spending $60 million to upgrade and refurbish the Royal Navy's helicopter
carrier HMS Ocean. The 22,500 ton ship is similar to the other LHDs, like the
recently built, 21,300 ton French Mistral Class. The HMS Ocean has a crew of
461 (including the air squadron), and normally carries 480 Royal Marine Commandos.
As many as 800 marines can be crammed aboard for short voyages. The ship can
carry up to 40 vehicles, but can only land trucks and jeeps via the four LCVP
landing craft. Normally 18 helicopters are carried (12 transports and six
lighter scout or attack models).
The refurb will include work
on engine components, and berthing facilities will be upgraded, to make longer
voyages (that are increasingly common) more tolerable. The work will take a
year, and the ship will be back in service by the end of 2008.