Royal Navy flagship deploys to lead task force against ISIS

Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean has sailed from Plymouth on a 6.5-month deployment during which it will serve as command ship for the international Combined Task Force 50 commander who will lead counter-terrorist activities.

The amphibious assault ship will first form part of a UK Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime) task group to carry out exercises with partner nations in the Mediterranean Sea and waters off Middle East before it assumes its role in the fight against ISIS at the end of the year.

HMS Ocean will provide the command ship for Commodore Andrew Burns when he takes charge of Combined Task Force 50, working directly for Commander US 5th Fleet for a period of 3 months.

The ship, with 900 personnel on-board, has embarked the command element and a company of Plymouth-based 42 Commando Royal Marines as well as helicopters from 845 Naval Air Squadron, 662 Squadron Army Air Corps and 27 Squadron Royal Air Force.