Between the 7th and 11th of November 2022, the Royal Navy Albion Class Landing Platform Dock HMS Albion visited Valletta’s iconic Grand Harbour. Horizon was part of a media tour of the ship early morning on the 11th of November the day the ship departed in the afternoon, it was a very busy day for the Ship’s crew who also participated in the Remembrance Day Celebrations organised by “Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna”, the Malta Heritage Trust alongside the British High Commissioner Katherine Ward.
Albion’s deployment in the Mediterranean was part of Operation Achillean and HMS Albion was responsible for the amphibious task group, made of HMS Albion, RFA Argus, HMS Defender, and RFA Mounts Bay. The task group was at sea for three months operating in Europe in a demonstration of NATO unity.
The task group worked in Spain, Libya, Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt, Montenegro, Croatia, Malta, Tunisia, Greece, Algeria, and Italy while operating in the central and eastern Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Adriatic.
The Royal Marines’ punch was delivered ashore by HMS Albion both by air and by sea, using boats from the landing dock in the ship’s belly and assault helicopters from the two-spot flight deck.
With their vehicles and battle equipment, LPDs have a maximum troop capacity of 256, which can be increased to 405 personnel.
Back to the visit onboard, we were accompanied by the Ship’s Officer on duty who took us around the large vessel. As soon as we entered the vehicle deck, we witnessed the limited space available since the deck was completely full of different kinds of vehicles and equipment, we also witnessed the Royal Marines detachment gathering for the morning Musker.
We then walked up to the flight deck which can accommodate two helicopters up to the size of a Chinook, but sadly nothing was on deck when the ship called to Malta. The deck had also some more vehicles namely Land rover Wolf’s and also Viking armoured vehicles, two L118 105mm light guns were also spotted on deck.
After visiting the flight deck it was time to have a look at the large Bridge of the ship which has practically a 360-degree view of the ship’s surroundings and view the images from the bridge.
We then moved down to the dock, where four Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk10 were ready for action, with one of them having onboard the Hippo BRV which is a Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle used by the British Forces. For beach landings the ship has also two Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP) Mk5 one on each side of the outside of the ship. The vessel also houses Pacific 22 Mk2 RHIBs.
The Albion Class Assault ships have a single aim, to deliver the punch of the Royal Marines ashore by air and by sea. Albion was launched in March 2001 by The Princess Royal and was constructed by BAE Systems Marine at Barrow-in-Furness. Bulwark, her sister ship, was also launched from Barrow in November 2001.
She is the ninth ship to bear the name Albion (after Albion, an ancient name of Great Britain), dating back to the 74-gun warship of 1763, and the last carried by an aircraft carrier decommissioned in 1973 after 19 years of service. She is based in Plymouth and is affiliated with the city of Chester.
The ship defends itself with the following armaments:
- 2 × 20mm Phalanx CIWS (from 2017)
- 2 × Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
- 4 × General purpose machine guns,
- 4 x HMG,
- 4 x Minigun