Royal Navy Flagship HMS Ocean Could Be Sold To Brazil

Royal Navy helicopter carrier HMS Ocean could soon be sailing as part of another country's fleet...

Royal Navy helicopter carrier HMS Ocean could soon be sailing as part of another country's fleet.

The current flagship is wanted by Brazil, which is examining the prospect "with cautious optimism", according to The Sun.

The country's officials reportedly see the asking price as "reasonable".

HMS Ocean Homecoming
Ocean returned from deployment last month

The MoD confirmed last year that Ocean will be decommissioned in 2018 as part of spending cuts, despite having only completed a £65m refit in 2014.

The first of two new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth, isn't expected to come into service until 2020.

This would have kept her seaworthy for at least another six years. One senior source told the newspaper:

"Ocean is still a very capable vessel. There is no reason why she could not remain in service until 2023 – the decommissioning will weaken Britain's defences."

The vessel, which was commissioned in 1998, has seen active duty in Iraq and Sierra Leone during her time in service.

Currently the largest vessel in the Royal Navy, she's the UK's only helicopter carrier, designed to support amphibious landing operations.

Brazil reportedly became interested after deciding not to conduct an expensive upgrade of one of its own ageing carriers.

Ocean visited the country in 2010 and worked with the country’s marines during a diplomatic mission to South America.

An MoD spokesman told Forces News: 

"A number of options are being considered for the future of Ocean, including the possibility of selling to another government. It is too soon in the process to discuss what those options might be."

The MoD did not comment on the ship's price-tag, although HMS Illustrious was recently sold to a Turkish scrapyard for £2 million.

Some senior naval officers had reportedly hoped that she might be given a reprieve.

An RAF Tornado squadron had its service extended twice while facing the axe, and will now continue its role until next year.

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