Fearless class landing platform dock

Fearless class landing platform dock

The two "Fearless" class ships, HMS|Fearless|L10|6 and HMS|Intrepid|L11|6, were the first purpose built amphibious warfare vessels in the Royal Navy. Designed as Landing Platform Docks, they were designed to transport and land troops by sea either using LCUs or helicopters. As constructed, the ships have an internal dock that is accessed via the stern - while in port, vehicles can simply drive up the stern ramp and into the internal vehicle decks. At sea, the ships could partially sink themselves at the stern, flooding the internal dock and allowing landing craft to come right up to the edge of the vehicle deck.

Each ship carried four LCUs in the stern dock, with four more smaller landing craft on davits on the superstructure. They provided accommodation for up to 400 troops (though if no vehicles were carried, up to 700 could be accommodated using the vehicle decks and corridors).

"Intrepid" was put into extended reserve in 1991, effectively removing her from active service. While in this state, she was used as a source of spares to maintain "Fearless". "Intrepid" was finally withdrawn from service in August 1999. "Fearless" was kept in service, and continued to be deployed in concert with HMS|Ocean|L12|6 until the end of 2002, when she too was withdrawn from service, ready for the "Albion" class to enter the fleet. The Feareless class were the last steam-powered surface vessels in Royal Navy service (nuclear submarines use a steam turbine-electric drive).

The successful deployments of the two ships, with the flexibility their configuration provided, meant that they have now been replaced by two new LPD ships of the HMS|Albion|L14|2 class. These LPD have been developed and commissioned despite the development of the HMS|Ocean|L12|2 Helicopter Carrier which itself has considerable Assault landing capability demonstrating the importance of the options that a dock provides.

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