Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key confirmed as next First Sea Lord

Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key has been confirmed as the next head of the Royal Navy.

He will succeed Admiral Sir Tony Radakin as First Sea Lord, who himself is taking over as Chief of the Defence Staff later this year.

VAdm Key said: "It is an honour and privilege to be selected as the next First Sea Lord.

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"I am excited at the prospect of leading the exceptional sailors and marines of the Royal Navy through the exciting challenges we have ahead.

"I look forward to building on the transformation work of my predecessor Adm Sir Tony Radakin and continuing the ambitious modernisation laid out by the Government in the [Integrated Review]."

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "Sir Ben Key is an exceptional military officer and I have no doubt he will be outstanding in his new post.

"As the current Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral Sir Ben was one of the key architects of the incredible Op Pitting rescue mission, which weeks ago saw the successful evacuation of over 15,000 British nationals and Afghans from Kabul.

"Under Vice Admiral Key's leadership, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines are in excellent hands."

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said VAdm Key "will bring a wealth of operational experience to the role" of First Sea Lord.

"We live in a period of enormous change and I am delighted to be working with Sir Ben in my new role as Chief of the Defence Staff to ensure the Royal Navy and the rest of defence are a global force delivering for global Britain," he added.

Who is Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key?

VAdm Key joined the Royal Navy in 1984 as a university cadet, graduating in physics from Royal Holloway University London.

He has commanded four ships during his time in the service, including aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious.

VAdm Key's current role is as Chief of Joint Operations and he was in overall command of Operation Pitting - the UK's evacuation mission from Afghanistan.

Find out more on VAdm Key