According to local media in Brazil, the Ministry of Defence have offered HMS Ocean for sale to the South American country.

The article, found here, claims that Brazilian officials believe that the price seemed “reasonable” and the Brazilian Navy are examining the prospect “with cautious optimism”.

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 someone we spoke to currently on-board the vessel, there are rumours that this is one of a number of possibilities:

“People have been talking about what will happen to the ship after 2018, there were rumours that the vessel might be sold to another navy but there’s been no mention of what navy that might be.”

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’.

We have contacted the Ministry of Defence and await comment.


  1. I’m sure the Brazilians will want to kick the metaphorical tyres first and check that the vessel isnt all bare metal beneath the waterline, SMH.

  2. So they’ll buy old Harriers (from who?) and run them half empty or add a ramp (if possible) or run it empty, wait for F35b and redo the deck?

    Seems like be best for them to buy a whole package from Italy or Spain when time comes (prob better cond./less used).

    Unless they will just take a carrier of any kind just to say they have one.

      • Nope, need some soft of major refit & new/used aircraft purchase (with all the associated costs) or a complete change of direction just to say “we got a carrier”.

  3. Brazils armed forces act like spoiled boys. They buy expensive toys which are good only to play, but are absolutely inefective when it comes to defend the vast country and its 200 miles territorial waters…

  4. This is just crazy. No way should the MOD be scrapping HMS Ocean early, after they have just spent £65 million on a refit to keep her in service until 2023.
    This is opening up another huge capability gap. It is tactical madness to risk sending close inshore a £3 billion strike carrier of the QE class roles to do the LPHD tasks. Much better solution is keep HMS Ocean in service until 2023 or a replacement is built. Use an off the shelf design like HMAS Canberra.
    The RN is probably having to give up Ocean due to manpower issues and the fact they do not have enough sailors to operate Ocean and the 2 QE carriers. So instead of uplifting manpower and funding a replacement we are going to lose that capability. Not good or sensible.

  5. I have long been under the impression that QNLZ and PWLS would replace Lusty and Ocean, so I don’t know where you got any other idea from. It’s also worth noting that Ocean was built to commercial instead of military shipbuilding standards and so has only a 20 year design life in a military role. This means she’s due for the scrapyard soon and so Brazil may be foolish to buy her.

  6. The fact that she was going has been pretty much a done deal for a while although I agree that using the QEC carriers as replacements is less than ideal. Even something like a Mistral class replacement, or even better two to replace Argus and Ocean, would have been far better and something bigger like Juan Carlos class would have been even better but we’re probably in fantasy land hoping for that.

    We are where we are now so news of a possible sale to Brazil, assuming it’s at a half decent price, is now upside on a bad situation. On the bright side, given she was definitely leaving the RN, at least some additional value might come out of the £65m refit because it presumably bumps up the resale price a bit. If she were to get scrapped then that £65m investment gets 100% written off, except for the small amount of value extracted during the brief in-service time with the RN afterwards.

  7. I was involved in the sale of Hermes (in a very minor role) to the Indian Navy in 1985/6. Got she was in a shocking state then, rust everywhere.
    But somehow the Indian Navy kept her going until 2017.
    If Ocean can be sold then so be it, i am sure the Brazilian Navy will get another 20 years out of her. My guess she will be sold for peanuts maybe with an upgrade in a UK yard as part of the sale

    • That’s a depressing, but from your background what sounds like a quite educated guess. Presumably someone somewhere is at least doing the calculation that a peanut sale with upgrade thrown in would still yield a net contribution to the UK coffers that is greater than selling her for scrap?

  8. I find this news interesting considering that the US Marine Corps has recently published that it wants more smaller ‘Lighning Carriers’ to carry 20 F35B’s due to the Mach 4 Carrier Killers that Russia and China are working on. It seems to me more smaller, smaller crewed ‘thru-deck cruisers’ could come back into fashion. There was an article mentioning that this could make QE Class carriers obsolete as Russia will have these missiles ready withing a year.

  9. Better a ship has a life and service after the RN than a trip to Turkey’s scrapyards. And really what role does ‘Ocean’ play after QEs come into service which have been built as more than just carriers of fixed wing aircraft.

    We do need more landing craft ships to be the more ‘Littoral’ inshore bridge though.

    • The RFA Mount class can do the inshore bridge role. Plenty of point defence on board with a limited Helo capacity.

  10. The QE class are not intended to replace Ocean, they will not be used Under Any Circumstances in that role. The cost of these two ships has been overwhelming with a severe shortage of manpower. The RN cannot crew POW without losing Ocean and with it the capability she provides in putting Marines ashore. POW should be mothballed or sold and LPH retained with QE

  11. Alternatively they could loose a few top brass, cut back payments for the private education of children, sack some toy soldiers and their horses in London and whilst there at it scrap the red arrows. That would show we are focusing on war fighting capability rather than window dressing. Of course it is much better to scrap useful ships and perhaps loose a commando unit. Welcome to the world of the MOD where defence comes last!!

  12. Or to afford the navy we as a nation need, how about increasing royal navy manpower back upto 35,000 personnel. Order 8 type 26 frigates for ASW, 4-6 more type 26 rolled for anti air anti surface strike to supplement type 45 destroyers. Order more than 8 type 31s for patrols in lower threat areas. Order 2 new lphd to replace hms ocean and the invincible class ships, who between them provided a flexible ASW and helicopter assault carrier. Order a further batch of astute class subs.
    we can afford as a nation to do this just need the defence budget to be the defence budget. Stop spending £13 billion on foreign aid!
    sorry to disagree with others on these posts but the QE carriers are not a replacement for hms ocean, they are entirely different beasts. They are strike carriers costing £3billion each, they should not be risked in the lphd role. Much wiser to replace hms ocean with a £350-400 million purpose built lphd that could be risk close inshore.

  13. I served on the ocean and it had a lot of problems especially with the gearbox, when I was drafted on board it could only go at a speed of 12 knots and deployments were affected by these mechanical problems in short the ship was a load of rubbish and a sitting duck and I’m not sorry to see it go.


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