Assault ship HMS Albion has transferred the duty of Royal Navy Fleet Flagship to aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

As Fleet Flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth will carry senior naval staff, receive foreign dignitaries, and act as a command and control centre for other Royal Navy vessels.

In the last few decades, the flagship has usually been an aircraft carrier but in 2010 the flagship became assault ship HMS Albion, assault ship HMS Bulwark in 2011, helicopter carrier HMS Ocean in June 2015 and then back to HMS Albion in 2018.

HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group will deploy to the Pacific later this year.

Prior to the deployment, it is understood that the carrier strike group will go through a work-up trial off the west Hebrides range sometime in early 2021.

It is understood that the deployment will see the Carrier Strike Group sail in the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf and end up in the Pacific before returning home.

The Ministry of Defence say that the Carrier Strike Group “offers Britain choice and flexibility on the global stage, reassuring our friends and allies and presents a powerful deterrent to would-be adversaries.”

British Carrier Strike Group heading to Pacific this year

You can read more about this deployment by visiting the article linked to here.

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Ian M.

So, what’s the precedent here? There’s a Flag officer mincing around and a ships Captain trying to drive it around with loads of planes on top. Who’s the boss?

Captain P Wash

Ultimately…. the Tax Payer !

Sceptical Richard

Captain is boss of the ship. Flag commands the task force.

Supportive Bloke


There is no confusion and it is very well understood who is in charge of what when. Has to be that way otherwise in the heat of battle confusion and conflict would reign.

Ian M.

Thanks all. As a “Pongo” I believe the term is, my only contact with the Navy was on a low flying sortie over SLTA in my 434 when we were flagged down by what appeared to be a submarine with a big gun. With hindsight maybe they weren’t the Senior Service, just the cavalry in a ditch!:-)



Too much to expect 1 person to captain a ship and command the wide task-group. Very different jobs that both require a lot of attention.


As no one ever heard of Rear Admiral Sandy Woodward? Or Admiral Nagumo?


On the LPDs it was not uncommon for Invites to go out to the WOs and CPOs for dinner in the Flag cabin with the Commodore and Brigadier (land forces) which ultimately turn out to be entertaining affairs.
The morning after Flag brief on one occasion was a sight to behold, baggy heads, people absent ( Brigadier) and its usually really really short in length for a change. Being a good and conscientious WO I attended in body if not mind!

Paul T

Two Films Spring to Mind – Sink The Bismark and The Bedford Incident, where the Ship’s Captain has lets Just Say’ Company’

Peter Crisp

I live near Bedford and the first thing that popped into my head was that the river isn’t very big for a naval battle.

Daniele Mandelli

COMCSG ultimately. I assume still a part of the Fleet Battle Staff.
QE is a fitting vessel for the senior afloat commander.
What sort of C3 set up does QE have? I assume superior to thst of Albion?


In most cases bar deployments etc the Battle Staff will be pretty much reduced to admin staff onboard and the Admiral will be at Northwood. When on Bulwark as the Amphib Task Group Flagship and latterly Fleet Flagship the battle staff are never seen unless you are deployed. As most signal and email traffic is to a Command Title address it doesn’t really matter where you are , you still get the email and signal traffic on your computer. As to command and control as asked bellow I am sure QE will be as well equipped as the LPDs for… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Thanks for answering that GB.


The only mincing around is from your rather silly question


It’ll be really interesting to see whether the Albion’s and Bay’s slot into the CSG after the inaugural deployment and if not what sort of separate amphibious group the RN can put together.

Daniele Mandelli

Alongside COMCSG there is also COMLSG. I’d hope that grouping will get similar emphasis, eventual replacement of the LPDs, and so on. Dare I say some dedicated escorts too, eventually.

I dont what has happened to the plan for forward deployed groups. I guess ISDR will reveal.

Peter Crisp

I know this may seem like planning for failure but could they be seen as emergency landing pads for the F35 in the event the carriers are out of action? They won’t fit many but could at least save a few rather than have them ditch.


I’m sure if it was a literal choice between ditching a F35 in the water or doing a vertical landing on Albion or Bulwark (or any ship with a big enough flight-deck for that matter) then it would be the latter – and there is a sort of precedent with Harriers using Fearless & Intrepid as lily-pad’s in Falkland Sound to refuel rather than heading all the way back to the carriers in 1982. I believe the heat from the downward thrust would damage any flight-deck not specially treated (and even QE & PoW have specific landing spots which will… Read more »


They could land somewhete else…

Daniele Mandelli

Given the costs of todays fats jets I’d hope so!


Anyone remember when a Sea Harrier with engine failure landed on a small Spanish freighter?


Albion/Bulwark working alongside QE is not really a good idea. What would be better is if we could build a Ocean replacement such as a Canberra class. Amphibs get up close and personnal, the QE will need to stand off. I have said many times that we need to sort out the Amphib group, either 2 Albion replacements and a Ocean replacement or three Dokdo/Canberra type ships. The chepest Amphib group 3 Dodka type would cost about £1.5 billion the most expensive, three Canberra’s £3 billion a mix of LPDs and LHDs £2 billon. My suggestion would be two Dokdo… Read more »

Andy a

Isn’t the speech given from sea lord moving us away from large scale amphibious action? Ie commandos going back to raiding, small actions, uavs for cover , high tec rather than mass invasion?


Andy, Hi, Yes the Sea Lord did say that the RM will revert to its original role of raiding, etc. That is why I gave the idea of a T32 with the front end of a T26 and aft of the main mast of the Daman Crossover. Crossovers are able to carry upto 120 Marines and three small landing craft or CB-90s plus some other things in a large mission bay. The Crossovers have from midships aft an open deck structure for vehicles. Depending on how we design the rear end it could have a hanger for two helicopters This… Read more »

Meirion X

The issue with a LPH is again with the limited range of the helos. Unless a stealth LPH can be built, which it could sneak close to shore to launch it’s helo’s.


Meirion, Morning, Both types of vessel better suited as I mentioned would be Dokdo and Canberra type vessels. They are LHDs, able to launch helicopters, being altered to be F35B capabile and can launch landing craft upto and including a LCAC. So it would give an over the horizon capability in a hull that is designed from the outset to operate in shallow waters. The issue with Albion and Bulwark although good ships for Royal Marines they have limited air capability and cannot carry heavy equipment to the shore.


Hi Ron
Have you found the Money Tree…..
Thanks Ian


Wish I did. However, when I look at ships planned to be built, or that in the next ten years that would need replacing then I’m not to far out. So for example the PM has spoken about the T32 and that the RN need a DDG/FFG of 24 ships, that gives 5 T32s whatever they would be. Albion and Bulwark will need to be replaced in the next ten years and I think the Bays would be coming to the end of their useful lives in the same period. So the only real extra would be either the third… Read more »


The skipper of QE is in command of the ship she is his or hers responsability. An Admiral is in charge of the group. Tactics and Strategy comes to mind. Overall the most important person in a CSG is the carrier Captain, he she might need to go out of formation to launch land aircraft, a escort will well escort. An Admiral, Flag officer will give an overall task.