A NEW fleet commander of the Royal Navy has been appointed in Portsmouth.
Vice Admiral Ben Key has been named as the new head of the fleet and deputy chief of naval staff.
Vice-Adm Key signed the official handover documents at a ceremony on the flight deck of HMS Dauntless in front of the ship’s company and family.
‘It is a great privilege to take command of the fleet, building on all that has been achieved by my predecessor,’ he said.
‘In recent years the sailors and marines of the naval service have consistently delivered success on operations.
‘I am determined to support the fleet to ensure it can continue to do so. In an uncertain world we must be ready and able to fight and win, and the men and women in the front line must be supported to do so. I very much look forward to playing my part in this.’
Vice-Adm Key joined the navy in 1984, qualifying as both helicopter aircrew and as principal warfare officer.
He has commanded four ships – minehunter HMS Sandown, Type 23 frigates HMS Iron Duke and HMS Lancaster and aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious.
More recently he was the Flag Officer Sea Training responsible for recruitment and training.
He will take up the role from outgoing fleet commander Vice-Adm Philip Jones who is to be promoted Admiral and appointed First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff in succession to Admiral Sir George Zambellas.