U.K. Sells Royal Navy Flagship HMS Ocean to Brazil

hms ocean sold
HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy’s flagship, enters Plymouth, England, for the last time in Royal Navy service, February 9, 2018. Royal Navy Photo

By Tiago Ramos Alfaro (Bloomberg) — The U.K. has sold Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean to Brazil for about 84 million pounds ($117 million) as new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth prepares to take over as leader of the fleet.

HMS Ocean will be modified by BAE Systems Plc and Babcock International Group Plc, with the work funded by Brazil, before the 21,500 metric-ton ship is handed over to the South American nation in June, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement Monday.

The Ocean was one of three amphibious assault vessels to be successively designated flagship after the retirement of Britain’s most recent aircraft carrier in 2010, a trend defense experts said had left the Royal Navy weaker than ever before, since they couldn’t accommodate fixed-wing aircraft.

In the event, Ocean saw no military action after becoming flagship in 2015. Earlier in its 20 years of service the vessel transported troops to an operation to end the Sierra Leone civil war in 2000, and carried helicopters during the international intervention in Libya in 2011.

The Queen Elizabeth, the biggest-ever Royal Navy vessel at 65,000 tons, is undergoing sea trials and will become flagship in due course, the MoD said. It and sister-ship HMS Prince of Wales will be each able to carry up to 36 of the most modern Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35 fighters.

© 2018 Bloomberg L.P