After a maintenance period alongside the docks, RFA Argus has sailed on military ops.

The ship – well known in Falmouth for its visits to the docks – was going to be withdrawn from service in 2024 but the MoD has confirmed that she will remain in service until after 2030 to operate as an interim littoral strike platform to support the UK’s Littoral Response Group (LRG) requirement.

On July 11, in a written Ministry of Defence (MoD) response to a parliamentary question, Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin announced: “It has been decided that extending in service and upgrading RFA Argus, and operating her alongside our Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary) in their current configuration, represents the optimum solution to support a forward-deployed LRG.”

“This will provide a sustainable air manoeuvre, surface manoeuvre, and command-and-control capability, with the ability to manage availability as platforms undergo maintenance.”

The Argus and Bay Class ships are all assigned to the A&P Group’s Falmouth yard under a multi million pound contract that ends in 2028.

Argus, built in 1981 as the container ship Contender Bezant, was a STUFT (Ship Taken Up From Trade) ship requisitioned by the MoD for the Falklands War.

Following a lengthy conversion at Harland and Wolff, Belfast she joined the RFA fleet becoming an aviation training vessel. The ship has participated in operations in the First Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Second Gulf War and supporting the military response to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.

During her 40 year career the Argus has become a familiar sight in Falmouth for routine calls and drydockings, with A&P Falmouth responsible for her maintenance.