Surface Fleet

From Naval History Archive
(Redirected from Royal Navy Surface Fleet)
Jump to navigationJump to search
Surface Fleet
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom
ActiveMaritime Forces: 2001–current
CountryUnited Kingdom
BranchRoyal Navy
TypeMilitary Branch
Garrison/HQPortsmouth, England
Rear-Admiral Andrew Burns

The Surface Fleet is one of the five fighting arms of the Royal Navy.[1] The Surface Fleet consists of Aircraft Carriers, Amphibious Warfare Ships, Destroyers, Frigates, patrol vessels, mine-countermeasure vessels, and other miscellaneous vessels. The Surface Fleet has been structured around a single fleet since the abolition of the Far Eastern and Western fleets in 1971 forming the Fleet.[2] The recently built Type 45 destroyers are technologically advanced air-defence destroyers. The Royal Navy has built one of the two Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, embarking an air-group including the advanced fifth-generation multi-role fighter, the F-35B.[3]

It consists of the Surface Combatants (as opposed to submarines or aircraft). The surface fleet is administered by Rear-Admiral Andrew Burns[4] This appointment has an additional operational role as Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces, a sea-going combatant command appointment.


Organisational changes within the Royal Navy beginning in 1990 and ending in 1992 resulted in the Third Flotilla being abolished, the remaining First Flotilla and Second Flotillas were then re-designated under new titles. One became the Surface Flotilla, responsible for operational readiness and training, and the other the UK Task Group, who would command any deployed task group.[5]

In 2001 both of these formations were unified into United Kingdom Maritime Forces (UKMARFOR), who thereafter reported to CINCFLEET. He administered three sub-commands called Amphibious Task Group, UK Task Group, and Carrier Strike Group, each of these being commanded by a Commodore . These three commodores' positions directed operational, deployed, seagoing groups of warships.

In January 2011 the UK Task Group Commander was renamed Deputy Commander UK Maritime Forces. In 2012 operational command of the fleet changed with the abolition of the CINCFLEET position. Instead a Vice-Admiral was appointed as Fleet Commander. The Fleet Commander is currently based at headquarters Navy Command in Portsmouth, England.[6] The Devonport and Portsmouth Flotillas are currently administered by the Commander Operations.[7]

In Command

Rear-Admiral Surface Ships

Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces and Rear Admiral Surface Ships – reporting to Commander-in-Chief Fleet till 2012 then Fleet Commander.

Current Components

RN surface ships current consist of two flotillas based at HMNB Portsmouth and HMNB Devonport, both located on the south coast of England. Surface combatants range from aircraft carriers to mine countermeasures vessels to offshore patrol vessels, but the backbone of the fleet consists of destroyers (Type 45) and frigates (Type 23).

Portsmouth Flotilla

Plymouth Flotilla

Current Deployments

The surface fleet has several permanent Standing Royal Navy deployments. Closer to home, the surface fleet also conducts Fishery Protection Patrols around UK waters, in a formal agreement with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Presently, Commander Amphibious Task Group and Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group are the two main 1* deployable forces under COMUKMARFOR.

See also


  1. "THE ROYAL NAVY'S SURFACE FLEET" (PDF). MOD UK. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  2. Hampshire (1975), The Royal Navy Since 1945: its transition to the nuclear age, p248
  3. "MoD confirms £3.8bn carrier order". BBC News. 25 July 2007. Archived from the original on 11 September 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  4. "Rear Admiral Andrew Burns OBE Commander UK Maritime Forces and Rear Admiral Surface Ships" (PDF). Royal Navy. Ministry of Defence. UK. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  5. Smith.2015.
  6. "New Fleet Commander appointed to Royal Navy – GOV.UK". MOD 5 December 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  7. "The Navy Directory 2017 Containing Lists of Ships, Establishments and Officers of the Fleet" (PDF). MOD UK. 2017. p. 7. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  8. "Rear Admiral P M Bennett (Paul) CB OBE Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces and Rear Admiral Surface Ships" (PDF). Ministry of Defence UK 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  9. "Jerry Kyd confirmed as Guest of Honour at MCDOA Dinner". Minewarfare & Clearance Diving Officers' Association. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  10. "Royal Navy Appoints New Senior Officers". Forces Network. 18 February 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.