012–2013: Captain Andrew Burns RN
  • 2014–2015: Captain Dean Bassett RN
  • 2015 onwards: Captain Nick Cooke-Priest RN


  • County Durham
  • Royal Irish Regiment
  • Worshipful Company Of Coachmakers & Coach Harness Makers
  • Bulwark, Albion and Centaur Association
  • RAF Odiham
  • Giggleswick School CCF
  • Monkton Combe School CCF
  • Durham Trinity School (Special Needs) [27]
  • St. Aloysius College Scout Group, Malta
  • Trinity School CCF


  1. ^ Albion class
  2. ^ Albion Class
  3. ^ "HMS Bulwark becomes Royal Navy's new flagship" BBC News (19 October 2011)
  4. ^ "HMS Ocean to assume Fleet Flagship role". Royal Navy. 27 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "Royal Navy". Royal Navy. Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  6. ^ "UK warships heading for Lebanon". BBC News. 2006-07-15. 
  7. ^ "Mass rescue for Lebanon Britons". BBC News. 2006-07-20. 
  8. ^ [1] Archived February 13, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Bulwark's high and dry". 2010-05-18. Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  10. ^ "HMS Bulwark Rejoins Royal Navy’s Operational Fleet". Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  11. ^ "Bulwark takes her place in the Fleet again". 2011-03-08. Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  12. ^ "Naval Version Of The Swiss Army Knife To Put On Show For Capital". Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  13. ^ [2].[dead link]
  14. ^ "Bulwark takes over as UK flagship". Defence News. Ministry of Defence. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  15. ^ a b ‘Ice refugee’ HMS Bulwark pays unexpected visit to the home of the German Navy. 15 February 2012
  16. ^ Sailors and marines prepare to coldly go for Arctic war games. 16 February 2012
  17. ^ Images, Defence. (2012-05-02) HMS Bulwark | Flickr – Photo Sharing!. Flickr. Retrieved on 2012-05-26.
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Plymouth warship HMS Albion on 'standby' until 2016". BBC News. 15 October 2011. 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "HMS Bulwark home from Mediterranean search and rescue mission". Royal Navy. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  24. ^ Travis, Alan; Mason, Rowena (17 June 2015). "UK's Mediterranean migrant rescue ship will be withdrawn, Osborne confirms" (The Guardian). Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Warship >>". Five. 2009-09-05. 
  27. ^

External links[edit]