Fleet Flagship HMS Ocean has deployed to take part in a huge multinational NATO exercise in the Baltic Sea.

BALTOPS is an annual exercise which tests the 16 allied and partner maritime nations taking part. The helicopter carrier will be taking part in one of the largest exercises in northern Europe, which aims to assure nations of NATO’s commitment to the security and stability of the region.

The 21,000 tonne vessel is an amphibious assault ship and landing platform helicopter. She is designed to support amphibious landing operations and to support the staff of Commander UK Amphibious Force and Commander UK Landing Force.

Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon said the move “sends a strong message to our enemies that we are ready to respond to any threat, and defend our allies”.

The Navy is also deploying three mine sweepers with around 130 personnel for NATO operations in the Baltic Sea, North Atlantic, North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

HMS Ocean became the Royal Navy Fleet Flagship in June 2015.

 

NATO and allied vessels underway during 'BALTOPS 2015' in the Baltic Sea
NATO and allied vessels underway during ‘BALTOPS 2015’ in the Baltic Sea

BALTOPS has run for more than 40 years and includes anti-air, anti-surface, anti-submarine and mine countermeasures warfare as well as amphibious landings.

 

10 COMMENTS

  1. Good stuff,

    but we shouldn’t be trying to make an “enemy” out of Russia. We need to think of her more in terms of competitor with a different perspective.

    Russia, like the Uk, like the US etc. wants it sphere of influence. It wants a buffer zone of safety, as do we, and she wants to be taken seriously and respected: as do we. She is not an enemy. She wants what we want and is happy to use military means to secure it: as are we (see the above article).

    Yes we need to be strong, yes we need to show determination but no we shouldn’t marginalise Russia. Its good for no one and is deliberately provocative.

    • Not really on the quiet, it has been well published that HMS Prince of Wales will take over the role of HMS Ocean, and that the QE will get retrofitted at some point.

      As much as it would be useful to keep Ocean, along with the carriers, to provide a dedicated helicopter carrier and a platform to operate closer to shore, but with limited sailors we need to priorities.

      Realistically we won’t have enough f35b’s for a long while to keep the carriers with 20 odd each, so there will be plenty of room for helicopters on them.

      In addition Ocean was built fast (at least compared to the carriers), so should the world change and become more risky, we can order a replacement.

  2. No question that the PoW will be able to do the job of Ocean in peace time or low threat situations.

    The issue is putting an aircraft carrier close enough to shore to allow for it to act as an amphibious assault ship during war time.

    I guess if we can operate both carrier together, one can hang back and provide air coverage in a defensive role whilst the other gets closer to shore and provides the amphibious support role.

    However as it is highly unlikely that we would need to get involved in another amphibious warfare situation without support from other allies, I doubt its a huge problem. Not many nations have carriers, so we can provide the carrier coverage and them the amphibious assault ships. Although in the case of France, they have both covered.

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