Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces

Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces (COMUKMARFOR) is a senior post in the Royal Navy.

Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces
Ensign of the Royal Navy
Rear Admiral Andrew Burns

since 2019
Ministry of Defence
Reports toFleet Commander
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
Term lengthNot fixed (typically 1–3 years)
Inaugural holderRear-Admiral, James Burnell-Nugent

The post is the highest seagoing command in the Royal Navy. Its role is to direct UK, Allied or Coalition maritime forces anywhere in the world.[1] Personnel within the command are always at short notice to deploy either at sea or on land, providing forces necessary for the task in hand. ..The Commander UK Maritime Forces may be in command at sea of naval task forces and task groups formed for specific operations..

It is part of the Fleet Battle Staff, reporting 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 Commander Littoral Strike Group (COMLSG), formerly Commander Amphibious Task Group, (COMATG), and Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group (COMUKCSG).[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.[1]

From Jan 2011 to Feb 2015, 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.[3] With the commissioning of the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers, the role of COMUKCSG has been revived again.[4][5]

In December 2017, the Navy Directory listed COMUKMARFOR as directing Commander UK Task Group and Commander UK Carrier Strike Group.[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]

COMATG was re-titled as COMLSG on 1 October 2019.[8]


The position of Commander UK Maritime Forces (COMUKMARFOR) was established on 1 December 1997, under the name of Commander United Kingdom Task Group (COMUKTG),[9] but was renamed to its current title in 2001.[10] 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 Amphibious Task Group (COMATG), the Commander of the United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group (COMCSG) and his one-star deputy[11] 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.[12]

In March 2015, this reorganisation was partially reversed when the post of COMUKTG reverted to its previous title of COMATG,[13] An officer was again appointed as COMCSG in preparation for the arrival of the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.[14]

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)[15] and as such has held the duty of NATO Response Force Maritime Component Commander on several occasions, including 2004, 2010, and 2016.[16]

Past operational deployments directed by COMUKMARFOR

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.[16]

Commodore Cunningham, the previous COMUKCSG, flew his flag throughout the January to May Orion '08 deployment, as Commander Task Group 328.01,[17] 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.[18] 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 partner members of the Five Power Defence Arrangements. In 2004, Exeter, Echo, RFA Diligence and RFA Grey Rover visited the Asia-Pacific region.

List of commanders

Commanders have been as follows:[19]

Deputy Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces

  • Commodore Simon Ancona (Jan 2011 – Jun 2011)
  • Commodore John Clink (Jun 2011 – Oct 2012)[20]
  • Commodore Jeremy Blunden (Oct 2012 – Feb 2015)[21]
  • Commodore Guy Robinson (Feb 2015–2016)[22]


  1. Commander UK Maritime Forces Archived 9 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. "The Navy Directory 2016" (PDF). Royal Navy. 8 August 2017.
  3. "New man at the helm of UK task force". 12 February 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  4. "UK Carrier Strike Group takes shape for HMS Queen Elizabeth". Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  5. "Letter from Ministry of Defence" (PDF). 27 October 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  6. "The Navy Directory" (PDF). Royal Navy. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  7. "Jane's – UK Amphibious Headquarters to Disappear in Merger". 20 April 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  8. Rosamond, Jon (11 September 2019). "DSEI: Royal Marines Embrace Littoral Strike and Prepare to Forward Deploy". USNI News. London. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  9. Navy News: Dec 97 Edition
  10. Fleet Battle Staff: History Archived 13 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  11. Royal Navy: Bridge Card Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  12. Royal Navy: Commander United Kingdom Task Group Archived 11 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  13. Royal Navy: New CO for Amphibious Task Group
  14. Royal Navy: New CO for Carrier Strike Group
  15. NATO: Command Structure
  16. Jane's Defence Weekly 19 May 2004, p.28
  17. Richard Scott, 'ASW Resurfaces,' Jane's Defence Weekly, Volume 45, Issue 24, 11 June 2008, p.25
  18. "Exercise Green Eagle – Sierra Leone". Archived from the original on 12 November 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  19. "Royal Navy Senior Appointments" (PDF). Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  20. Promotions Defence View Points
  21. Indian Warship Arrives In Portsmouth Archived 19 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  22. "Guy Robinson". Retrieved 8 March 2015.

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