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HMS Ocean which has been decommissioned from the Royal Navy prior to being sold to Brazil.

HMS Ocean was the Royal Navy’s Landing Platform Helicopter and Fleet Flagship. A helicopter carrier and amphibious assault ship, Ocean was designed to deliver troops to the centre of the action by helicopter or by landing craft.

Aviation capabilities include six helicopter operating spots on her flight deck with space in the hangar to hold, transport and maintain many more aircraft. Ocean’s complement Ship’s Company of 400 personnel included 9 Assault Squadron Royal Marines (9 ASRM), who operated the four Mk5 Landing Craft Vehicle and Personnel (LCVP), providing the projection of fighting capability ashore.

The 21,500 tonne amphibious assault ship was launched in 1995, has a top speed of 16 knots and a range in excess 8,000 miles on a single tank of fuel.

Announcing the sale of HMS Ocean, Clive Walker, head of the Defence Equipment Sales Authority which managed the deal, said:

“We have a proven track record of supplying surplus defence equipment on a government-to-government basis. The successful sale of HMS Ocean to the Brazilian navy will provide a financial return to the UK which will now be reinvested in defence.”

Brazil itself had recently confirmed the purchase of British helicopter carrier HMS Ocean. We were informed by a source in the Brazilian defence community that the vessel has been sold for £84 million. Roberto Lopes has informed us that the purchase of HMS Ocean by the Brazilian Navy was confirmed within the last week by Brazilian Defence Minister Raul Jungmann. We understand the first group of four Brazilian officers will head to the UK within the next few weeks.

We broke the news last March that Brazil was interested in helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, this has now been confirmed by the Brazilian government. Then in April, we reported that the Brazilian Navy had reportedly sent a proposal to pay for helicopter carrier HMS Ocean in instalments.

HMS Ocean is the UK’s only helicopter carrier and the fleet flagship of the Royal Navy. She is designed to support amphibious landing operations and to support the staff of Commander UK Amphibious Force and Commander UK Landing Force.

According to Brazilian journalist Roberto Lopes in an e-mail to us, the ship’s cost to the Brazilian Navy is fixed at £84.3 million pounds (312 million Brazilian Reais). Commander of the Brazilian Navy, Admiral Eduardo Leal Ferreira, claimed that the price of Ocean seemed “convenient”. Then late last year, IHS Janes reported that Brazil’s MoD authorised efforts to purchase Ocean once she leaves UK service.

We understand from Roberto Lopes via e-mail, the source who let us know that Brazil has already submitted a payment plan for the vessel, that the officers involved in the ship acquisition process are optimistic and are already discussing details beyond the technical and financial assessments that have been made, such as the name of the ship.

“Minas Gerais is the strongest designation at the time. Rio de Janeiro was ‘saved’ for the future aircraft carrier. However, nothing definite. Only with the execution of the acquisition is that defined.”

 

The helicopter carrier was constructed in the mid-1990s and commissioned in September 1998. In November 2015, the MoD confirmed that HMS Ocean is to be decommissioned in 2018 with no like-for-like replacement.

This comes as the Brazilian Navy have decided to abandon the refit of the  aircraft carrier Sao Paulo and decommission the vessel after a series of technical issues and accidents. Rectification costs are understood to be a major factor in this decision.

The Sao Paulo is a Clemenceau class aircraft carrier commissioned in 1963 by the French Navy as Foch and was transferred in 2000 to Brazil, where she became the new flagship of the Brazilian Navy. The earlier intention of the navy was that the vessel would continue in active service until 2039, at which time the vessel would be nearly 80 years old. IHS Janes reported that during its career with the Brazilian Navy, São Paulo has suffered from ‘serviceability issues and has never managed to operate for more than three months at a time without the need for repairs and maintenance’. It is no surprise therefore that the navy have now announced, as reported by DefesaNet, that the ship will be ‘demobilised and subsequently decommissioned’.

67 COMMENTS

  1. Silly
    Should have waited a while for this Russia thing to die down
    We dont have much left as it is (navy wise)

    • Ocean was built to commercial standards and the RN has had the best out of her. She was only ever intended to have a 20 year service life.
      It would have better to keep her until PoW was fully commissioned.
      I doubt Russia was expecting an amphibious invasion from Ocean

      • cara potências como os eua frança russia china e o reino unido jamais entrarão em confronto pois eles sabem que se isso acontecer será o fim da humanidade

        • face powers like the united kingdom russia china and france will never come into conflict because they know that if this happens it will be the end of humanity

          correcting

  2. There is a so far unexplained difference between the £84.3 million and the much lower “net ” price. Were there any other bidders?Why didn’t they just pay the scrap price?Fishy.

