The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Bay-class auxiliary landing ship dock, RFA Mounts Bay (L3008) arrived in Nassau, Bahamas for a short overnight fuelling stop recently.
During the visit, Captain David Buck OBE, Commanding Officer RFA Mounts Bay, was delighted to host Commander Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Commodore Tellis A Bethel, on board the ship.
Cdre Bethel is a graduate of the Britannia Royal Naval College and the United States Naval War College in Providence, Rhode Island.
Prior to an exchange of plaques and a presentation of his book, “The Lucayan Story”, Cdre Bethel enjoyed the opportunity to recall his associations with the Royal Navy, exchange experiences of command at sea and learn more of the capabilities of the Landing Ship Dock Auxiliary, particularly Mounts Bay’s recent support role to UK Overseas Territories following the devastation wrought by hurricanes Irma and Marie.
Captain Buck commented, “Mounts Bay has an enduring commitment in the region, primarily to provide strategic reassurance to UK Overseas Territories, whilst maintaining short readiness to conduct a full range of contingent tasking including Humanitarian Aid & Disaster Relief.”
RFA Mounts Bay (L3008)
RFA Mounts Bay is a Bay-class auxiliary landing ship dock (LSD(A)) of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA). She is named after Mount’s Bay in Cornwall.
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 and dedicated on 13 July 2006. It is the first Bay-class ship to enter service with the RFA.
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. 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. Each is 176.6 m long, with a beam of 26.4 m, and a draught of 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 , and the Bay-class ships can achieve a range of 8,000 nautical miles at 15 knots.
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.
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. 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.
The standard ship’s company consists of 60 officers and sailors.