Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East and Chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, has called for HMS Queen Elizabeth to be redeployed to the Indian Ocean to assist with the Afghanistan evacuation.
“RE-TASK OUR CARRIER. As Kabul falls & with the threat picture changing fast – the Queen Elizabeth should return to the Indian Ocean so our F35’s can help with the evac if required. Little point in having such hard power if it’s in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
RE-TASK OUR CARRIER
As Kabul falls & with the threat picture changing fast – the Queen Elizabeth should return to the Indian Ocean so our F35’s can help with the evac if required.
— Tobias Ellwood MP (@Tobias_Ellwood) August 15, 2021
Some are not convinced this is a good idea, however.
Whilst I’d support your call to recall parliament and the liked; this is a bit of a pointless demand, Afghanistan being landlocked we’d need overflying rights of say Pakistan, unless we’re going to violate someone’s airspace. It’d also add over 800km to a sortie round trip.
— An Unimportant Officer (@UnimportantO) August 15, 2021
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.
The Royal Navy say that the UK’s Carrier Strike Group will visit more than one fifth of the world’s nations. Led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, the task group will visit 40 nations including India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore in a deployment covering 26,000 nautical miles.
“While in the Pacific, ships from the Carrier Strike Group will mark the 50th anniversary of the Five Powers Defence Agreement between Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the UK by taking part in Exercise Bersama Lima. Joining HMS Queen Elizabeth on her maiden deployment are destroyers HMS Diamond and Defender; frigates HMS Richmond and Kent; an Astute-class submarine in support below the waves; and Royal Fleet Auxiliary support ships RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tidespring.
More than 30 aircraft will also embark across the task group including F-35 jets from 617 Squadron, the Dambusters, and the US Marine Corps’ VMFA-211; Wildcat helicopters from 815 Naval Air Squadron and Merlin helicopters from 820 and 845 Naval Air Squadrons. Royal Marines from 42 Commando will also deploy with the carrier. Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen and American Arleigh Burke destroyer USS The Sullivans are also part of the strike group.”
Currently however, HMS Diamond isn’t with the group after suffering a defect. You can read more about that here. HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group will also undertake anti-submarine exercises whilst in the Pacific region.