HMS Bulwark (L15)
|Ordered:||18 July 1996|
|Builder:||BAE Systems Marine|
|Laid down:||27 January 2000 Barrow-in-Furness, England|
|Launched:||15 November 2001|
|Sponsored by:||Lady Walker|
|Commissioned:||10 December 2004|
|Homeport:||HMNB Devonport, Plymouth|
|Motto:||"Under thy wings I will trust"|
|Status:||in active service, as of 2010|
|Class and type:||Albion class landing platform dock|
|Beam:||25.6 m waterline, 28.9 m maximum|
|Propulsion:||2 × Wärtsilä 6.25 MW and 2 × Wärtsilä 1.56 MW diesel generators operating at 6.6 kV driving two AC motors through twin shafts and a bowthruster unit|
|Speed:||18 knots (33 km/h)|
|Range:||7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km)|
|Armament:||2 × Goalkeeper CIWS
4 × 7.62 mm machine guns
2 × 20 mm cannon
HMS Bulwark is an Albion-class landing platform dock, the UK's newest class of amphibious assault warship and built in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England, UK. For numerous reasons, delays caused the delivery date to be put back, with the ship entering service in December 2004. Coupled with HMS Albion and HMS Ocean, as well as other amphibious ships, it provides a much improved and potent amphibious capability for the Royal Navy.
The 64 metre flight deck is able to take two Sea King HC4 medium-lift helicopters and stow a third. The deck is also capable of supporting two CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, one down the side of the flight deck and one at the rear of the flight deck. Though the Albion design does not have a hangar, the ship does have sufficient equipment to support helicopter operations.
The ship also supports a permanently-embarked Marine landing craft unit, 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines.
But the ship is not entirely centred around aircraft operations, more around operating many smaller boats for sending large amounts of troops to shore as quickly as possible. The rear of the Bulwark opens and floods a compartment allowing smaller boats inside to be launched.
HMS Bulwark departed the UK in January 2006 for a six-month East of Suez maiden deployment. She conducted counter-terrorist and counter-piracy tasks in waters off the Horn of Africa. HMS Bulwark then headed for the northern Persian Gulf to become the flagship of Task Force 158, providing security for Iraqi oil platforms.
At the start of the summer of 2006 HMS Bulwark was near Spain. Due to the 2006 Israel-Lebanon crisis, on 15 July 2006 she was ordered to divert to Lebanon and to support operations evacuating British citizens from the conflict area. On 20 July, she evacuated approximately 1,300 people from Beirut in the biggest British evacuation. On completion of her extended deployment the ship returned to the United Kingdom. At the start of June 2007 HMS Bulwark was docked at Sunderland on the River Wear.
On 18 February 2009, Bulwark sailed from Devonport as flagship to Commander UK Amphibious Task Group, Commodore Peter Hudson, on the Taurus 09 deployment. She is joined on this deployment by Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH) HMS Ocean, Type 23 Frigates HMS Argyll and HMS Somerset and four ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.