RFA Argus (A135) is an aviation training ship for the Royal Navy with a secondary role of primary casualty receiving ship in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. RFA Argus was formerly the container ship MV Contender Bezant. She was requisitioned for service in the Falklands War and purchased outright in 1984. After a four year conversion at Harland and Wolff, she entered RFA service in 1988. RFA Argus replaced RFA Engadine in the aviation training role. Since then RFA Argus has proven to be a versatile vessel, serving in many wars. In recent conflicts, the ship's role as a primary casualty receiving ship has been more prominent than aviation training.
...RFA Argus has proven to be a versatile vessel ..
RFA Argus was deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1991 for the first Gulf War, and also saw service in the Adriatic in 1993 and 1999 supporting British operations in Bosnia and over Kosovo respectively. During this period, RFA Argus operated in part as an LPH. Her unsuitability for this role was a major factor in the commissioning of HMS Ocean. In 2003 RFA Argus was deployed again to the Gulf as part of a 33 ship fleet to support a British amphibious assault of the Al Faw peninsula. RFA Argus operated in its primary casualty receiving ship role.
There are rumours of replacements for RFA Argus being funded by the end of the decade but little solid has come of it. Much of the RFA fleet will need to be replaced over the next five years but little concrete has yet been done to order ships.
RFA Argus ship details.
Length: 175.1 metres
Breadth: 30.5 metres
Draught: 8.1 metres
Displacement: 28,480 tonnes
Speed: 18 knots
Propulsion: Two Pielstick 18PC2-5V producing 11,700 BHP through a reduction gearbox to twin screws.
Ships complement: 79 RFA personnel, 38 Royal Navy personnel, accommodation for 137 personnel.