On the contrary, Defence Minister Earl Howe spoke about the decommissioning during the House of Lords SDSR debate on Monday. The government position is as follows:
“HMS Ocean will not decommission early and will continue in service as planned well into this Parliament. As part of the SDSR process, the decision was taken not to extend her and to decommission her in 2018, in line with her 20 year life span.”
The Ministry of Defence confirmed the move would happen in 2018, when HMS Ocean “reached the end of her life”, this has long been planned.
HMS Ocean is the Royal Navy’s helicopter carrier and amphibious assault ship designed to deliver troops to the centre of the action by helicopter or by landing craft. Her flight deck can operate six helicopters at once with space in the hangar to hold, transport and maintain many more aircraft.
The build of the vessel was to commercial standards, reducing costs significantly and leading to a construction spend of £154 million (£280 million in 2015), this is why the vessel has a relatively short life span.