UK’s Carrier Strike Group warship at Mumbai coast for joint exercises with Indian Navy

Information sharing and interoperability with the Indian Navy will be the Royal Navy’s focus during these joint exercises
A F-35B fighter jet prepares to land on the flight deck of UK Carrier Strike Group’s HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Arabian Sea, off Mumbai coast on October 21, 2021. (Punit Paranjpe/AFP)
A F-35B fighter jet prepares to land on the flight deck of UK Carrier Strike Group’s HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Arabian Sea, off Mumbai coast on October 21, 2021. (Punit Paranjpe/AFP)
Published on Oct 22, 2021 12:51 AM IST
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ByManish K Pathak, Mumbai

The Carrier Strike Group (CSG21) of the United Kingdom, headed by 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth, has anchored around 50 miles from Mumbai Port for joint exercises with the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean. Information sharing and interoperability with the Indian Navy will be the Royal Navy’s focus during these joint exercises.

Interacting with the mediapersons on board HMS Queen Elizabeth, Commodore Steve Moorhouse of the Royal Navy said, “We are visiting around 40 countries and will return to the UK in December. The focus will be on inter-operability and communication comparability with the Indian Navy for future joint operations. We are looking at being able to quickly and seamlessly share data with Indian ships and jets”.

“CSG’s collaboration with India will build a strong relationship and also strengthen the military collaboration. Perceived as part of the UK-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, the aircraft carrier will also host members of the scientific, trade and corporate community in the next few days, as part of the exercise for building a friendly relationship between India and the UK,” added Commodore Moorhouse, who heads CSG.

The aircraft carrier started sailing in May and had already visited Japan, South Korea and Singapore on its first journey as a central representation of the Indo-Pacific tilt in the UK’s foreign policy. She had also sailed to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the East African coast.

“We will be travelling thousands of miles and from a military perspective, it is very important in the 20th century because information sharing is one of the key points. Nearly one third of the Royal Navy’s deployment will be in the Indo-Pacific region and 10% of the time will be spent exercising with the Indian Navy,” said Commodore Moorhouse.

“We want the countries to come together, and India, the UK, Japan and many other countries in the region are maritime trading nations. We believe in free flow of trade, and trade is in the DNA of India and the UK. We have a common operating procedure and can come together,” he added.

CSG consists of 40 aircrafts, including F-35B lightning strike fighters on board, and is also accompanied by Royal Navy ships, a submarine armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, naval helicopters and a company of Royal Marines, together with a tailored mix of merlin, wildcat, Chinook and Apache helicopters. The carrier also fitted with a close-in weapon system and force protection machine guns.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first aircraft carrier in the world designed from the outset to operate fifth generation combat aircrafts. Crucially, a second ship, HMS Prince of Wales, is also in commission, meaning one carrier is always available for operations. At 65,000 tonnes, each carrier can field more than two dozen F-35B strike fighters, operated jointly by the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, as well as by UK’s partners in the United States Marine Corps. CSG can also deliver cruise missiles, attack helicopters and naval gunfire. This formidable striking power offers reassurance to friends and allies while deterring would-be aggressors.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021