  3. Thinking POW is a replacement for Ocean is like replacing a spade with a fork, it’s not like for like.
    Ocean is smaller, cheaper, therefore an acceptable risk to operate close to a landing shore. POW is a major fleet carrier, way too valuable to place close to shore, too big & costly, & she & the QE are tag-team for maintaining the fleet air defence strike carrier role. In the Falklands war, Invincable was never risked in Falkland sound or San Carlos water as the risk to fleet air defence was unnacceptable. What we need is for the RN to replace Ocean with a similar vessel. The world is too dangerous to permit any more ludicrous capability gaps. We need sufficient strength in our capabilities to deter aggresion; something we’ve recklessly thrown away in the recent past.
    I’d doubt the Brazillians will be converting ocean to operate fixed wing aircraft.

    • I agree Frank but I think this (QE carrier acting as Ocean) was a decision made by the politicians…. “what you what a replacement for Ocean when we just gave you two shinny new carriers?? Use one of those instead and stop being so greedy you ungrateful MOD!!”.

      Sarcastic to be sure but not far from the truth either…..

      • andy Reeves – well no more missed than HMS Fearless was from March 2002 to June 2003 when HMS Albion came into service. Difference is HMS Queen Elizabeth is already qualified for helicopter operations and the RMs have already proved Ocean’s helicopter SOPs work on QE. She could do Ocean’s job right now.

        So your point was exactly?

    • Well done “andy reeves” for the most inane post ever. The crew of Ocean aren’t any more expendable than those of PoW or QE. How and where the two new carriers are deployed and in what role and carrying what aircraft will be down to military professionals . They are the people who take the risks on our behalf.
      It certainly won’t be down to internet armchair warriors gobbing off on the internet.
      Thank God.

      • I’m afraid the military professionals do the best job they can with the tools the politicians give them.

        Regardless of how it was worded, Andy’s principle that a carrier is only being mooted for the same job as Ocean – because now there is no Ocean, is entirely reasonable. It’s not just a carrier, but it drags with it at least two escorts (probably three) and an Astute so it’s also the knock on effects on the fleet.

        The forced use of a carrier and escorts for the role of LHP is a gargantuan misuse of funds, resources & risk.

        Whilst O might have been past her sell by date, it’s the lack of a direct replacement that I am most upset by.

        • I see the RN drawing a clear distinction between peacetime humanitarian work and combat assault. If we keep the LPDs to land heavy equipment QE can replace Ocean as the LHD. Merlin and Chinook range and F-35 / Apache support is sufficient to keep her out of harms way.
          I see peacetime humanitarian work going to the SSS ships if they have a well dock and reasonable number of helo spots.

        • Ian – Sorry but we HAVE replaced what Ocean provided for airborne support of amphibious operations. Its called an aircraft carrier and as that will provide possibly 5 times the number of helicopters that Ocean provided and many more times the number of Royal Marines transported by air I really do not understand where it is a “gargantuan misuse of funds, resources & risk” at all.

          Many people have this compartmentalised idea that an aircraft carrier just carries fixed wing aircraft. Well that WAS the RN and IS currently the US Navy concept but we are in a different concept now forced on us by both financial constraints and indeed supported by technology. We have a massive ship with many capabilities. Just one of them is to deliver airborne support by helicopter for amphibious operations. But that was the ONLY capability Ocean had and the QEs will serve us better especially as they can also deliver F-35 air support at the same time.

          Ocean served us well, was past her best and was redundant. I wish her God Speed and safe seas in Brazilian service.

          • Hi Chris,
            The difference between us, is I think they should absolutely be compartmentalised. I do not think one of our two carriers should be used in this way for the reasons stated.

  4. As a side thought it must have been rather poignant for Her Majesty to witness the de-commissioning today as she is the ship’s Lady Sponsor and launched her. She has seen her go from lumps of steel to ending her RN career.

    Good to see how well she interacted with Ocean’s sailors as she inspected their parade. Many of whom will now go on to PoW …

  5. Following on Type 22 and the Amazonas class it is nice to see another example of the fine RN relationship with the Brazilian Navy. Let’s hope Ocean is a loss leader for Type 26 or Type 31.

  6. I wish her well and safe passage to Brazil. I hope she can give them the service that we the UK, experienced.

  7. I like to think positive and I wonder what will be made of HMS Ocean in comparison to POW with F35 and V22 (or equavelent) to uplift scores of marines at plane speeds in 10 or 15 years time. I think they will think what I think. Thank you for your service but time moves on.

  8. Wasn’t there news a few years back that Ocean had turned out not to be suitable for stationing troops aboard for any length of time?

