HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship, has sailed into Portsmouth Naval Base for the last time before she decommissions from the Royal Navy.
The helicopter carrier and assault ship arrived just after dawn to pay a brief farewell visit to the city before returning to her homeport of Devonport, Plymouth for the final time under a white ensign later this month.
Since commissioning into Royal Navy in 1998 she has been involved in Operation Palliser during the Sierra Leone civil war in 2000, Operation Telic off the coast of Iraq in 2003, Operation Ellamy as part of an international coalition in Libya in 2011, and most recently the hurricane relief contingent on Operation Ruman in the Caribbean.
— HMNB Portsmouth (@HMNBPortsmouth) February 2, 2018
Commanding Officer of HMS Ocean, Captain Robert Pedre, said: “My ship’s company and I are very much looking forward to our visit to Portsmouth.
“It is fitting that the Fleet Flagship should have this opportunity to bid farewell to the city before decommissioning; a visit that is all the more poignant for the many members of my ship’s company that are privileged to call this historic naval city home.”
Meanwhile HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed from the same port for the first time since being officially commissioned into the Royal Navy in December. She will be launching her first helicopter trials at sea.
The aim of the trials is to work out the conditions that the aircraft can operate in while at sea on the carrier. They will collect data about the landings, take-offs and manoeuvres in different wind and sea conditions, before processing the information and ultimately declaring that the ship can safely operate the aircraft.
— HMS Queen Elizabeth (@HMSQnlz) February 5, 2018
These helicopter trials take place before the fixed wing F35 Lightning II trials later this year. Ultimately the carrier will be declared safe to fly Chinook, Merlin Mk2, Merlin Mk3, Merlin Mk4, Wildcat and Apache attack helicopters, as well as the fast jets.