Commander Fleet Operational Sea Training

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Fleet Operational Sea Training
United Kingdom
Agency overview
JurisdictionGovernment of the United Kingdom
HeadquartersHMNB Devonport
Agency executives
  • Commodore Andrew Stacey
  • Fleet Operational Sea Training
Parent agencyFleet Commander

Fleet Operational Sea Training (FOST) is a Royal Navy training organisation.[1]

Up until May 2020, the Flag Officer Sea Training led a training organisation responsible for ensuring that Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels were fit to join the operational fleet.[1] A Freedom of Information answer states that as of 1 May 2020, the position of Flag Officer Sea Training will no longer exist and the position taken up by a Commodore, in the appointment of Commander Fleet Operational Sea Training.[2]


Operations room staff on board HMS Illustrious during Basic Operational Sea Training.

A. Cecil Hampshire's "The Royal Navy Since 1945" writes that:[3]

"[U]nder the system of Home Service, General Service, and Foreign Service commissions which was introduced in 1954, warships required to be re-manned with completely new crews more frequently than in the old days of "running" commissions. Thus in September 1958 under a Flag Officer Sea Training, special "shakedown" or settling in courses lasting seven weeks were started to train the crews of newly commissioned ships in operating their equipment and give them experience in dealing with every eventuality likely to be met with in subsequent service at home and abroad."

Portland was the selected location and by the time Hampshire wrote in the early 1970s, "warships from other NATO and Commonwealth countries and from foreign navies" were undertaking the same courses of training.[4]

Originally operating out of Portland,[5] Flag Officer Sea Training moved to Plymouth in 1995 when Rear-Admiral John Tolhurst transferred his flag courtesy of HMS Iron Duke. FOST's superior officer changed from Flag Officer Surface Flotilla to Commander-in-Chief Fleet.[6]

As a result of the Royal Navy programme 'Fleet First', FOST became the single command responsible for all sea training. The submarine sea-training organisation came under FOST and surface ship training previously undertaken by Flag Officer Surface Flotilla and the squadron staffs also shifted to FOST.[7]

FOST operates a pair of Eurocopter Dauphin helicopters to allow its instructors to join vessels with minimal delay during intense training periods.[8] Plymouth Airport closed on 23 December 2011.[9] The aircraft operate from HMS Raleigh in Cornwall but are based at Newquay.[10]

As well as training Royal Navy personnel, it has also been an important source of revenue in training foreign naval crews to handle and fight their vessels, with around one third of its work used in this capacity.[8] FOST certifies crews and vessels as being sufficiently prepared for any eventuality through rigorous exercises and readiness inspections.

A March 2020 edition of Navy News noted that the Director People and Training took over the commands under FOST, namely BRNC Dartmouth, HMS Raleigh, Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, HMS Collingwood and HMS Temeraire.[11]

Training regime[edit]

The main training and testing period is called Basic Operational Sea Training (BOST), which typically lasts six weeks. It combines surveys of the physical condition of the ship with tests of the crew's readiness for deployment, including a weekly war-fighting and damage control scenario known as a 'Thursday War'. BOST thus has elements of the US Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) and Composite Training Unit Exercise assessments. When USS Forrest Sherman underwent a short version of BOST in 2012, comments from her sailors included "I've been through other exercises, inspections, and deployment and this was by far the hardest ... It was even more intense than INSURV".[12]

Commanders 1958 - 2020[edit]

Flag Officer Sea Training[edit]

Flag Officers Sea Training included:[13]

Flag Officer Sea Training and Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Training)[edit]

Post holders include:[14]

Commander Fleet Operational Sea Training[edit]

  • Commodore Andrew Stacey, circa June 2020[15]


  1. ^ a b "FOST Royal Navy". MOD, 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Who is the new Flag Officer Sea Training" (PDF). Whatdotheyknow. 27 April 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020. In response to your request, I can advise you that the title Flag Officer Sea Training will cease to exist on 1 May 2020 and is replaced by the 1* post of Commander Fleet Operational Sea Training
  3. ^ A. Cecil Hampshire (1975). The Royal Navy Since 1945. London: William Kimber & Co. Ltd. p. 176. ISBN 0718300343.
  4. ^ A. Cecil Hampshire, "The Royal Navy Since 1945," 1975, 176.
  5. ^ Navy marks 50th year of world-renowned training Archived September 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Joris Janssen Lok, 'FOST: Preparing the RN's ships for action,' Jane's Defence Weekly, 15 July 1995, p.31
  7. ^ Richard Scott, Jane's Defence Weekly January 2005, 27.
  8. ^ a b FOST page at
  9. ^ BBC Devon - Plymouth Airport Closed - 23 Dec 2011
  10. ^ "This is Plymouth - FOST Helicopters Move - 21 Dec 2011". Archived from the original on 12 January 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  11. ^ "Integrating the way we work". Navy News. 31 March 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  12. ^ "American warship put to the ultimate test by Royal Navy trainers". Navy News. 26 April 2012.
  13. ^ Mackie, Colin. "Senior Royal Navy Appointments from 1865: Flag Officer, Sea Training" (PDF). Gulabin. Colin Mackie, p.245, January 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  14. ^ Mackie, Colin. "Royal Navy Senior Appointments from 1865" (PDF). Colin Mackie 2018. p.245. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  15. ^ Flag Officer Sea Training Organisation Renamed, UK Defence Journal, June 29, 2020.

Further reading[edit]

  • Richard Scott, 'Fighting fit: Briefing: Operational Sea Training,' Jane's Defence Weekly, 5 January 2005, 26–30.

External links[edit]