Former HMS Ocean will provide significant boost to Brazilian Navy

The PHM Atlântico and NDM Bahia ships provide Brazil with formidable tools to execute a wide range of missions

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What does HMS Ocean mean for Brazil? 

Over the last few years, the Brazillian navy has undergone a new era of modernisation with a range of modern vessels that will significantly increase power projection capabilities. HMS Ocean, one of the of the latest additions to the Brazillian Navy, docked in Rio de Janeiro on August 25th after sailing from its former home in the United Kingdom.

HMS Ocean is now called the PHM "Atlântico" is the Brazilian Navy's new flagship. The vessel is an (A140) multi-purpose helicopter carrier.

HMS Ocean. Source: Shutterstock 

Together with NDM Bahia (G40) landing platform dock (LPD), PHM Atlântico provides the Brazilian Navy with a comprehensive capability to execute a payload of long-range maritime and aviation missions.

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PHM Atlântico (Porta-Helicópteros Multipropósito) – formerly HMS Ocean (L12) within the UK Royal Navy – was purchased by the Brazilian Navy for BRL381.081 million on 19 February 2018 as part of the force's Strategic Programme to "obtain full operational capability’. The ship was commissioned from the Royal Navy on 29 June at HMNB Devonport naval base in Plymouth.

Several upgrades were added since the ship was commissioned by the Royal Navy from Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering (VSEL) in 1998.

The package for Brazil included the ship’s Artisan 3D search radar, KH1007 and KH1008 surface surveillance and navigation radar systems, four 30mm DS30M Mk 2 remote weapon systems, DNA(2) command system, as well as four Mk5B landing crafts. Studies are taking place to potentially modernize the ship’s DNA (2) system.

The three 20mm Raytheon MK 15 Phalanx Block 1B Baseline 1 close-in weapon systems (CIWS) were removed before transfer of HMS Ocean to Brazil, as well as torpedo defence systems, 7.62mm M134 machine gun systems, data link systems, SATCOM terminal, electronic support measures (ESM) system and the 130mm decoy launching systems.

Prior transfer to Brazil, the ship, displacing 21.578 tonnes, measuring 2,034 m in length and offering 8000 nm range, was refitted by Babcock and BAE Systems according to a separate contract.

Prior to departing from the United Kingdom on 1 August, PHM Atlântico went through operational sea training at the Royal Navy’s Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST).

Both surface platforms were designed to execute missions such as transport of troops, armoured vehicles, trucks and equipment; logistics support, surveillance, command and control, disaster relief, humanitarian aid amphibious assault. The NDM Bahia particularly has provisions to conduct ship-to-shore tasks thanks to AAV7A1 RAM/RS and AAV7A1 amphibious assault vehicles and high-capacity landing transport crafts.

What helicopters will be used aboard the PHM Atlântico?

Both vessels can carry out aviation roles including search and rescue, anti-submarine and surface warfare, troop and cargo transport, close air support, airborne assault, patrol, surveillance and maritime interdiction thanks to naval helicopters such as;

  • AH-11A Super Lynx and AH-11B Super Lynx multi-role helicopters with the later to potentially be armed with new anti-surface warfare missile system

  • UH-15 Super Cougar utility helicopters

  • UH-15A Super Cougar combat search and rescue (CSAR) helicopters

  • UH-15B Super Cougar anti-surface warfare (ASuW) helicopters armed with Exocet AM39 Block 2 Mod 2 missile

  • SH-16 Seahawk multi-purpose helicopters that can be armed with AGM-119B Penguin Mk2 Mod7 anti-ship missile, Mk 46 Mod 5 lightweight torpedo and 7.62mm MAG58M machine gun

Super Lynx. Source; Shutterstock

For self-protection, NDM Bahia (Navio Doca Multipropósito) is armed with a single station armed with 20mm F2 cannon; four protected mountings for 12.7mm heavy machine gun; as well as two SIMBAD missile launchers, each armed with two ready-to-fire  MISTRAL 1 very short-range air defence missiles (VSHORAD).

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The ship operating from the Rio de Janeiro Naval Base and displacing 12.000 tonnes and measuring 168 m in length was commissioned in March 2016 from the French Navy as the FS Siroco (L9012).