Brazil has purchased Royal Navy ship HMS Ocean, the helicopter carrier about to be retired from the Royal Navy service later this year. The UK Ministry of Defense (MOD) is selling the Ocean for £84 million. The vessel will remain in the UK until the autumn of 2018, UK Defence Journal reports.

HMS Ocean is the UK’s only helicopter carrier and the fleet flagship of the Royal Navy. She will retire after completing its planned operational lifespan of 20 years at sea, having completed a world tour this year. HMS Ocean is designed to support amphibious landing operations and to support the staff of Commander UK Amphibious Force and Commander UK Landing Force.

The Ocean was constructed in the mid-1990s and commissioned in September 1998. In November 2015, the MoD confirmed that HMS Ocean is to be decommissioned in 2018, as the new aircraft carriers of the QE II class become operational.

In 2016 HMS Ocean (L12) carried the UK’s Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime) Task Group on deployment to the Mediterranean and Gulf. This Amphibious Task Group included HMS Bulwark, HMS Ocean, Ministry of Defence Strategic Ro-Ro vessel, MV Eddystone and 42 Commando. In her role as a helicopter carrier and amphibious assault ship, Ocean is designed to deliver troops by helicopter or by landing craft – the ship has six helicopters and carries four Mk5 landing craft vehicle and personnel (LCVP). Photo: Crown Copyright, UK MOD

The Brazilian Navy operates a single aircraft carrier – São Paulo, a Clemenceau class vessel commissioned in 1963 and acquired from France Navy surplus in the year 2000. Once operated AF-1/1A (Skyhawk) attack fighters and KC-2 (C-1 Trader) flying tankers, the fixed wing fleet operated by the Brazilian Naval Aviation (Aviação Naval Brasileira; AvN) has shrunk to three aircraft, thus rendering the operation of a dedicated aircraft carrier unfeasible. Absent of a carrier deck to train on, this small component is likely to retire or converted to operate from land. Once accepted into service, the Ocean will be able to carry the growing fleet of rotary-wing aircraft operated by the AvN, which includes Super Lynx, Sea King, S-70B, and EC-725.

A file photo from 2003 showing the forward flight deck of the Brazilian aircraft carrier São Paulo (A12), in 2003. Four McDonnell Douglas AF-1 (A-4) Skyhawk fighters and an Argentine Navy Grumman S-2T Tracker are visible.