Since the Brazilian Navy has formally decommissioned the aircraft carrier NAe São Paulo (A12) on 22 November 2018, PHM Atlantico (A140) multipurpose amphibious helicopter carrier (Porta-Helicópteros Multipropósito) has assumed the service's flagship role.
The purchase of PHM Atlantico enabled the Brazilian Navy to restore its amphibious aviation capability, the ship's commander, Captain Giovani Corrêa, told Jane's. The ship is to carry out a range of other roles such as amphibious assault, troop and equipment transport, humanitarian aid, command-and-control, and more.
A plan to acquire the ship, formerly the UK Royal Navy's HMS Ocean (L12), was approved on 29 November 2017. A GBP84.6 million (USD107.3 million) contract by Directorate General of Navy Material to purchase the ship was signed on 19 February 2018 with the Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA), part of the UK Ministry of Defence's Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S). The contract included maintenance and overhaul work by Babcock and BAE Systems, which was done during a 4-29 June 2018 docking period, and supply of four Mk 5B landing craft and one landing raft. A comprehensive training package included two-week aviation training in January 2018 that involved British Apache, Chinook, and Merlin helicopters.
Several systems were removed prior to transfer to Brazil, including the ship's electronic support measures (ESM) system, communication systems, three Phalanx Mk15 Block 1B weapon systems, four 7.62 mm M134D machine guns, and a towed sonar system.
Following commissioning by Brazil on 29 June 2018 at the Royal Navy's HMNB Devonport in Plymouth, Atlantico conducted a three-week operational sea training (OST) at the Royal Navy's Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) in July 2018. Brazilian crews began working with the ship on 6 February 2018 and fully took over on 1 August 2018. It departed from Plymouth on 1 August 2018 and arrived at its homeport, the Arsenal de Marinha do Rio de Janeiro (AMRJ), 24 days later.
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