RFA Mounts Bay (L3008)
|Name:||RFA Mounts Bay|
|Ordered:||19 November 2001|
|Builder:||BAE Systems, Govan, Glasgow|
|Laid down:||25 August 2002|
|Launched:||9 April 2004|
|In service:||13 July 2006|
|Status:||in active service, as of 2016[update]|
|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)|
|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
|1 LCU or 2 LCVP in well deck; Mexeflote powered rafts|
|Troops:||356 standard, 700 overload|
|Aircraft carried:||None carried|
|Aviation facilities:||Flight deck can operate helicopters up to Chinook size|
Design and construction
The Bay class was designed as a replacement for the Round Table-class logistics ships operated by the RFA. 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. The main difference with the British ships is the lack of a helicopter hangar. 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. Four ships were ordered; two from Swan Hunter, and two from BAE Systems Naval Ships.
The Bay-class ships have a full load displacement of 16,160 tonnes (15,900 long tons). 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). 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). These are used to drive two steerable propulson pods, with a bow thruster supplementing. 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). Mounts Bay is normally unarmed, but is fitted to receive two 30 mm DS30B cannons, two Mk.44 miniguns, six 7.62mm L7 GPMGs, and a Phalanx CIWS. The standard ship's company consists of 60 officers and sailors.
As a sealift ship, Mounts Bay is capable of carrying up to 24 Challenger 2 tanks or 150 light trucks in 1,150 linear metres of space. The cargo capacity is equivalent of 200 tons of ammunition, or 24 Twenty-foot equivalent unit containers. During normal conditions, a Bay-class ship can carry 356 soldiers, but this can be almost doubled to 700 in overload conditions. 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. The well dock can carry one LCU Mark 10 or two LCVPs, and two Mexeflotes can be suspended from the ship's flanks. Two 30-ton cranes are fitted between the superstructure and the flight deck.
Mounts Bay and sister ship Cardigan Bay were ordered from BAE on 19 November 2001. Mounts Bay was laid down at BAE's shipyard at Govan, Scotland on 25 August 2002. She was launched on 9 April 2004, although it took seveal attempts to christen the ship, and she received damage after becoming entangled in chains and 25-ton weights during the actual launching. Footage from the launch ceremony was used in the opening sequence of the 2005 drama film On a Clear Day. Mounts Bay was dedicated on 13 July 2006, the first Bay-class ship to enter service with the RFA.
Mounts Bay took part in the 2006 Vela Deployment. The deployment lasted from 11 September until 22 November 2006. In total approximately 3,000 British personnel and eleven ships of the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary were involved. This deployment saw for the first time, an Albion-class vessel, HMS Albion taking part in amphibious operations with a Bay class vessel. The deployment was divided into two phases, the first in local waters and the second in waters off the coast of Sierra Leone. For this deployment she was fitted with the Bowman communications system.
Mounts Bay demonstrated her lifting capability by transporting in excess of 130 vehicles, for the passage from the UK via Lisbon to Sierra Leone. After completing the Vela Deployment, she returned to the UK to load vehicles and equipment for Exercise Clockwork in northern Norway. She reached Sørreisa on 9 December. Sørreisa is within the Arctic Circle and is the furthest north any Bay-class vessel has been so far. After discharging her cargo, Mounts Bay returned to the UK, successfully completing operations from the Equator to the Arctic Circle in the last three months of 2006.
She attended the Dover Maritime Careers Festival on 23–24 March 2007, mooring at the Dover Western Docks. She was also in Fowey on 22 August 2008 for the regatta week. Mounts Bay was involved in Exercise Joint Warrior 2008, along with HMS Bulwark, which acted as the Fleets Amphibious Flagship. HMS Ark Royal and HMS Illustrious also took part in the two week exercise off Scotland.
In April 2011, she was deployed as part of the Response Force Task Group's COUGAR'11 deployment.
In early 2012, she joined the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious and fleet flagship HMS Bulwark to partake in Exercise ‘Joint Warrior’ and other training missions with warships from the United States, Norway and the Netherlands.
- Saunders (ed.), Jane's Fighting Ships 2008-2009, p. 876
- Kemp, New UK landing ship takes to the water
- Scott, The Royal Navy's Future Fleet
- Royal Navy website
- RFA Mounts Bay (L3008) at toysoutofthepram.com
- Marine Accident Investigation Branch official report
- 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
- 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).
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