Britain’s deadliest fleet of warships gather in North Sea in huge show of force
Britain’s deadliest fleet of warships in 20 years has gathered in the North Sea in a massive show of force against Russia and China.
The UK Carrier Strike Group – plus warships, fighter jets and helicopters from the US and the Netherlands – is practising for high seas warfare.
At the centre of the heavily-armed flotilla is our biggest-ever warship the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth laden with top of the range American and British F-35B fighter jets.
The carrier was the dream child of British politicians in the late 1990’s, took 24 years of planning and building and now she is set for her first major high seas mission some time next year.
She and nine other warships, 15 fighter jets, 11 helicopters and a staggering 3,000 troops from the UK, US and the Netherlands started the NATO exercise Joint Warrior.
RAF quick-alert Typhoon fighters are on high-alert to be scrambled in case Russia deploys its long-range bomber spy planes to the area to monitor the carrier’s capabilities.
It is also believed UK anti-submarine surveillance craft and a British submarine may be deployed in the area to try and detect Russian underwater craft.
The strike group is the largest and most-powerful European-led maritime force in almost two decades and is aimed at projecting UK influence globally in the face of growing threats.
Its Royal Navy commander, Commodore Steve Moorhouse said:
“The new UK Carrier Strike Group is the embodiment of British maritime power, and sits at the heart of a modernised and emboldened Royal Navy.
“Protected by a ring of advanced destroyers, frigates, helicopters and submarines, and equipped with fifth generation fighters, HMS Queen Elizabeth is able to strike from the sea at a time and place of our choosing; and with our NATO allies at our side, we will be ready to fight and win in the most demanding circumstances.
“Carrier Strike offers Britain choice and flexibility on the global stage; it reassures our friends and allies and presents a powerful deterrent to would-be adversaries.”
The Carrier Strike Group includes NATO’s most sophisticated destroyers – the Royal Navy’s Type 45s HMS Diamond and HMS Defender and US Navy Arleigh Burke-class USS The Sullivans as well as frigates HMS Northumberland and HMS Kent from the UK and the Dutch Navy’s HNLMS Evertsen.
They will not only protect the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers from enemy ships, submarines, aircraft and missiles, but are also capable of conducting a range of supporting missions, from maritime security to disaster relief.
Two British Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships, RFA Tideforce and RFA Fort Victoria, will supply fuel, food, spares and ammunition, to enabled sustained operations from the sea.
Commander Vince Owen, Commanding Officer of HMS Defender, said: “Providing air and missile defence to a Carrier Strike Group is exactly the task HMS Defender and the Type 45 has been designed to do.
“Having previously supported the French aircraft carrier FGS Charles de Gaulle in the fight against Islamic State in 2015 and more recently been part of the USS Abraham Lincoln task group as she transited through the Strait of Hormuz last year, it is exciting to be integrating HMS Defender into the UK-led Carrier Strike Group for the first time.
“The men and women that make up my ship’s company are motivated and ready to take part in the next stage of our training in preparation for deploying with the Carrier Strike Group next year.”
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