Britain’s Royal Navy is to decommission its only helicopter assault carrier and hand the task over to one of the new aircraft carriers being built by BAE Systems.
Plans to scrap HMS Ocean in 2018 were part of the strategic defence and security review (SDSR) unveiled Nov 23. The decision to axe the Royal Navy’s flagship only became known when it was briefly mentioned by defence minister Earl Howe in the House of Lords.
The ship, currently the largest in the Royal Navy, only completed a £65 million (US$97.8 million) refit last year.
The Royal Navy denied the warship was being axed earlier than planned.
“HMS Ocean will not decommission early and will continue in service as planned well into this Parliament. As part of the SDSR process, the decision was taken not to extend her and to decommission her in 2018, in line with her 20-year life span,” the navy said in a statement.