The UK Royal Navy’s amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean has commenced sea trials, after the completion of a major refit at Devonport Royal Dockyard in Plymouth, UK.
The trials are the vessel’s first sea cruise since October 2012, and include a training programme to assess the ship and crew.
Refit work was carried out by Babcock under a £65m contract, which involved updates and improvements for the vessel’s radar, gun, command system and living quarters.
HMS Ocean commanding officer captain Tim Henry said: "The unique nature of Ocean makes it more challenging to prepare for this day, given that we have no other ship on which to train.
"As the naval service, defence and the nation’s eyes turn to Rosyth for the naming of HMS Queen Elizabeth, we are one significant step closer to HMS Ocean assuming the role of the nation’s very-high readiness helicopter carrier."
Under the 15-month contract, Babcock improved the vessel’s potential to execute its main role as an amphibious helicopter carrier or base for helicopter and landing craft launch raids by the Royal Marines.
Work also involved a refurbishment of the vessel’s aircraft lifts and weapon equipment to comply with the surface-ship support alliance’s class-output management approach.
HMS Ocean is powered by two Crossley Pielstick 16 PC2.6 V 200 medium-speed diesel engines. The vessel can cruise at a maximum speed of 18k with an 8,000m range.
Capable of carrying approximately 1,100 people, the 203m-long warship can operate 12 EH101 Merlin and six Lynx helicopters, and has landing and refuelling facilities for Chinook helicopters.
Image: The UK Royal Navy’s amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean being prepared for trials. Photo: courtesy of the Royal Navy.