HMS Albion has relinquished the role of Royal Navy flagship to her sistership as she returned to Devonport to begin a five-year period of ‘extended readiness.’ The move is another part of controversial cost-cutting measures set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review. Official figures show that the Landing Platform Dock has cost on average £25 million a year to operate over the past four years. The financial cost of keeping her in reserve for five years is estimated at £2.5 million, with maintenance work to keepher in good condition put at £300,000 per annum.
With no plans to bring her back early, the cost of reactivation has not been estimated and, all being well, the ship will return to the frontline, replacing HMS Bulwark, in late 2016. Bulwark will then be refitted and placed in reserve.