    I have read so many times that we don’t want to put a carrier close to shore because of the risks, but i would counter that in saying we wouldn’t put a ship full of troops in that level of threat either, so either Ocean would never be put at risk and so is useless or we can put one of the carriers close.

    The carriers might not be a complete replacement, but they can do most of the job and in some areas (number of helicopters carried, number of landing spots) they exceed it. Ok some they cant’ do at all but overall not a bad replacement.

    • So, remember that picture of Ocean steaming to our OST’s after the hurricane?

      Now that single ship becomes a carrier, two, maybe three escorts and an Astute. Either that or you make her the easiest gift to an enemy in the history of warfare.

      It’s the most ridiculous misuse of operational men, women and machines in UK naval history.

      • Fair point; if we are at war or in a state of high tension. Actually I think wiser heads will prevail and that MARS SSS will deliver ships with a well dock and lots of helo spots.

      • ian – So let me get this right? We send a carrier loaded with huge amounts of supplies, vehicles, humanitarian relief and air capability to our OSTs in distress and someone somewhere will be after sinking it in peacetime?

        I admire your vivid imagination but how much risk was Ocean or Mounts Bay at last year? And if it DID need a Type 45 and Type 23 alongside that is just more helo capability and manpower available to aid those in need. Any Astute will no doubt be ‘somewhere’ …….

    • My feeling is the navy is effectively forcing the decision on the Osprey. Without them, the carriers can not operate at full potential.

      When the money will be there to enable to decision is another question and potentially it never will.

  9. When the LPDs are a few years closer to being paid off, they should be replaced with 2 combined LPH/LPD ships of sufficient size to act as command ships, carry about 12 troop helicopters, and landing vessels or LCACs. Say 25-30,000 tons. They could send a battalion or commando by air for initial assault, then move in closer for the landing craft with supplies, artillery and light tanks. This is all wishful thinking of course. Politicians are fine with denying armed forces what they need, while the number one recipient of UK foreign aid , Pakistan, has as many nuclear weapons, more combat jets and a much larger army than the UK.

    • Not yet it hasn’t. But we were doing ‘Buddy Up’ tanking off UK carriers with Buccaneer S1s decades ago so converting a few of the first Test & Development F-35s to just a tanker role wouldn’t be difficult given they have basic software, a usable belly space as well as wing pylons. Only need two per carrier and we have 4 T & D F-35s …..

  10. Would it be worth industry offering a modern – lower crew requirement- to the RN AND allies such are Canada and elsewhere on again commercial standards and local requirements ? There has to be a market for something like this after all France and Spain have found markets

  11. Couldn’t we just buy a new build Dokdo from South Korea?

    Its not expensive and I’m sure would fit most of the role that we are losing.

  12. Dokdo or Izumo class adapted for UK news would both be fine.
    Here is a plan offerQE class toJapan built in UK and we will purchase Izumo from them.
    Simple netgain UK plc build more of the superb QE class whilst we get a replacement lph/ ASW escort carrier.
    I am hopefully this capability gap will not be tolerated for long, we have already lost too many ships and niche roles and need some news on a new HMS Ocean asap.
    £600 million should cover the cost, small change for such significant capability compared to value for money we see from our £14 billion a year foreign aid budget.
    Stop sending money to Pakistan, they neither ask for it or need it. They are a nuclear powered country for god’s sake, ditto India.
    Just cut the damn budget by 50% and pump the £7 billion year into the defence budget, social care and NHS in equal measure.

    • Dokdo got built if the numbers are correct for a fraction of the Izumo class, we already have a relationship with the country from the Tide class tankers.

      It seems a sensible option. Chances of getting QE into Japan will be slim, uncle sam would step in and force them to take something from them I’m sure, plus would really wind China up!!

  13. I bet they take the phalanxes off Ocean and put those sets on QE. They probably planned to do this all along hence why QE has had to wait for its self defence armaments to be fitted. It was planned to be like this for years. Ocean bows out before the QE class is fully operational in terms of carrier strike. Just madness.
    These kinds of risky tolerated capabilities gap will bite us in the arse sooner or later.
    Then what?
    Do we have the right as a nation to then prosecute the ministers responsible for a military defeat if that happens? Blair, Brown, Osbourne, Cameron and May/ Hammond for the state of our armed forces? They are currently utterly failing in their number 1 responsibility, the defence of the realm

  14. Op Ellamy is a good example of how a carrier could be used in real conditions, in fact having a carrier of the size and capability of the QEC’s would have been a real asset had one been available. Ocean did a job but she is limited. The new carriers can operate AsaCS as well as extra wildcats, Apaches and of a flight or even a squadron of F35b’s in the force protection role, which obviously be way beyond Ocean. As well as the RM’s and their support helicopters. All away from land based airfields if necessary.
    Of course a ship will be deployed with escorts as appropriate.
    Op Ellamy.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ellamy

    • Apposite post. If I recall David Cameron decided to make both CVF operational after Elamy and the ‘humiliation’ of seeing the Rafales flyng off CDG. I think he promoted Ocean to an aircraft carrier in one of his interviews.

