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British Navy plans to deploy next year aircraft carrier strike group near Japan with HMS Queen Elizabeth


According to information published by the Japanese Kyodo News website on December 6, 2020, the British Royal Navy plans to deploy early next year an aircraft carrier strike group including the aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth to waters near Japan.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 British Royal Navy HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier. (Picture source Wikimedia)


During this deployment, the British Royal Navy aircraft carrier strike group with the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier will conduct joint exercises with the U.S. military and Japan's Self-Defense Forces during its stay in areas including off the Nansei Islands chain in southwestern Japan.

During the deployment, the British navy also plans to conduct maintenance on carrier-based F-35B stealth fighter jets at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.'s aerospace systems works in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan.

The UK Carrier Strike Group (UKCSG) is a carrier battle group of the British Royal Navy. The size and composition of the UKCSG vary depending on operational requirements which are decided upon during operational planning. It typically consists of a Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, two surface escorts (with one being a Type 23 frigate for anti-submarine warfare and the other being a Type 45 destroyer for anti-air warfare), a submarine, and a fleet tanker.

In the future, escort duties will also be provided by the Royal Navy's new Type 26 frigate. For replenishment-at-sea, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary provides its Tide-class fleet tankers, which were specially designed to refuel the aircraft carriers, in addition to RFA Fort Victoria for dry stores.

The Queen Elizabeth is a class of two aircraft carriers of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy which are the central components of the UK Carrier Strike Group. The lead ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was named on 4 July 2014 and she was commissioned on 7 December 2017.

The Carrier Air Group (CAG) of the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier consists of a maximum of 24 F-35Bs that will operate from each carrier under normal circumstances, with the ability to operate 36 in extreme circumstances. Fourteen Merlin HM2 naval helicopters will be available with typically nine in anti-submarine configuration and four or five with Crowsnest for airborne early warning. A mix of Royal Navy Commando Helicopter Force Merlin HC4, Wildcat AH1, RAF Chinook transports, and Army Air Corps Apache attack helicopters can also be included in the CAG.