RFA Lyme Bay (L3007)

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RFA Lyme Bay berthed at Portland, August 2007
United Kingdom
Name: RFA Lyme Bay
Namesake: Lyme Bay, Dorset
Ordered: 18 December 2000
Builder: Swan Hunter / BAE Systems
Laid down: 22 November 2002
Launched: 3 September 2005
In service: 26 November 2007
Status: in active service
General characteristics
Class and 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)
  • 2 × Wärtsilä 8L26 generators, 6,000 hp (4.5 MW)
  • 2 × Wärtsilä 12V26 generators, 9,000 hp (6.7 MW)
  • 2 × azimuth thrusters
  • 1 × 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
  • 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
Aircraft carried: None carried
Aviation facilities: Flight deck can operate helicopters up to Chinook size

RFA Lyme Bay 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. 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]

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 rejoined the COUGAR group in mid-November.[8]

Lyme Bay has deployed for the COUGAR 14 Response Force Task Group exercise.[9]

Between June and December 2015 the ship was on Hurricane watch in the Caribbean and had a Mexeflote and Combat Support Boat (CSB) with their crews from 17 Port & Maritime Regt RLC on board to provide the amphibious capability that had not been seen on APT (North) before. A team or Royal Marines and Royal Engineers were attached on board with a wide range of skill sets along with a Lynx HMA.8 from 234 Flight of 815 Naval Air Squadron for the duration.[10] In September she spent six days off Dominica providing humanitarian and disaster relief following Tropical Storm Erika.[11] This saw the Mexeflote transferring 10 vehicles ashore and 100 tonnes of water and aid, alongside were the HADR team to help the local population. Lyme Bay's assistance was also required by The Bahamas just a few weeks later after devastating effects from Hurricane Joaquin. Lyme Bay finished Atlantic Patrol Tasking (North) in December 2015.[12]

Lyme Bay assisted with the search and recovery of EgyptAir Flight 804 which crashed over the Mediterranean Sea on 19 May 2016.[13]

After 17 Port and Maritime Regt proving the true capabilities of the Mexeflote and LSD(A) Bay Class ships working in unison in 2015 during APT (North), both the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and 17 Port and Maritime Regt have secured a 3-year deployment with both LSD(A) and Mexeflote paired respectively.

An extensive refit in Falmouth is planned for later in 2017.[14]


  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. ^ Armstrong, Last Ship Leaves the Tyne
  6. ^ BBC News, Unfinished ship arrives on Clyde
  7. ^ "Royal Navy sails for annual 'Cougar' deployment". Royal Navy. 9 August 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  8. ^ "UK Ship RFA Lyme Bay Joins EU Counter Piracy Naval Force off Somalia". EUNAVFOR Somalia. 21 October 2013.
  9. ^ "Royal Navy Task Force departs on Cougar 14". Royal Navy. 1 September 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  10. ^ "Royal Navy decoy flares light up Caribbean". Royal Navy. 27 July 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  11. ^ "RFA Lyme Bay receives praise from High Commissioner for Dominica Aid". Ministry of Defence. 8 September 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  12. ^ "RFA Lyme Bay home after successful Atlantic patrol". Royal Navy. 21 December 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  13. ^ "EgyptAir Jet Disappears Over Mediterranean Sea". Sky News. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  14. ^ Barnicoat, David (9 March 2017). "A&P tender for part of a ten-year, £900 million MoD contract to repair and refit ships". Falmouth Packet. Retrieved 5 April 2017.


  • 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

External links[edit]