HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group has sailed into the Indian Ocean Region having recently transited the Suez Canal.
According to the Ministry of Defence here, following a series of successful engagements and operations in the Mediterranean it is now sailing East across the Indian Ocean towards India. It will then meet with ships from the Indian Navy to conduct routine maritime exercises.
The group recently met with some American vessels.
The Ministry of Defence also say that HMS Queen Elizabeth leads six Royal Navy ships, a Royal Navy submarine, a US Navy destroyer and a frigate from the Netherlands in the largest concentration of maritime and air power to leave the UK in a generation.
It is equipped with the fifth generation F-35B Lightning multi-role aircrafts. They are being jointly crewed by the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and the US Marine Corps.
Currently however, HMS Diamond isn’t with the group after suffering a defect. You can read more about that here.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said in a news release:
“The UK Carrier Strike Group deployment is a major moment for UK defence as we develop this cutting edge capability across the globe. The group is sailing the Indian Ocean and will shortly conduct exercises with the Indian Navy, building on our already strong partnership with an important ally and friend. The deployment illustrates the UK’s enduring commitment to global defence and security, strengthening our existing alliances and forging new partnerships with like-minded countries as we face up to the challenges of the 21st century.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said:
“The Carrier Strike Group deployment marks the start of a new era of defence cooperation with allies in India and the Indo-Pacific. By visiting 40 countries and working alongside our partners, the UK is standing up for democratic values, seizing new trading opportunities and tackling the shared threats we face together. The deployment will interact with India, strengthening our already deep ties for the benefit of both our peoples’ security and prosperity.”
British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, said:
“The Carrier Strike Group is a powerful demonstration of our commitment to the security of India and the Indo-Pacific. Its arrival follows the UK’s first International Liaison Officer joining the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region in Gurugram. Today marks another step towards delivering the ambition set out jointly by our Prime Ministers in the 2030 Roadmap, bringing our countries, economies and people closer together.”
What is the UK Carrier Strike Group doing?
HMS Queen Elizabeth is the deployed flag ship for Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21), a deployment that will see the ship and her escorts sail to the Asia-Pacific and back. 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.
CSG21 will see the carrier along with her Strike Group work with over 40 countries from around the world. The Strike Group will operate and exercise with other countries Navies and Air Forces during the 7 month deployment.
Recently, the Strike Group joined coalition operations in the Eastern Mediterranean; an historic milestone as British and American F-35B strike fighters flew the first operational missions from a Queen Elizabeth-class carrier, as they stood ready to strike at Daesh.
Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group, said:
“The Carrier Strike Group’s period working with our NATO partners in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Seas offers unmistakable proof that the United Kingdom’s most important overseas defence commitment remains the security of the Euro-Atlantic region. While HMS Queen Elizabeth launched counter-Daesh missions over Iraq and Syria from the Eastern Mediterranean, HMS Defender and HNLMS Evertsen were conducting concurrent operations 1600 miles away in the Black Sea – true strategic reach.
Meanwhile, our programme of defence engagement involved a huge amount of work in support of British Embassies and High Commissions, but from Alicante to Alexandria and Bar to Batumi, the message was the same: Britain’s friends and allies are delighted to see the Royal Navy back in town. Now we head east, towards the rising economies of the Indo-Pacific. From the Strait of Gibraltar to the Strait of Malacca, CSG21 offers unprecedented influence and engagement in support of Global Britain.”