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The Commander-in-Chief Fleet (CINCFLEET) was the admiral responsible for the operation, resourcing and training of the ships, submarines and aircraft, and personnel, of the British Royal Navy until April 2012. CINC was subordinate to the First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Naval Service. In April 2012 the role was re-designated Fleet Commander and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff.

History of the role

Historically, the Royal Navy was usually split into a large number of commands, each with a Commander-in-Chief (e.g. Commander-in-Chief Plymouth, Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean Fleet, etc.).

In 1971, with the withdrawal of British forces from East of Suez, the Far East and Western fleets of the Royal Navy were unified under a single Commander-in-Chief Fleet,[1] initially based at HMS Warrior, a land base at Northwood in Middlesex and, from 2004, based at HMS Excellent at Portsmouth.[2] Thereafter there were just two Commanders-in-Chief, the various fleet commands being unified under Commander-in-Chief Fleet and the various home commands being unified under Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command ("CINCNAVHOME").

In April 2012 the role was re-designated Fleet Commander and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff.[3]


Structure of Navy Command

Full command of the Fleet and responsibility for the Fleet element of military operational capability including the Royal Marines and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, was delegated to Commander-in-Chief Fleet,[4] with his Command Headquarters in the Navy Command Headquarters Building at HMS Excellent in Portsmouth[4][dead link]

and his Operational Headquarters at Northwood, in the London Borough of Hillingdon, co-located with the Permanent Joint Headquarters[4] and a NATO Regional Command, Allied Maritime Component Command Northwood ('AMCCN'); CINCFLEET was dual-hatted as Commander AMCCN.[5]

CINCFLEET was supported by:[4][dead link]

  • Second Sea Lord, based in HMS Excellent, who is the Principal Personnel Officer for the Royal Navy
  • Deputy CINCFLEET, based in HMS Excellent, who directs the work of the Fleet Headquarters
  • Commander Maritime Operations, based at Northwood, who is responsible for the conduct of Fleet operations
  • Commander UK Amphibious Force, who is Commandant General Royal Marines
  • Commander UK Maritime Forces (previously known as Commander UK Task Group),[6] who is commander of the UK Task Group (COMUKTG)(including the newly formed UK Response Force Task Group)[7][8][9]

Collectively, COMUKMARFOR, COMUKAMPHIBFOR, Commander UK Task Group (COMUKTG) and 3 Commando Brigade, Royal Marines comprised the "Fleet Battle Staff".[10]

NATO commitment

The post also came with various NATO appointments including:

  • Commander in Chief Channel (CINCHAN) (until 1994)

The NATO Handbook, accessible in 1993, described the Channel Command in the following words:[11]

CINCHAN's subordinate commanders included Commander Allied Maritime Air Force, Channel; Commander Nore Sub-Area Channel; Commander Plymouth Sub-Area, Channel; and Commander Benelux Sub-Area, Channel. CINCHAN also has under his command the NATO Standing Naval Force Channel (STANAVFOR- CHAN), a permanent force mainly comprising mine countermeasure vessels.

A Channel Committee consisting of the naval Chiefs-of-Staff of Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom served as an advisory and consultative body to the Commander-in-Chief, Channel.

  • Commander in Chief East Atlantic as part of Allied Command Atlantic (until 2004)
  • Commander Allied Maritime Component Command, Northwood (current)

List of Commanders-in-Chief Fleet

Commanders-in-Chief have included:[12]

List of Deputy Commanders

Deputy Commanders have included:[12]

See also


External links

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