An archive image of HMS Bulwark and landing craft.
The Defence Secretary has revealed he is protecting HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion from the threat of being sold or scrapped.
Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Gavin Williamson put to bed any speculation about the future of amphibious assault ships being withdrawn from service early.
He said: "To deliver what seems impossible, the Royal Marines need to be able to bring the fight from the sea to the land.
"As such, I am happy to announce today that I am protecting their vital landing platforms HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark."
Throughout their time in service, the ships have conducted a range of vital missions including securing Iraqi oil platforms, tackling terror and piracy in the Horn of Africa, playing a key role in migrant search and rescue operations and evacuating British citizens from war zones in Libya and the Ivory Coast.
HMS Albion is currently supporting peace and security in the Asia-Pacific, promoting UK interests across the world as the nation’s flagship.
Video: Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson MP speaks to Forces News after the Conservative Party Conference.
Gavin Williamson also announced at the Conference that one of Britain’s new cutting-edge Type 26 frigates will be called HMS Birmingham, becoming the fourth Royal Navy ship to bear that name. He said:
"Three of our nation’s ships have proudly borne the name Birmingham. Those ships won five battle honours. Today, in honour of this great city, we will be naming one of our eight Type 26 global combat ships HMS Birmingham."
HMS Birmingham is the fourth of the UK’s eventual eight Type 26 frigates to be named, with HMS Glasgow, HMS Belfast and HMS Cardiff the first three to be built.
All the ships are being constructed by BAE Systems on the Clyde in Scotland.
HMS Birmingham will be part of the second batch of ships to be ordered in the early 2020's, and the frigates will begin to enter service in the new decade.