Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Aviation, Amphibious Capability & Carriers)

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Office of the Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Aviation, Amphibious Capability & Carriers)
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Ensign of the Royal Navy
Rear Admiral Martin Connell

since 2019
Ministry of Defence
Member ofNavy Command
Reports toSecond Sea Lord
NominatorFirst Sea Lord
AppointerPrime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
Term lengthNot fixed (typically 1–3 years)
Inaugural holderRear-Admiral Richard Bell-Davies
Formation24 May 1939–current

The Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Aviation, Amphibious Capability & Carriers) formerly the Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Aviation and Carrier Strike)[1] is a senior Royal Navy appointment responsible for naval aviation. The post is also the successor to the Royal Navy's Flag Officer for naval aviation in the British Isles, established since 1939.

Flag Officer, Naval Air Stations[edit]

The post of Flag Officer Naval Air Stations was established in May 1939 to provide land based support for the Fleet Air Arm, that was transferred from the RAF to the Royal Navy. The office holder was originally styled Rear Admiral, Naval Air Stations and was responsible for building and developing naval air stations with different capabilities. In May 1945 the post was re-styled Flag Officer Air Home.[2]

Flag Officer, Air, Home[edit]

Flag Officer, Air, Home flew his flag from RNAS Lee-on-Solent (HMS Daedalus) and the post existed until 1963. Responsible for shore-based air command working up squadrons to operational effectiveness, and after an Operational Readiness Inspection, delivering them to the Fleet.[3]

  • Vice-Admiral Sir Cloudesley Robinson: May 1945 (then retired)
  • Vice-Admiral Denis Boyd: June 1945 – April 1946[4]
  • Rear-Admiral Geoffrey N. Oliver: April–September 1946
  • Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas H. Troubridge: September 1946 – November 1947
  • Admiral Sir Reginald Portal: November 1947 – March 1951
  • Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Lambe: March 1951 – January 1953
  • Vice-Admiral Sir John Eccles: January 1953 – June 1955
  • Vice-Admiral Sir Caspar John: June 1955 – March 1957
  • Admiral Sir Walter Couchman: March 1957 – January 1960
  • Admiral Sir Deric Holland-Martin: January 1960 – May 1961
  • Vice-Admiral Desmond Dreyer: May 1961 – October 1962
  • Vice-Admiral Sir John Hamilton: October 1962 – January 1964

Flag Officer, Naval Air Command[edit]

This post was created on 30 September 1963 as renaming of Flag Officer Air, Home, which was at the time a Vice-Admiral's command.[5] Sir John Treacher writes in Life at Full Throttle that '..the tasks undertaken by the old Flying Training Command and Flag Officer Air (Home) had now been taken over by the Flag Officer Naval Air Command to form a single entity and the headquarters had been moved from Lee-on-Solent to the Royal Naval Air Station at Yeovilton.' In April 2010 the post was renamed Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Carriers & Aviation).

  • Vice-Admiral Sir Richard M. Smeeton: January 1964 – October 1965
  • Vice-Admiral Sir Donald C.E.F. Gibson: October 1965 – October 1968
  • Vice-Admiral Sir H. Richard B. Janvrin: October 1968 – November 1970
  • Vice-Admiral Michael F. Fell: November 1970 – June 1972
  • Vice-Admiral John D. Treacher: June 1972 – August 1973
  • Vice-Admiral Sir Peter M. Austin: August 1973 – August 1976
  • Rear-Admiral John O. Roberts: August 1976 – February 1978
  • Vice-Admiral Sir A. Desmond Cassidi: February 1978 – June 1979
  • Rear-Admiral Edward R. Anson: June 1979 – May 1982
  • Vice-Admiral Sir John Cox: May 1982 – September 1983
  • Vice-Admiral Sir Derek Reffell: September 1983 – September 1984
  • Rear-Admiral Linley Middleton: September 1984 – February 1987
  • Rear-Admiral Roger Dimmock: February 1987 – August 1988
  • Rear-Admiral Michael Layard: August 1988 – December 1990
  • Rear-Admiral Colin H.D. Cooke-Priest: December 1990 – February 1993
  • Rear-Admiral Ian Garnett: February 1993 – June 1995
  • Rear-Admiral Terence W. Loughran: June 1995 – October 1998
  • Rear-Admiral Iain Henderson: October 1998 – July 2001
  • Rear-Admiral Scott Lidbetter: July 2001–2003
  • Rear-Admiral Simon B. Charlier: September 2008 – April 2010

Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff ((Aviation, Amphibious Capability & Carriers)[edit]

In 2012, this post's responsibilities were officially described as '..ACNS(A&C) is responsible for delivering aviation Force Elements at Readiness in accordance with the RN plan and arising, contingent events. This includes all RN fixed and rotary wing assets, the two Naval Air Stations and the generation of aircraft carriers and carrier capability. He is the lead, on behalf of the Fleet Commander, for the development of the future Carrier Strike capability. As the Navy's Aviation Operational Duty Holder, he is personally, legally accountable for the safe execution of maritime aviation by all Royal Navy units, including aircraft, ships and submarines. ACNS(A&CS) is also Rear Admiral Fleet Air Arm in which role, as a Head of a Naval Fighting Arm, he is responsible for the professional effectiveness, ethos and spirit of all Fleet Air Arm personnel.'[6] It has been renamed as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Aviation, Amphibious Capability & Carriers) (ACNS(A&C)) and Rear-Admiral Fleet Air Arm around 2019.

  • Rear-Admiral Thomas A. Cunningham: April 2010 – September 2012
  • Rear-Admiral Russ Harding: September 2012 – May 2015
  • Rear-Admiral Keith E. Blount: May 2015 – February 2019
  • Rear-Admiral Martin J. Connell: February 2019–Present


Naval Aviation Command Organization[edit]

Subordinate commands[edit]

Naval aviation command has had a number of different subordinate commands throughout its history.[8]

Flag Officer Flying Training[edit]

(September 1945 – November 1970)

Flag Officer, Ground Training[edit]

(January 1949–1957)

Rear-Admiral, (E) Reserve Aircraft[edit]

(January 1949–1956)

Assistant Chief of Staff Carrier Strike and Aviation[edit]

Commanding Officer Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton[edit]


Command support[edit]

This officer provides administrative support to this officer holder

Chief of Staff, Naval Aviation[edit]

Deputy Director Naval Aviation[edit]



  1. ^ "Aviation and Carrier Strike - endorses by Royal Navy Biography for incumbent" (PDF).
  2. ^ a b c d Watson, Dr Graham. "Royal Navy Organisation in World War 2, 1939–1945". Gordon Smith, 19 September 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  3. ^ Mervik, Captain C. F. "The Integrated Fleet HQ and aviation's place within". Flight Deck (Winter 2001).
  4. ^ "Fleet Air Arm Service Records: Flag Officer Index". Fleet Air Arm 2005. Archived from the original on 6 January 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Air Force, Naval and Army Flying News: Naval Air Command". Flight. 84 (2847): 592. 3 October 1963. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Navy Command Royal Navy". MOD, September 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  7. ^ "The Navy Directory 2019" (PDF). Royal Navy. 1 January 2020. Retrieved 4 November 2020. 2* Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Aviation, Amphibious Capability & Carriers) (ACNS(A&C))
  8. ^ "Naval Aviation Organization: Admiralty Organization: Command Organization" (PDF). Flight Magazine, 20 April 1951. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  9. ^ "ROYAL NAVY SHOWS COMMITMENT TO DRONE TECHNOLOGY FOR FUTURE OPERATIONS". Royal Navy. 31 July 2020. Retrieved 4 November 2020.