HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Carrier Strike Group deployment will feature visits to India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore.

According to the Ministry of Defence, on the 28-week deployment spanning 26,000 nautical miles the Carrier Strike Group will conduct engagements with Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan and India as part of the UK’s tilt towards the Indo-Pacific region.

Additionally, ‘CSG21’ will participate in NATO exercises such as Exercise Steadfast Defender, and provide support to NATO Operation Sea Guardian and maritime security operations in the Black Sea.

HMS Queen Elizabeth at sea with a mix of British and American jets.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“When our Carrier Strike Group sets sail next month, it will be flying the flag for Global Britain – projecting our influence, signalling our power, engaging with our friends and reaffirming our commitment to addressing the security challenges of today and tomorrow. The entire nation can be proud of the dedicated men and women who for more than six months will demonstrate to the world that the UK is not stepping back but sailing forth to play an active role in shaping the international system of the 21st Century.”

The Carrier Strike Group.

Units from the Carrier Strike Group are expected to visit more than 40 countries and undertake over 70 engagements, say the Ministry of Defence.

“HMS Queen Elizabeth, the most powerful surface vessel in the Royal Navy’s history, will next month set sail as the flagship of a Carrier Strike Group. Joining her will be a surface fleet of Type 45 destroyers, HMS Defender and HMS Diamond, Type 23 anti-submarine frigates HMS Kent and HMS Richmond, and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tidespring. Deep below the surface, a Royal Navy Astute-class submarine will be deployed in support, armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Providing a cutting edge on the carrier’s flight deck will be eight state-of-the-art RAF F-35B Lightning II fast jets. Alongside will be four Wildcat maritime attack helicopters, seven Merlin Mk2 anti-submarine helicopters and three Merlin Mk4 commando helicopters – the greatest quantity of helicopters assigned to a single UK Task Group in a decade. And supporting below deck will be a company of Royal Marines Commandos. A US Navy destroyer, a frigate from the Netherlands and a squadron of US Marine Corps F-35B jets are also fully integrated.”

British Carrier Strike Group heading to Pacific this year

Additional remarks from the statement explain the “Indo-Pacific tilt”.

“CSG21 will be a truly global deployment, from the North Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific. In Parliament, the Defence Secretary will explain how it will help achieve the UK’s goal for deeper engagement in the Indo-Pacific region in support of shared prosperity and regional stability – a stated aim of the Government’s recently published Integrated Review into foreign, defence, security and development policy.

The forthcoming deployment will bolster already deep defence partnerships in the region, where the UK is committed to a more enduring regional defence and security presence. Ships from the Carrier Strike Group will participate in Exercise Bersama Lima to mark the 50th anniversary of the Five Powers Defence Agreement between Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Engagements in Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan and India will provide the opportunity for strengthening our security relationships, tightening political ties and supporting our UK exports and International Trade agenda.”

The carrier and her escorts will head to Scotland shortly for Exercise Strike Warrior to test her capabilities before heading to the Asia-Pacific.

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David
David
9 days ago

Shame she is not visiting Sri Lanka – geo-politically, a very important State.

barry white
barry white
9 days ago

I thought in all honesty that a visit by the group would be a good show of solidarity to Australia would have been in the program (or at least the carrier )

Jack
Jack
9 days ago
Reply to  barry white

And New Zealand. It seems disrespectful to sail all that way and not visit.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 days ago
Reply to  Jack

I’m sure I’d read visiting or working with assets of 40 countries total, meaning individual detachments away from the group. So who knows.

barry white
barry white
8 days ago

Daniele
Sorry i think i might have flagged your reply by accident

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 days ago
Reply to  barry white

No worries Barry.

Ian
Ian
7 days ago
Reply to  Jack

The full itinerary is classified, so the details released to the press are less than exhaustive.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
9 days ago
Reply to  barry white

There are not that many ports who can take a task group in one hit. Some of the the Ocean Wave group in 97 squeezed into Fremantle where we did Divisions (formation bimbling/walking to the sounds of a Marine band)…Illustrious (Death Star), Beaver, Richmond (Rebel alliance) T42 ( Gloucester) did a lot of port visits in Aus and New Zealand on its own when not doing TG exercises with the rest of the group which also had RFA s, the Royal Yacht and Fearless along for the ride. It was a great trip with some great visits…Highlight for us was… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by Gunbuster
DRS
DRS
8 days ago
Reply to  barry white

What is the return journey is that Via Pacific and Falklands or Via NZ/Oz and then back the way we came? Is the astute joining them in the Indian ocean with another supporting to Suez? or do Astute make transit too (I know some other submarines do)?

Chris
Chris
8 days ago
Reply to  barry white

I personally also thought it would be a good show of solidarity for the group to visit as many of the British Overseas Territories as it could while it was travelling. Just to show that we have got their backs if ever needed.

I’d love to hear/see what the residents of Pitcairn would make of an impromptu F35 display and a carrier group popping in to say hello.

Callum
Callum
8 days ago
Reply to  Chris

All sounds good in theory, but with so much of the active fleet committed to this I imagine the time constraints are pretty considerable and too many delays would unduly affect availability for operational tasks

Chris
Chris
7 days ago
Reply to  Callum

You’re quite right there Callum, I suppose it would be a ‘nice to have’ sort of thing but completely understand the reasons why it might not be practical.

Callum
Callum
7 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Would certainly be nice to have a dedicated “Flying Squadron”, effectively a unit specifically tasked with sailing around the world showing the flag. Not quite as easy when you’ve got less than two dozen escorts, but I reckon a T31, a B2 River, and RFA Wave Ruler (currently laid up) would make a solid enough group without unduly affecting commitments.

julian1
julian1
8 days ago

Is 617 SQN only 8 aircraft then or is it not going at full strength?

Gareth
Gareth
8 days ago

Be quite something if they linked up with a US CSG in the South China Sea as well. That would be quite a show of force, particularly if countries like Indonesia and Australi (and India) send along a ship or two as well. Effectively the international community demonstrating solidarity in the face of Chinese aggression in that region.

Matthias
Matthias
8 days ago

Will also sails with french CSG Charles de Gaulle in Med

David Fieldsend
David Fieldsend
8 days ago

I hope during this deployment, the SM displays the White and not Blue Ensign (as shown).

JohnM
JohnM
8 days ago

Only 7 Merlin for ASW and Crowsnest operations. Seems a bit light unless the 2 T23s are to embark additional Merlins?

JohnM
JohnM
8 days ago

Nope. Navy Lookout says 4 Wildcat will be embarked on T45 and T23, with 10 helos (7 Mk2 & 3 Mk4) and 18 F35 (10 US & 8 UK) on QNLZ. Still impressive for first operational deployment even if Merlins will be putting in a shift.

Ted
Ted
5 days ago

I think it’s great to see the Royal Navy exercising a Carrier Strike Group. Hope to see more fixed wing added to the mix as time progresses, strategies gel & logistics is sorted.

Believe having a squadron of US Marines (or Kiwis, Dutch, et al) is a genius solution – a rising tide lifts all vessels.