Royal Navy helicopter carrier HMS Ocean has taken command of Task Force 50 in the Gulf, the first time the UK led a US task force in the Middle East.

Commodore Andrew Burns, the Royal Navy’s Commander Amphibious Task Group, has taken charge of the US task force while currently embarked on HMS Ocean.

A change-of-command ceremony took place on board the USS Dwight D Eisenhower, during which Commodore Burns assumed the role of Commander Task Force 50 from US Navy Rear Admiral James Malloy.

Commodore Andrew Burns said:

“Together we have had an enduring Royal Navy and US Navy presence in this region that has contributed to stability, order on the high seas and freedom of navigation, and ensured the free flow of commerce, so vital to the prosperity of our nations,” said Commodore Burns.

Today marks the start of another chapter in this partnership as the Royal Navy takes on the privilege of leading a US task force in the Middle East for the first time.”

Rear Admiral Malloy said:

“I cannot think of a more capable officer and friend to continue this mission out here than Commodore Burns. Security and stability cannot be maintained by one nation alone. Working together with our UK and other coalition counterparts, I am confident in the success of our shared interest for security, stability and prosperity in this 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.

It is understood she has been chosen due to her command and control capabilities, rather than aviation capabilities as the role will largely be co-ordination of operations and the fleet itself.

Last year, French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle took command of US Naval Forces Central Command’s Task Force 50.

The commander of the Task Force will be leading coalition naval strike operations for Operation Inherent Resolve, the purpose of which is “to fight and ultimately destroy” Islamic State.


  1. Bet Commodore Burns hasnt told the US that his ship will be scrapped in 2018 leaving no carriers in the UK until 2020 And even then we have no plans to build another Amphibious carrier And why Uk wants Prince of Wales a 70,600 ton Super carrier to fill this role. Not sure who is going to carry the landing craft to land all these Marines (Not sure how much longer Bulwark is around for) That would take every ship and Submarine that we had to protect two carriers if we had to do another Falklands could have bought two Mistral class of the French they where looking for a new home they already set up for a 69-bed hospital The Mistral-class ships, dubbed the ‘Swiss Army knife’ for their versatility, host up to 16 helicopters, up to 70 armored vehicles and 450 Marines. Oh well UK Government know best

    • “Bet Commodore Burns hasnt told the US that his ship will be scrapped in 2018” that has to be the most facile comment I have ever read.

      HMS Ocean is not being scrapped early, it was intended to have a 20 year service life.
      In the not two distant future we will have two large multi-role carriers which will be a step change in British military capability.
      The big mistake the French have made is not building a sister ship for its one carrier.
      Albion class and Bay class ships all have amphibious and hospital facilities.

    • Not the point – true Ocean isn’t built to military standards but it is being scrapped early and not long after 64m was spent (now wasted) on a refit. Here’s the kicker – there is NO replacement, hence another loss in capability…. just like we are getting rid of RFA Diligence – which was also not long out of refit and guess what???….. there is NO replacement…… the MOD is beginning to sound like a broken record! – worse than ‘fitted for but not with’ for the Type 45s!! That was #1 in the charts last SDSR!

      • Ocean’s valves and pipe work are a collection of bin ends it’s a mess let her go gracefully and try to stop playing fantasy fleets with sailors we don’t have. We could consider and LHD or two in about 10 years time barring an actual war

        • No doubt Steve Ocean is in a bit of a state – I agree. She was cheaply made at 150m pounds back in the day. What about Diligence? Now the RN has no at-sea repair ship. She wasn’t due to be retired until 2020. What concerns me is the MOD’s increasing willingness to allow capability gaps across the armed forces which will bite us in the arse and at which point it’s too bloody late!

          • I keep wondering whether the hopefully upcoming MARS SSS design could at least partially fill the Ocean role. The Tide class tankers are pretty big at 37,000 tonnes and 200m long and at £452m for 4 were pretty cheap. If SSS is built on similar scale, maybe even on the same hull, that would be a lot of internal space that as a supply ship would be mostly huge voids to take supplies. That’s a bit of a blank canvass that surely some clever industrial designers could work with, e.g. basic 6 helicopter hangar but ability if not carrying stores to roll back barrier to adjacent section to expand hangar size (a bit like T26 can combine hangar with mission bay I believe for extra helicopter capacity). Similar could be done with hospital facilities, core space allocated for diagnostic rooms, operating theatres and ICU and some beds with the ability to extend to adjacent stores compartment for installation of additional palletised beds. Some stores compartments designed to double as vehicle decks, etc, etc, etc.

            I don’t see why this should make the structure and build massively more expensive (except maybe if a dock was put at the stern), most of it is more about getting some very clever designers to consider layouts, fixing points, access routes, palletised and containerised roll-on/roll-off modules for things like medical and troop accommodation, etc.

            We would then need more than three built otherwise there wouldn’t be enough to re-task any but adding hulls numbers to an existing programme should help keep costs down and, given how much time these sort of assets spend on humanitarian aid, I really do think that the aid budget should fund the incremental design cost of things like hospital and helicopter expandability and the cost of at least a couple of extra vessels.

          • Diligence was part of the STUFT fleet for the Falklands, a couple of offshore oil platform support vessels and some grey paint and you are good to go, all of the specialist kit will be in storage

          • Answered you against Julian below



            Take a look at the MV Craigside USN special pls support ship conversion

  2. The UK’s penchant to scrap capability before a replacement is available, is’nt privy to the RN. The joint Harrier Force disbandment was crase in the extreme, and the man responsible is no more. HMS Ocean is an asset, which should not be scrapped but placed in reserve for at least five years by which time, the Elizabeth class carriers can be brought up up speed. With Illustrious gone any other option would be unwise.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here