September 7 (UPI) – The British Royal Navy has deployed patrol ships to the Indo-Pacific region as its newest aircraft carrier has started training exercises.
The warships MS Spey and Tamar have left HM Portsmouth Naval Base and are currently crossing the Atlantic en route to the Indo-Pacific, where they will operate for the foreseeable future in an effort to bolster the country’s presence, the Royal Navy British said Tuesday in a press release.
The ships’ five-year mission will take them from the eastern coasts of Africa to the west coast of the United States
“Two-thirds of the world is our playground,” Lt.Cmdr. Ben Evans, commanding officer of HMS Spey, said in a press release. “We’re going to places the Royal Navy hasn’t visited for a long time – it’s really exciting.”
Over the summer, HMS Queen Elizabeth passed through the South China Sea, a disputed body of water, where she was reportedly stalked by two Chinese Shang-class submarines armed with cruise missiles.
Both the MS Spey and the Tamar are equipped with 46 sailors, half of which will be exchanged from Britain every few weeks.
Up to 52 Royal Marines will join the ship’s crews, along with mission-specific equipment to provide humanitarian aid or to assist with evacuations.
The Royal Navy said the ships’ versatility made them “2,000 ton Swiss Army knives”.
HMS Prince of Wales also left Portsmouth for a series of exercises designed to fully operationalize Britain’s newest aircraft carrier, the Royal Navy. said monday.
The aircraft carrier will participate in Joint Warrior, the largest British military exercise off the Scottish coast.
Last year, 10 United States Marine Corps F-35B fighter jets arrived on the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth as part of the exercises.
HMS Prince of Wales will embark with four F-35Bs and Merlin helicopters. The ship will also participate for the first time with an air group of fast jets and helicopters operating side-by-side on its deck, Royal Navy officials said.
The ship was recently at sea for five days to provide an experience for reserve officer trainees, as well as for flight deck training which included a Merlin spearfishing helicopter from 814 Naval Air Squadron.
In the spring, the ship underwent intensive training that included a visit to Gibraltar and boarding an F-35 Lightning stealth fighter, officials said.
The carrier also completed operational tests that trained the 700 crew members on their ability to operate the vessel, fight fires, mechanical failures and other issues.