Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces

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Office of the Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Ensign of the Royal Navy
Rear Admiral Paul Bennett

since 2017
Ministry of Defence
Member of Navy Command
Reports to Fleet Commander
Nominator Secretary of State for Defence
Appointer Prime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
Term length Not fixed (typically 1–3 years)
Inaugural holder Rear-Admiral, James Burnell-Nugent
Formation 2001

Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces or COMUKMARFOR is a senior post in the Royal Navy. The post is the highest seagoing command in the Royal Navy he is responsible for the Surface Fleet [1] and is part of the Fleet Battle Staff, he reports to the Fleet Commander and is based at Navy Command Headquarters. The commander has the rank of rear admiral.

Organisation within the Royal Navy

COMUKMARFOR directs COMATG (who commands the Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime)) and COMCSG.[2] He works closely with his equal in the Fleet Battle Staff, the Commander UK Amphibious Forces (COMUKAMPHIBFOR) who is a Royal Marine of equivalent rank. COMUKMARFOR is responsible for blue-water warfare, as opposed to COMUKAMPIBFOR who is responsible for amphibious warfare.[3] From Jan 2011 to Feb 2015, Commander Amphibious Task Group – COMATG – was named COMUKTG (a title that would have otherwise been lost following the post-SDSR10 reorganisation of the Battlestaff), and COMCSG was disestablished following the decommissioning of the Invincible-class aircraft carriers. [4] With the commissioning of the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers, the role of Commander Carrier Strike Group - COMCSG - has been revived again.[5][6] In April 2018 it was announced that the two separate deployable two-star maritime operational commanders (COMUKMARFOR and COMUKAMPHIBFOR) would be merged into a single, larger, organisation. [7]


The position of Commander UK Maritime Forces (COMUKMARFOR) was established on 1 Dec 1997, under the name of Commander United Kingdom Task Group (COMUKTG),[8] but was renamed to its current title in 2001.[9] He is in command (at sea) of naval task forces and task groups formed for specific operations.

Until 2011, he had three subordinates - the Commander of the UK Amphibious Task Group (COMATG), the Commander of the United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group (COMCSG) and his one-star deputy (who inherited the previous two-star title) the Commander of the UK Task Group (COMUKTG).[10] However, following the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, COMCSG and COMUKTG were abolished as separate commands (although the one-star post that was previously named COMUKTG was retained, albeit with no staff, to become Deputy Commander of COMUKMARFOR), and COMATG (remaining based in Plymouth) assumed the title of COMUKTG, [9][dead link] while the UK Amphibious Task Group was renamed to be the Response Force Task Group (RFTG).[9][dead link][11]

In March 2015, this reorganisation was partially reversed when the post of COMUKTG reverted to its previous title of COMATG,[12] and the RFTG became the Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime), while the post of COMCSG was re-formed in preparation for the arrival of the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.[13]

As part of the NATO Long Term Rotational Plot of Command responsibilities across the Alliance, COMUKMARFOR is one of five HQs accredited to act as the High Readiness Force (Maritime)[14] and as such has held the duty of NATO Response Force Maritime Component Commander on several occasions, including 2004, 2010, and 2016.[15]

Past operational deployments directed by COMUKMARFOR

Commodore Cunningham, the previous COMUKCSG, flew his flag throughout the January to May Orion '08 deployment, as Commander Task Group 328.01,[16] which included exercises with the Indian Navy, aboard HMS Illustrious.

The Naval Task Group for Operation VELA, a three-month deployment to West Africa in 2006, was under the command of Commander UK Amphibious Group, Commodore Phil Jones. The VELA deployment involved a significant number of Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships, the Royal Marine Commandos and helicopters.[17] The Task Group included HMS Albion, HMS Ocean, HMS Southampton, HMS Argyll, RFA Wave Knight, RFA Mounts Bay, RFA Sir Bedivere, RFA Fort Austin, HMS Enterprise, RFA Diligence, RFA Oakleaf, Mine Counter Measure Squadron 1 and a Fleet submarine together with the Fleet Lead Commando Group, consisting of 40 Commando Royal Marines, 59 Commando Independent Engineering Squadron, 29 Commando Royal Artillery and 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines. Also involved were elements of Fleet Diving Unit 2 and 849 (B) Flight from RNAS Culdrose. Embarked in HMS Ocean for the deployment a Tailored Air Group (TAG) was formed, consisting of Sea King helicopters of 845 Naval Air Squadron, 846 Naval Air Squadron, Merlin Mk 1 aircraft from 820 Naval Air Squadron and Lynx helicopters of 847 Naval Air Squadron. The Vela task group conducted an amphibious exercise, Exercise Green Eagle, in Sierra Leone.

Task Groups despatched to the Far East since 2003 have included deployments in 2003, 2004, and 2005. In 2003, Naval Task Group 03 had been intended to take part in FPDA exercises in the Asia-Pacific region but was diverted for involvement in the 2003 Iraq War. Eventually part of the naval task group including Liverpool, Marlborough and RFA Grey Rover departed Gulf waters, after the intervention phase of the Iraq War (2003), en route for Exercise Flying Fish, with Commonwealth-partners and members of the Five Power Defence Arrangements which are the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. In 2004, Exeter, Echo, RFA Diligence and RFA Grey Rover visited the Asia-Pacific region.

List of Commanders

Commanders have been as follows:[18]

Deputy Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces

  • Commodore Simon Ancona (Jan 2011 – Jun 2011)
  • Commodore John Clink (Jun 2011 – Oct 2012)[19]
  • Commodore Jeremy Blunden (Oct 2012 – Feb 2015)[20]
  • Commodore Guy Robinson (Feb 2015–2016)[21][dead link]


  1. "Surface fleet: Royal Navy". (in English). Ministry of Defence UK 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "The Navy Directory 2016" (PDF). Royal Navy. 8 August 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Commander UK Maritime Forces Archived 9 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. "New man at the helm of UK task force". 12 February 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "UK Carrier Strike Group takes shape for HMS Queen Elizabeth". Retrieved 10 February 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Letter from Ministry of Defence" (PDF). 27 October 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Jane's - UK Amphibious Headquarters to Disappear in Merger". 20 April 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Navy News: Dec 97 Edition
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Fleet Battle Staff: History Archived 13 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. Royal Navy: Bridge Card Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. Royal Navy: Commander United Kingdom Task Group Archived 11 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. Royal Navy: New CO for Amphibious Task Group
  13. Royal Navy: New CO for Carrier Strike Group
  14. NATO: Command Structure
  15. Jane's Defence Weekly 19 May 2004, p.28
  16. Richard Scott, 'ASW Resurfaces,' Jane's Defence Weekly, Volume 45, Issue 24, 11 June 2008, p.25
  17. "Exercise Green Eagle – Sierra Leone". Archived from the original on 12 November 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Royal Navy Senior Appointments Archived 15 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. Promotions Defence View Points
  20. Indian Warship Arrives In Portsmouth Archived 19 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. "Guy Robinson". Retrieved 8 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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