The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) is selling the Royal Navy’s fleet flagship, HMS Ocean (L12) to the Brazilian Navy for £84.6 million, it has been confirmed.
Announcing the sale, Clive Walker, head of the Defence Equipment Sales Authority which managed the deal, said: “We have a proven track record of supplying surplus defence equipment on a government-to-government basis. The successful sale of HMS Ocean to the Brazilian navy will provide a financial return to the UK which will now be reinvested in defence.”
The vessel had undergone a £65 million refit just four years ago. The overhaul involved an upgrade of all communications and weapons systems, and took fifteen months in total.
Following her decommissioning from Royal Navy service this year, she will undertake a period of maintenance. The Brazilian Navy will pay for modifications to the ship, to be undertaken by UK firms Babcock and BAE Systems, and will then take possession of HMS Ocean in June.
She is expected to arrive in Rio de Janeiro by the end of 2018 with the intention of being commissioned and fully operational by 2020.
HMS Ocean returned to its homeport, HMNB Devonport in Plymouth in December following its final foreign deployment, which included assisting with the humanitarian efforts in the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma.
HMS Queen Elizabeth will eventually take on the role as the Navy new flagship, and will be able to act as a helicopter carrier once its sea trials have been completed.
HMS Ocean (L12)
HMS Ocean is an amphibious assault ship, the UK’s helicopter carrier and the fleet flagship of the Royal Navy.
She was constructed in the mid-1990s by Kvaerner Govan on the River Clyde and fitted out by VSEL at Barrow-in-Furness prior to trials and subsequent acceptance in service. Ocean was commissioned in September 1998 at her home port HMNB Devonport, Plymouth.
She is designed to support amphibious landing operations and to support the staff of Commander UK Amphibious Force and Commander UK Landing Force. She can deliver troops to the centre of the action by helicopter or by landing craft.
The ship has six helicopter operating spots on her flight deck with space in the hangar to hold many more. HMS Ocean’s crew of 400 personnel includes Royal Marines who operate four landing craft to take forces ashore.
The 21,500-tonne amphibious assault ship has a top speed of 16 knots and a range in excess 8,000 miles on a single tank of fuel.