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 Alex Burton

since 2016
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 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[edit]

COMUKMARFOR directs COMUKTG (who commands the Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime)) and COMUKCSG.[1][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 March 2015, the COMUKTG title will be changed to Commander Amphibious Task Group – COMATG – demonstrating the core role provided by the RFTG.[4] With the commissioning of the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers, the role of Commander Carrier Strike Group - COMCSG - has been revived again.[5][6]


The Commander UK Maritime Forces is a renaming of a previous position, Commander United Kingdom Task Group.[7] Despite the name change, he still performs the same function. He is in command (at sea) of naval task forces and task groups formed for specific operations. The commander would command the UK Amphibious Task Group. Previously, there was also Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group (COMUKCSG);[8] however, with the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, this has been removed.[9] The new Commander UK Task Group (COMUKTG) specialises in maritime security.[7][dead link] The UK Amphibious Task Group was renamed as Response Force Task Group as a result of the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review.[7][dead link][10][11]

COMUKMARFOR took on the duty of NATO Response Force Maritime Component Commander from 1 July 2004 for one year. Rear Admiral David Snelson, COMUKMARFOR, told Jane's Defence Weekly correspondent Richard Scott in May 2004 that in the lead up to assumption of duties as NATO Response Force Maritime Component Commander, there was to be a major exercise, Allied Action, in Italy. Allied Action was a command post exercise in which all three of the component commanders for NRF were to be located ashore so that the staffs could work together and the commanders could get to know one another.[12]

Past operational deployments directed by COMUKMARFOR[edit]

Commodore Cunningham, the previous COMUKCSG, flew his flag throughout the January to May Orion '08 deployment, as Commander Task Group 328.01,[13] 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.[14] 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[edit]

Commanders have been as follows:[15]

Deputy Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces[edit]

  • Commodore Simon Ancona (Jan 2011 – Jun 2011)
  • Commodore John Clink (Jun 2011 – Oct 2012)[16]
  • Commodore Jeremy Blunden (Oct 2012 – Feb 2015)[17]
  • Commodore Guy Robinson (Feb 2015–2016)[18][dead link]


  1. ^ "Fleet Bridge Card" (PDF). Royal Navy. 28 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "The Navy Directory 2016" (PDF). Royal Navy. 8 August 2017. 
  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. 
  5. ^ "UK Carrier Strike Group takes shape for HMS Queen Elizabeth". Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  6. ^ "Letter from Ministry of Defence" (PDF). 27 October 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c Fleet Battle Staff: History Archived 13 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Royal Navy: Bridge Card Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Royal Navy: Bridge Card February 2011
  10. ^ Royal Navy: Commander United Kingdom Task Group Archived 11 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Royal Navy: New Admiral visits Archived 12 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ JDW 19 May 2004, p.28
  13. ^ Richard Scott, 'ASW Resurfaces,' Jane's Defence Weekly, Volume 45, Issue 24, 11 June 2008, p.25
  14. ^ "Exercise Green Eagle – Sierra Leone". Archived from the original on 12 November 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  15. ^ Royal Navy Senior Appointments Archived 15 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ Promotions Defence View Points
  17. ^ Indian Warship Arrives In Portsmouth Archived 19 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ "Guy Robinson". Retrieved 8 March 2015. 

External links[edit]