    • If buying foreign means we get a replacement at circa 400 million and its possible then great. The alternative buy from BAE at 1 billion plus wont even be considered, in that instance why not!?

    • Buying foreign is acceptable if the alternative is to not buy at all. Plus, British jobs get protection due to maintenance and upgrades etc.

      • Exactly Steve, plus a number of British jobs would be supported in fitting out of weapons, various systems and also sea trials, plus as you say maintenance.

        Could probably buy 2 or more Dokdo from Korea for what BAE would want for a single build custom design!

        • Steve and James
          Your both on about jobs
          If the cuts that are rumoured go ahead whats happining to all the jobs a Devonport +the people who supply them from the surrounding area
          All of those ships +the marines are based in that area
          And the jobs there are permanant ones not the fitting out of weapons systems and what have you if you buy from abroad

          • Don’t forget 45 Commando are at Arbroath and I keep hearing rumours of consolidation of all 3 Commando’s in the Plymouth area, so probably more people incoming for the economy of the area even if the RM are reduced.

            I still cannot see cuts to the RM or the LPD’s myself, too much political cost.
            I also believe the T26 will be based at Devonport now that the T23’s are being realigned depending if they are tailed or not.

    • Those ex Russian Mistrals sold to Egypt would probably been a bargain if the RN had been able to pick them up. Like the Albion’s, 1 could have been active and 1 in reserve. French built or not they would have added tremendous capability to the fleet…

  15. A reminder of how close we are to the finish line despite all the hiccoughs.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=k1zSDuMIyLY
    Looks like SRVL will be a norm? Another first for UK carrier inventiveness.
    The superb Tides and Astutes are here. Type 23 escort has Sea Ceptor and the world leading ASW.
    Navalised Apache, Crows Nest, Type 45 propulsion under control. Love it when a plan comes together.

    • Excellent.

      Really really really need cheaper assets in greater numbers now for the other varied stuff the RN undertakes. T31, RB2, and more RFA please.

      • Yes. I do believe there is ‘method in the madness’ regarding R2 and Type 31. Call it a balanced fleet or whatever but I do think the RN will have the right profile of assets going forwards. If and when the defence budget increases the extra funds can be directed to maximum effect as threats change. Although it sounds great to have a fleet of 13 Type 26 you don’t really want to have a model which commits you to spending money in minimum chunks of £1.25billion ( IIRC), for which you could get 3 or 4 well armed Type 31. With the PLAN growing like topsy we need fleet numbers to patrol our turf – from Chile to the Gulf to East Africa.

        • really depends on what “well armed” means in practice.

          One of the design options I saw included phalanx as it’s air defence weapon. The t31 needs as a min some sea captors and a reasonable sonar. Ideally also surface to surface capability but that seems unlikely as there is no signs of a plan past hypoon.

  16. Morning all
    Recapitalisation of the fleet is continuing, quite rapidly now (Just a year too late for the year of the Navy 😂).
    Whilst all of this is going on and legacy platforms are being divested and sold we shouldn’t forget the 2 others important parts of the RN – manpower and weapons.
    It is not point the RN generating new ships if it does not have the trained manpower and weapons to fight.
    Whilst all the focus is currently on the CVF capability it would be remiss to forget the rest of the RN and RM, some of whom are quite resentful that the carrier queens are getting all the headlines whilst they continue to generate actual effect for HMG.
    It would also be remiss to forget that most of the weapon systems deployed by the RN are either old or obsolete, this is just poor obsolescence management on the part of MoD, DE&S and the RN itself. The list is growing:
    Harpoon (keep in service by newspapers)
    Sea Skua (removed no replacement in service)
    Stingray
    What the list doesn’t include is the stock of weapons held, do we think there is enough? Who saw the last replenishment deal to uplift stocks? Weapons go end of life, have these been replaced?
    You will see on these pages TLAM upgrades, modifications and re-orders, what of the rest of the weapon systems?

      • don’t forget the US also had no plan for replacing harpoon and their budget is pretty much bottomless in comparison. Anti ship, anti sub warfare was considered a thing of the past and not worth investing it, and then China’s rapid naval expansion happened.

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