UK to send new aircraft carrier loaded with F35 jets into South China Sea
The United Kingdom will deploy its new aircraft carrier, loaded with two squadrons of F-35 aircraft into the politically-fraught South China Sea.
British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson confirmed in a speech that the Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth will sail into waters that are the subject of dispute between China and other nations.
At an address given to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, Williamson said Britain was the second largest investor in the region and it must display “hard power” and “lethality” to help protect interests.
The £3 billion ($3.9 billion) carrier’s outing will also sail into the Middle East and Mediterranean and will be officially a mixed U.K./U.S. deployment.
“Significantly British and American F-35s will be embedded in the carrier’s air wing. Enhancing the reach and lethality of our forces (and) reinforcing the fact that United States remains the very closest of partners,” Williamson said.
The U.K. defense minister did not confirm exact dates for the mission.
China has laid claim to almost all of the strategic South China Sea which is viewed as important for shipping lanes and potential resources.
United States destroyers USS Spruance and USS Preble sailed close to the Spratly Islands, territory disputed by China and the Philippines.
China claimed that the ships entered without official permission but a spokesman for the US Navy’s 7th Fleet told CNN that the operation was to “challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law.”
China is in the process of developing its own aircraft carrier capability, with currently only one considered combat-ready.
According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) the country could have as many as 6 carriers by the 2030s.
the United Kingdom will deploy its new aircraft carrier loaded with two squadrons of f-35b into the politically fraught South China Sea British defence minister Gavin Williamson confirmed in a speech that the Royal Navy's HMS Queen Elizabeth will sail into waters that are the subject of dispute between China and other nations at an address given to the Royal United Services Institute our Yoo si in London Williamson said Britain was the second largest investor in the region and it must display hard power and lethality to help protect interests the three billion pounds 3.9 billion dollars carriers outing will also sail into the Middle East and Mediterranean and will be officially a mixed UK US deployment significantly British and American f-35s will be embedded in the carrier's air wing enhancing the reaching the talent II of our forces reinforcing the fact that United States remains the very closest of partners Williamson said the UK defence minister did not confirm exact dates for the mission China has laid claim to almost all of this strategic South China Sea which is viewed as important for shipping lanes and potential resources United States destroyers USS Spruance and USS Preble sailed close to the Spratly Islands territory disputed by China and the Philippines China claimed that the ships entered without official permission but a spokesman for the US Navy's 7th Fleet told CNN that the operation was to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law China is in the process of developing its own aircraft carrier capability with currently only one considered combat ready according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies IISS the country could have as many as six carriers by the 2030s [Applause] [Applause] US Air Force b-52h stratofortress bombers flew over the South and East China Seas China has previously bristled at u.s. bomber flights in the region calling them provocative Beijing has lashed out multiple times in recent months over us freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea in Taiwan straight transits conducted by the US Navy to b-52h stratofortress bombers took off from Andersen Air Force Base Guam and participated in routine training missions the US Pacific affairs told ABC News explaining that while one bomber conducted training in the vicinity of the South China Sea the other trains near Japan in cooperation with the US Navy and Japanese forces online fly tracking data for the flights indicates that one flew near the Philippines while the other conducted operations around Japan the last time the US Air Force sent bombers through the South China Sea was in November the u.s. repeatedly sent bombers through the area last year the b-52 bombers stationed in Guam are there in support of the u.s. air force's continuous bomber presence CBP mission intended to deter any country with adversarial intentions Baumer flights over the South and East China Seas are perceived as challenges to China which has attempted to assert its dominance over the strategic waterways the US has in the past sent bombers to Korea and the show have forced to the north in the wake of hostile actions as it does with US Navy freedom of navigation operations Beijing has previously criticized u.s. bomber flights over the South and East China Seas calling them provocative the US has conducted to freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea this year and the US Navy has also twice sent us warships through the Taiwan Strait in response China has issued warnings urging to steer clear of these areas and even flexed its muscles by showing off its anti-ship weaponry such as the carrier killer DF 26 intermediate range ballistic missile b-52 bombers are high-flying heavily armed aircraft some are nuclear capable bombers while others have been denuclearized it is unclear whether the b-52 bombers flying above contested waterways are nuclear capable aircraft in the first US f-35b s dropped guided bombs on practice targets during the military exercise at sea in Asia this week f-35b Finers the US Marine Corps short takeoff and vertical landing very end of the supersonic fifth-generation f-35b lightning – Joint Strike Fighter conducted bomb drops from the wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Wasp LHD won in the Philippine and East China Seas this week according to a statement by the US Indo Pacific Command the aircraft armed with Katan 9x air-to-air missiles dropped laser-guided guided bomb units gvu -12 paveway is in satellite guide of gbu 32 s the gbu-12 and gbu 32 are general purpose bombs waiting 510 pounds 230 kilograms in 1013 pounds 460 kilograms respectively we conducted these missions by launching from the USS Wasp engaging role-player adversary aircraft striking simulated targets with internally and externally mounted precision guided munitions returning to the wasp and recovering via a vertical landing a niche capability of the f-35b Lieutenant Colonel Michael round read the f-35b detachment officer in charge aboard the USS wasp this was the first time that this level of training has been performed by an operationally deployed f-35b detachment it was the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit the f-35b conducted its first close air support strike in Afghanistan last September dropping two gbu 32 joint direct attack munition JD AM weapon fitted on an external weapon pod of the fighter the f-35b took off from the wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex cruising in the Arabian Sea notably the unit price for the f-35b recently went down according to Lockheed Martin Japan is expected to procure dozens of f-35 GS in the coming years the USS Wasp is the size of a small aircraft carrier and can carry around 31 military aircraft including the Avenue 8b Harrier is mh-60s Night Hawk helicopters a h1 Z Viper helicopters and mv-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft in 2017 the wasp was retrofitted to be able to accommodate six f-35 BS the amphibious assault ship and its escort and support vessels conducted a cooperative deployment with the Japan maritime self-defense force amphibious transport dock jsq nayaki in the East China Sea in January the exercise was meant to test the ability of both ships to maneuver and communicate with one another the USS Wasp expeditionary Strike Group ESG arrived at the naval port of Sasebo Japan in January 2018 replacing its sister ship USS BONHOMME RICHARD as the biggest forward deployed amphibious assault ship in the US Navy's 7th fleet the leadership of the US Navy's newest class of amphibious assault ships the 45,000 ton USS America designated landing helicopter assault la j6 will deploy to Japan by May 2019 to replace the USS Wasp the USS America can reportedly carry up to nine f-35 BS