The UK Royal Navy's commando carrier HMS Ocean is set to assume the duties of fleet flagship from today, following the recent achievement of operational capability.
This very high-readiness helicopter carrier will sail next month for the first of a series of exercises.
These tasks will see HMS Ocean demonstrating its flexibility for tasks ranging from the delivery of humanitarian aid to the full range of amphibious operations.
In addition, the headquarters staff in HMS Ocean will be the maritime component commander of the Nato Response Force (NRF) in 2016.
For the Nato role, HMS Ocean and its crew will take command of a series of major multinational exercises.
These exercises, which will run throughout the fourth quarter of this year, are aimed to validate the ability to command task groups comprising more than 50 warships.
Powered by two Crossley Pielstick 16 PC2.6 V 200 medium-speed diesel engines, HMS Ocean can cruise at a maximum speed of 16k, and has a range of 8,000 miles.
The 203m-long warship is designed to accommodate approximately 1,100 people, can operate 12 EH101 Merlin and six Lynx helicopters, and features landing and refuelling facilities for Chinook helicopters.
In March this year, Queen Elizabeth II rededicated Ocean back into the Royal Navy service after it completed a month-long £65m refit of its weaponry, internal systems and living quarters.
The vessel also operated the navy's latest helicopter, the Wildcat, for the first time during Exercise Joint Warrior in the North Sea last month.
Image: The UK Royal Navy's very high readiness helicopter carrier, HMS Ocean. Photo: courtesy of UK Royal Navy.