Home » Aviation » Queen Decommissions Royal Navy Amphib HMS Ocean Ahead of Sale to Brazil


Queen Decommissions Royal Navy Amphib HMS Ocean Ahead of Sale to Brazil

Her Majesty The Queen on Tuesday in a decommissioning ceremeony HMS Ocean (L12). Royal Navy Photo

Queen Elizabeth II decommissioned one of the largest British warships, the former Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean (L12), during a ceremony Tuesday aboard the amphibious ship at the RN’s Devonport Naval Base.

The 21,000-ton “Mighty O,” which entered service with the Royal Navy in 1998, is being replaced as the fleet’s flagship by the nation’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), according to a statement released by the British government.

Decommissioning is not the end for Ocean. Last month, the British government announced it had inked a deal with Brazil, which agreed to pay about $118 million to buy the Royal Navy amphibious warship. Aside from the U.S. Navy, Brazil is the only other navy in the Americas to operate an aircraft carrier. After a refit period, teh ship is set to reume operations with the Brazillian Navy in June.

Royal Navy ship HMS Ocean (L12)

During 20 years of service, Ocean had been involved in multiple naval operations and exercises. Ocean was joined operations off the coast of Sierra Leone in 2000, Iraq in 2003, and Libya in 2011, according to the Royal Navy. Ocean has also provided humanitarian aid, to Honduras and Nicaragua in 1999 following Hurricane Mitch. This past September, Ocean again provided humanitarian aid in the Caribbean, to the British Virgin Islands in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Her Majesty The Queen on Tuesday in a decommissioning ceremeony HMS Ocean (L12). Royal Navy Photo

Queen Elizabeth, named after the Tudor-era queen, is a conventionally powered ship and does not have catapults or arresting gear. Queen Elizabeth is designed to carry an air wing including Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters. The carrier will conduct its first deployment with a U.S. Marine Corps squadron of F-35Bs.

The $4.1-billion HMS Queen Elizabeth commissioned on Dec. 7 and is the first of two 65,000-ton conventionally powered carriers planned for the RN. The second, Prince of Wales (R09), is set to commission in 2020.

  • muzzleloader

    There are a lot of sad faces at the British Ministry of Defense over the sale of Ocean. She had several years of service left in her, and the RN has forfeited amphibious capability for 5 years, when HMS Prince of Wales is due to be in service. The Admirality fought vehemently to keep Ocean in commission until then, but with the budget and manning shortfalls the RN has, it was not to be.

    • no there are not. They planned it.

  • Desplanes

    I love how our allies feel the freedom to slice their military budgets when that spending is politically or budgetarily inconvenient.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      Well, they know that Uncle Sam unquestioningly has their back, so they can & do slash their defence budgets to ribbons.

  • Hugh

    The RN will have 2 aircraft carriers and how many screening vessels……..?

    • Desplanes

      Exactly. Fleet is incredibly imbalanced. One Type 45 is always in the Falklands, another in the yard, leaving 4 available for escort duty for two 65,000 t ships.

      • muzzleloader

        Actually no type 45 has been in the Falklands in quite a while.
        An offshore patrol vessel, the HMS Clyde is permanently assigned there now. The 45’s are too expensive and too few for such a distant and remote patrol.

        • El Kabong

          And ALL the frigates and destroyers were in port for Xmas.

          Sad state of affairs.

      • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

        No, on any given day there are just 2 T-45’s operating.

        One is patroling the island while the other is on some mission further afield…. usually a NATO exerise of some kind.
        One is permanently laid up pierside and the other three in various states of maintenance.

        Of the Type 23’s four are usually operational with the rest either laid up or in maintenance.

        The Falklands guard vessel is a patrol boat.

    • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

      Yeah, and how many aircraft?

      • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

        15 Fixed wing and around a dozen rotary so far.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      17

    • muzzleloader

      According to sources I have read, there are no plans to deploy the 2 carriers at the same time. I have also read that QE will serve in the traditional CV role, while PoW will be used more or less as an LPH, carrying a rotary component along with a marine anphibeous force.
      I would not be surprised to hear in the future, of a Burke, or a Tico being tasked to be part of screening force.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    “One is not amused”

    • SDW

      Neither are We.

  • teh-the

  • Ed L

    Well I guess that the way the UK military is now a days. All those social programs and hardly a spit in a bucket for defense

    • CaptainParker

      And let us not forget that mandated-by-law amount every year that must be spent on foreign aid. It is more than ironic that some of that foreign aid goes to India with all of its pretensions to becoming a great power. Sorry example of political elites with a guilt trip over having had a colonial empire in the previous century.

  • John B. Morgen

    Again, thinning the White Ensign, and before anyone knows it the Royal Navy will be reduced down to a name only. A navy without warships, and sunk by the British government.

    • muzzleloader

      And to think that during the Falklands war in 1982 the RN managed to send 25 surface combatants, 2 carriers, and 6 SSN’s almost halfway around the globe to reclaim their islands.
      What the Argentines and the Russians never did, the British national health system did.

      • Ctrot

        Careful, I made an earlier comment about the British NHS and it was removed by the USNI censors.

        • Degradable

          Many of us over here agree with your comment about NHS. Today, whilst getting tyres replaced, I had quite a discussion with a number of people, all of whom would rather see increased budget for our Navy.
          But we see this through the centuries, (Recall even Nelson was laid of). Yet, traditionally we have done enough to ensure a strong core of skill and ability to regenerate. Currently (On the whole) that capability still exists. The question is though for how much longer.
          Have to say though. The Russian Navy is in a terrible state. Ships that are incomplete on build. Fitted for but not with, years in gestation. The RN is not the only fleet suffering. Even if we could get the equipment though, it appears younger people are not being attracted to the forces as they once were !!

