H.M.S. Fearless, the first Assault landing Ship of the Royal Navy, was launched in December 1963 and commissioned at the Belfast shipyard of Harland and Wolff on the 25th November 1965. She and her sister ship Intrepid are the largest British naval vessels to be designed and built since the Second World War. The Assault Landing Ships have been introduced to replace the earlier Amphibious Warfare Squadron and are equipped to transport and land Army units and to act as a Headquarters Ship during an amphibious operation. The ship's complement is approximately 500, including Royal Marine crews for the landing craft and an Amphibious Beach Unit, a Troop of the Royal Corps of Signals and royal Engineers. In addition she can accommodate some 400 troops with their tanks, vehicles and heavy equipment and for short periods 300 further soldiers can be carried. H.M.S. Fearless lands her army units by landing craft, four 80 ton landing craft mechanised which can each carry two Chieftain tanks being carried in the large rear dock and four smaller landing craft vehicles and Personnel at davits. The dock can be quickly flooded and the stern doors opened to enable the L.C.M.'s to swim in or out and trails have also been held in which hovercraft have operated into the dock. Above the dock is a large helicopter flight deck fully equipped for day and night flying and although Fearless does not carry her own helicopters, these being embarked from Royal Navy, Army or Royal Air Force sources, she has an Air Department headed by an aviation officer with a team of ratings for flight deck duties, minor repairs and servicing. For her role of Headquarters Ship, Fearless has an Assault operations Room for brigade headquarters staff, a ship's operations room and a world wide communications systems. Her two self-contained steam turbines each drive a propeller shaft and give a speed of 20 knots and a long range. The present Fearless is the seventh ship to bear the name, the most recent being a destroyer of World War Two.
The overall length is 520 feet and beam 80 feet; displacement is 12,000 tons. Defensive armament consists of four "Seacat" surface-to-air guided missile systems and two 40mm Bofors guns.