The largest naval flotilla assembled by Britain in recent years will set sail in May on a months’ long voyage through the Pacific, the country’s Defence Ministry said. “When our Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 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,” UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Monday.
The strike group will be led by the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, marking its maiden deployment. The ship, one of the UK’s two aircraft carriers, is the largest warship the UK has ever sent to sea. Joining the carrier will be two destroyers, two anti-submarine frigates, a submarine and two auxiliary supply ships, a ministry statement said. The UK Carrier Strike Group will carry out engagements with the navies of India and Japan, who are in dispute over land and sea borders respectively with Beijing, as well as the navies of South Korea and Singapore. All four countries being visited are considered the west’s allies in countering what is seen as China’s expansionist strategy in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.