          • muzzleloader

            The Russian surface fleet has definitely fallen on hard times, though their SSN’s would be worrisome if push ever came to shove. As far as the numbers of young attracted to the forces, the same holds true here in the US.

          • SDW

            It doesn’t take a navy to intimidate neighbors with contiguous land borders. Just think of the late 40s for a prime example.

  • afspilot1025

    Can anyone explain what takes the place of catapults and arresting gears in a carrier other than brakes? I thought all carriers had catapults and arresting gears.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      Nothing takes the place of arresting gear.

      The aircraft reduces speed and points its engine nozzle at an angle, so it will sort of hover into land.
      Landing speed will be around 55 knots compared to the 150 knots on an American carrier.

      From 55 knots it will brake to a halt within around 300 feet or so.

    • PolicyWonk

      The British are buying F-35B variants – which are STOVL. The QE carrier class have ski-jumps that enable their F-35B’s to take off with more fuel and ordnance than they can with our LHA’s or LHD’s, while still being able to land without arresting gear (just like our LHA’s r LHD’s).

    • El Kabong

      VTOL.

      Look up the RN Harrier carriers. The Spanish, Italians and Indians use/used similar kit.

  • Jim Mann

    Sad for the UK, and what does Brazil plan on doing with her? Can’t fly A1s (the Brazilian A4) or even future CV Super Gripens, which just leaves Helos. Can’t magine Brazil being able to afford F35Bs.

    • Secundius

      Brazil ISN’T getting any “Super Gripen’s”! Saab/Sweden stopped any Sales to Brazil after Brazil announced that they were selling “Embraer to Boeing…

      • SDW

        All I’ve heard is speculation. If the Swedish Government has “stopped any [s]ales” it hasn’t been made public. I imagine that Saab and Sweden (is there a difference?) are, like everyone else, waiting to see what gets proposed to shareholders, including golden ones.

        • Secundius

          Ink Dried on Contract Sale for Embraer to Boeing on 18 January 2018. With Boeing getting 51%…

          • SDW

            one of the more recent headlines from Bloomberg–

            Boeing, Airbus Gird for New Duel in Niche Market for Small Jets
            By Julie Johnsson, Mary Schlangenstein, and Frederic Tomesco
            ‎March‎ ‎29‎, ‎2018‎ ‎02‎:‎00‎ ‎PDT Updated on ‎March‎ ‎29‎, ‎2018‎ ‎09‎:‎44‎ ‎PDT

            “Boeing is deep into talks with Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil-based Embraer to form a commercial-jet venture.”

            “John Slattery, the chief of Embraer’s commercial-aircraft business, declined to discuss the Boeing talks or the sales advantages that might come from jointly marketing Embraer’s regional and narrow-body jets to long-time customers of the U.S. planemaker’s 737.”

            Believe it when you see it. It could mean the spin-off of Embraer’s defense business or just a joint venture much like Airbus’ plans on Bombardier. Nobody knows today what will come out.

          • Secundius

            Embraer wanted to Sell the KC-390 to the US Military, but Prime Contractor qualifications requires a Minimum of 7-years as a Sponsored Sub-Contractor to a Prime Contractor. Before become Independent “Prime”. So “Embraer” decided on a Gamble by selling 51% of Embraer to Boeing to circumvent Prime Contractor restriction…

          • SDW

            We’ll see. Finding a company that will front for Embraer is not a worry so long as the USAF wants their product. LockMart didn’t have much success when paired with Aermacchi/Alenia–oops, “Leonardo” (who picks these names?)–and the G.222/C-27. Unless the USAF really, truly (a reach, I know) wants a cargo aircraft smaller than a C-130 NOTHING GOOD WILL HAPPEN TO THE KC-390 IN THE US! Once you start hearing about the USAF relegating something to the Guard that is not in the active inventory you know the only contract that will matter will be one with a hit man. Don’t think the Army will gladly fill in–they know better.

            [I saw up close and personal much of what went on with the C-27A&J. I was nauseated and NOT by the C27J, which was and is a fine complement to the A400 and the C-130 even more. The earlier C-27A had a bad reputation because, apparently, many people were amazed that aircraft cannot go on forever without buying the spare parts to maintain them in that infernal sandbox called Afghanistan. It was a lot like keeping people on bread and water until they starve and then saying they died from anorexia. There was some shameful conduct on both sides of the Atlantic but the internecine battles between the US Army and Air Force were mind boggling for their sheer stupidity. I could tell you stories that would curl your hair but what’s the point?]

          • Secundius

            Wingspan is Smaller, but not the Length! Payload is ~59.500-pounds, compared to the C-130’s 45,000-pounds and over 150mph faster. While the KC-130F(C) was able to take-off from an Aircraft Carrier, the KC-130T CAN’T, because of being ~50,000-pounds heavier. It’ll find a Niche…

    • Ctrot

      They can probably find a deal on used Harriers.

  • johnbull

    It is sad what has happened to the once mighty Royal Navy. Not enough money, nor national will to actually maintain a viable naval force.

    • El Kabong

      Truly a tragedy.

      The UK armed forces have been gutted.

    • CaptainParker

      The civil service mandarins have been working for this goal for half a century. They clearly are succeeding in turning the UK into an island Switzerland.

  • Ed L

    Give the Marine Corps 4 dozen Ships and they will be 3 times stronger than the British Military

    • Secundius

      I guess you’ll just have to settle, in being Eight Times Stronger that the Royal Navy…

  • Notaslave

    That old bandicoot dracula is still alive?