Royal Navy's HMS Queen Elizabeth is a 'formidable force' and could deal with Russian threat if needed

THE newly-formed Carrier Strike Group led by HMS Queen Elizabeth is a ‘formidable force’ and could act on the threat of Russia if needed.

Monday, 3rd May 2021, 11:26 am

HMS Queen Elizabeth and four other warships set sail from Portsmouth Harbour at the weekend for a seven-month deployment.

The vessels are forming a Carrier Strike Group designated CSG21, and will be joined by USS Sullivan from America and the Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen.

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Tearful goodbyes as HMS Queen Elizabeth sets sail from Portsmouth

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The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth passes the Round Tower as it leaves Portsmouth on May 1. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Now, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston has said the strike group gives the UK government everything it needs to handle any potential threat from Russia.

He said: ‘A couple of wise old admirals I was chatting to a few weeks ago said to me ‘never ever expect a carrier deployment to go to plan. Something will always come up’.

‘That’s very clear and valued advice. Anything is possible and the world is an increasingly unstable place.’

‘So the formidable force, the formidable air and maritime force that is the Carrier Strike Group as a whole, it provides absolute utility to the UK government to act should it need to.’

The Carrier Strike Group is set to make its way to the South China Sea, and will visit at least 40 countries on its deployment.

When asked whether he expected to intervene over rising tensions involving China, Sir Mike said he wanted to demonstrate the UK as a ‘problem-solving, burden-sharing nation active on the world stage’.

He told PA: ‘So through the Carrier Strike Group, through all of our activity in the region, we will amplify our influence with allies and groups of countries, and we will do that through deeper partnerships and deeper alliances.

‘We will work with a number of different air forces, a number of different navies as we progress through the deployment and that is to understand how they work, and they can understand how we work, so we work together.

‘And we demonstrate the United Kingdom is a problem-solving, burden-sharing nation active on the world stage.’

Accompanying HMS Queen Elizabeth will be a surface fleet made up 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.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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