HMS Bulwark is the second ship of the Royal Navy's Albion-class assault ships. She is one of the United Kingdom's two newest amphibious transport docks designed to put Royal Marines ashore by air and by sea.
Although launched in 2001, delays caused the delivery date to be put back, and the ship entered service in December 2004. Together with Albion, Ocean, and other amphibious ships, she provides a larger and more effective amphibious capability than the previous Fearless-class vessels. Between October 2011 and June 2015 she was the fleet flagship of the Royal Navy.[3][4] The ship is designed to send large numbers of troops and vehicles to shore as quickly as possible. Bulwark supports a permanently embarked Royal Marines landing craft unit, 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines.[5] The rear of Bulwark opens and floods a compartment, allowing the boats inside to be launched. The 64 metre flight deck is able to take two Sea King HC4 or Merlin medium-lift helicopters and stow a third. The deck can also support two Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, one down the side of the flight deck and one at the rear of the flight deck. Although the Albion design does not have a hangar, the ship has sufficient equipment to support helicopter operations.
Bulwark was launched at the BAE Systems shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, on 15 November 2001. She is, to date, the most recent surface vessel to have been constructed at Barrow with the yard currently specialising in submarine construction.

from John Currin (JC - Ex RNZN) - Google+ Public Posts