Daily US Times: UK’s Defence Ministry said on Monday that the largest naval force assembled by Britain in recent years will set sail in May on a months’ long voyage through the Pacific.
UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Monday: “When our Carrier Strike Group (CSG) sets sail next month, it will be flying the flag for Global Britain — projecting our influence, signaling our power, engaging with our friends and reaffirming our commitment to addressing the security challenges of today and tomorrow.”
Wallace said the United Kingdom is not stepping back but sailing forth to play an active role in shaping the international system of the 21st century.
The CSG force will be led by the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, marking its maiden deployment. The ship is one of the UK’s two aircraft carriers and it is the largest warship the UK has ever sent to sea.
Joining the carrier will be two anti-submarine frigates, two destroyers, a submarine and two auxiliary supply ships.
The ministry statement said that a United States Navy guided-missile destroyer will sail with the group as well as a frigate from the Netherlands that will be tasked with air defense.
Air power within the group will be centered on RAF F-35B stealth fighters and US Marine Corps F-35Bs, all of which will fly from the deck of the 65,000-ton aircraft carrier.
Last fall, when a version of this carrier strike group sailed together during military exercises off Scotland, the Defense Ministry said it carried “the largest concentration of fighter jets to operate at sea from a Royal Navy carrier since HMS Hermes in 1983.”