HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group are visiting Singapore.
Launching from HMS Queen Elizabeth, F-35B Lightning jets took to the skies with the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s F-16 fighters yesterday. According to the Ministry of Defence:
“Exercising together in the international waters of the southern reaches of the South China Sea, the jets conducted simulated air combat training and formation flying. Meanwhile, ships from the UK Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and the Republic of Singapore Navy conducted a manoeuvring exercise in the international waters in the South China Sea. These activities kicked off the Strike Group’s engagements with Singapore, which will be led by flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth visiting the city-state tomorrow (11 October), as a demonstration of the deep and longstanding UK-Singapore relationship.
UK’s Minister for Asia, Amanda Milling and Royal Air Force (RAF) Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, are also in Singapore tomorrow, and will meet with senior military officials from Singapore onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. Amongst her engagements in Singapore, Minister Milling will also lead the UK’s contribution to a think-tank roundtable, covering themes of ASEAN, regional security and prosperity, and the UK’s role in the Indo-Pacific. Whilst onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Air Chief Marshal Wigston will receive an operational update from 617 Squadron detailing how the F-35 Lightning has been integrated and operated throughout the deployment.”
The Carrier Strike Group, which set off on its maiden operational deployment in May (2021), has sailed the Atlantic Ocean, through the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean to the Western Pacific – participating in a range of activities with partners and allies enroute.
“The deployment highlights the UK’s commitment to defending democratic values, enhancing defence and security cooperation and promoting free trade around the world – key themes in the UK Government’s Integrated Review, published earlier this year. While in Singapore, the crew onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth will host Singapore officials and industry leaders from a range of sectors – including defence and security, trade and business, and science and research – supporting the development of closer UK-Singapore cooperation and the UK’s engagement with the Indo-Pacific region.”
Singapore is one of over 40 countries which the Carrier Strike Group will visit or exercise with during its global deployment.
Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group, also said in a news release:
“The Carrier Strike Group’s deployment has been designed to recognise the importance of the region globally. The Group’s presence also demonstrates our support for the freedom of navigation passage through vital trading routes and our commitment to an international system of norms that benefits all countries.
So thank you Singapore for your support to the Carrier Strike Group’s deployment, for contributing to air exercises alongside our jets and supporting HMS Queen Elizabeth’s pit stop at Changi. We are proud to play our part in continuing to grow and deepen the Singapore-UK relationship.”
As part of its maiden operational deployment, the Carrier Strike Group will sail over 26,000 nautical miles, engaging with 40 countries from the Mediterranean to the Indo-Pacific and back again.
The Carrier Strike Group includes ships from the United States Navy, the Dutch Navy, and Marines from the US Marine Corps as well as air assets from 617 Sqn, 820 NAS, 815 NAS and 845 NAS.
Not pictured above is an Astute class submarine. The Carrier Strike Group was joined in the opening phase of the deployment by HMS Artful (which returned to Gibraltar after completing the opening phase), now another Astute class submarine (HMS Astute or HMS Ambush) has joined the group as pointed out by NavyLookout on Twitter.