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Predeccessor to HMS Ocean OR alternative to Argus? LPH or Aviation Support Ship?

TinWing

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http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y168/rgc/ASSRNEE-87.jpg

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y168/rgc/ASSRNEE-87.jpg

To translate a comment from the original poster, ENRR, these drawings were "from the UK alternative to Argus."

Indeed, they do seem to depict a ship based on a commercial Ro-Ro design, perhaps even with machinery arrangements similar to RFA Argus, albeit with a carrier-type island rather than a forward superstructure. It is interesting that the painting show the "R" prefix of an aircraft carrier, not the "L" of an amphibious ship or the "A" that would be expected on an auxiliary vessel?

However, an edition of Jane's All the World's Warships from around 1990 has an identical profile listed as a "LPH ," apparently illustrating a competing design to the requirement that eventually lead to HMS Ocean. Jane's listed a displacement of 17,000 tons, a length of 190m and a beam of 34m.
 

JohnR

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IIRC this ship was the proposed conversion of Argus's sister ship Contender Argent to an LPH and would IMO have provided a more versatile vessel, however wether or no the vessel would have been as capable as the Ocean I do not know.
 

TinWing

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Re: Predeccessor to HMS Ocean OR alternative to Argus? LPH or Aviation Support S

JohnR said:
IIRC this ship was the proposed conversion of Argus's sister ship Contender Argent to an LPH and would IMO have provided a more versatile vessel, however wether or no the vessel would have been as capable as the Ocean I do not know.

That appears to be the correct answer:

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1987/1987%20-%201577.html
 

Triton

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Photograph of the 11,500 ton MV Contender Argent in commercial service as a RO-RO vehicle and container ship.The ship was built by Cantiere Navale in Breda, Italy.
 

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Triton

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Artist impression of British Aerospace Naval and Electronic Systems Division and naval architects Hart Fenton (a subsidiary of Sea Containers) design for an aviation support ship for the Royal Navy added as an attachment for archive purposes.

The proposal involved the conversion of the MV Contender Argent pictured in the previous Reply, a sister ship of MV Contender Bezant that was previously converted to the aviation training and casualty receiving ship RFA Argus (A135). The MV Contender Argent conversion could operate either 12 Westland Sea King helicopters or 12 BAe Sea Harrier aircraft. A full Commando Brigade of 800 men with their stores and vehicles could also be embarked.

Source: "BAe Proposes Aviation Ship" Flight International 29 August 1987

Information about RFA Argus (A135):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFA_Argus_%28A135%29

Photograph of MV Contender Bezant in commercial service as a RO-RO vehicle and container ship.
 

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TomS

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I have an article from International Defense Review (issue 8/1987, pg 1029-31) that provides some more details, including an overhead and sideview sketch. I don't have scanner, but I'll summarize.

As mentioned, this is indeed the proposed conversion of Contender Argent to serve as an aviation support ship (unfortunately abbreviated as ASS). The initial proposal (early 1985) was supposed to cost around 75 million pounds and had an armament of four LS30 (now DS30) 30mm guns with Type 994 surveillance radar, two Kelvin-Hughes navigational radars. Countermeasures were to consist of Sea Gnat chaff/flare launchers and the ubiquitous Type 182 towed torpedo decoy. By the end of 1985, when the formal Naval Staff Requirement was issued, two lightweight Seawolf launchers and a Type 911 tracker were added--that's the version seen in the pictures here. Cost would have been around 85 million pounds [I'm skeptical -- Seawolf alone would add at least 10 million, and fairly dramatic hull alterations were planned as well.]

The flight deck grew from 162m x30m in the original proposal to 170m by 34m in the final, with the goal of having six Sea King landing spots plus parking space for six more -- each sufficient for a single company lift of RM Commandos. The two elevators were changed from a tandem configuration ahead of the island to a staggered one. The final hangar was 1,300 m2, providing room for 12 Sea King or EH101 or a similar number of Harrier (the elevators were sized to accommodate Harrier GR.5). The deck was strengthened for Chinook, which would fit on the elevators and in the hangar, but only with rotors removed. Aviation fuel capacity was 1,000 tonnes. [No mention of air ordnance, other than a later mention that the magazines could accept standard weapons, and that modular equipment in the vehicle cargo spaces could convert the ship for an ASW role.]

There was a 1,500-m2, two-deck vehicle garage aft, with access to the hangar and from there either up to the flight deck [by elevator?] or down a side ramp to a mexeflote or pier. Four LCVPs were also carried on davits.

Crew accommodations were for 558, including ship' company, aircrew, and permanent Marine detachment. Some 803 RM commandos could be carried in accommodations to be installed in the crew recreation spaces as needed, plus 200 in hammocks. Medical facilities were similar to Invincible (operating room, eight-man ward, etc.)

Radar and combat system were apparently in flux -- originally it was to be CANE 200 or equivalent (very basic), but adding Seawolf meant something more robust was needed, like CACS 4.

Signatures and survivability were obviously weak points. Widening the flight deck resulted in flared hull sides [a major reconstruction] and somewhat lower RCS. IR attenuators would be fitted in the exhaust stacks. Acoustic signature was harder to reduce, though they did propose remounting the engines to isolate them. The ship was divided into five autonomous fire-fighting zones, each with two firemain pumps. The ship could survive two compartments flooded (three forward of the engine room). About 1,000 tonnes of ballast would be needed high in the ship to slow its roll, which could be done either by adding concrete or using double plates for the flight deck. [Argus used concrete ballast poured into up-turned hatch covers.]

Overall specifications given are:

Length (overall)174m
Beam34m
Height (main mast)46m
Height (flight deck)23m
Draft (full load)7.5m
Draft (deep)8.2m
Displacement (full load)24,400t
Displacement (deep)28,000t
Propulsion2 x Pielstick 18PC2.5 medium speed diesels @ 11,700bhp each
Service Speed19kts
Endurance20,000nm @ 18kts
Complement558 crew, 803 troops
Aircraft Capacity12 Sea King or Sea Harrier
 

jacob

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I have an article from International Defense Review (issue 8/1987, pg 1029-31) that provides some more details, including an overhead and sideview sketch.

May be this one.... ;)



Regards.
 

TomS

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jacob said:
I have an article from International Defense Review (issue 8/1987, pg 1029-31) that provides some more details, including an overhead and sideview sketch.

May be this one.... ;)

Yes, but with English captions...
 

jacob

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Yes, but with English captions...

Yes. Some years ago (well.... 20 or so ;) ) IDR used to be published in other languages (at least french and spanish). Good, old times....

Regards
 

Kokoro

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little more information of interest but not really relevent to the proposed conversion. Contender Argent became MSC Selin.
http://www.containership-info.com/vessel_7822548.html says it has been broken up, but not when and where.

ASS may have been an appropriate way to describe the vessel and the donkey work it would be expected to do.
 

JFC Fuller

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The ASS morphed into the LPH that became Ocean. Invitations to tender for as many as two ASS vessels were issued in 1989 with the intention to order at least 1 vessel in 1990, obviously that never happened and the tenders expired. A new invitation to tender was issued in 1992 resulting in an order for HMS Ocean from VSEL in 1993. I suspect the real reason for the 1989/90 tenders being allowed to expire in 1990 was that the RN budget was under severe pressure- the 50 escort target was being kept but it was unclear that enough ships were being ordered to maintain that through the 90s and the Fort II class programme had become an expensive scandal. Once the escort force was cut by options for change some cash was probably freed up in the forward planning. It is also worthy of note that 2 commando carriers had been deleted from the long term programme in 1974.
 
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