New British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth stops in Singapore

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Britain’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, stopped in Singapore on Monday as part of a move to reassert itself on the global stage and increase its military presence in Asia.

HMS Queen Elizabeth led the British carrier strike group in exercises with the Singapore military over the weekend, including naval maneuvers and simulated combat training with F-35B stealth fighters and F-16 jets, according to Reuters, October 12, 2021.

Britain plans to permanently station two warships in Asian waters, where the United States and Western allies seek to contain China’s militarization and island-building in the South China Sea, waters vital to the movement of trillions of dollars of global trade.

“Our recent integrated review highlighted the importance of the Indo-Pacific and the UK’s intention to scale up a much more robust presence here,” the commander of the UK’s fleet fighter group, Commodore Steve Moorhouse, told Reuters aboard the new 65,000-ton vessel.

“This is a better way to show it, by deploying HMS Queen Elizabeth here for its first operations,” he said.

The Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is towed by tug as it arrives at Portsmouth Naval Base, England August 16, 2017. [REUTERS / Peter Nicholls]

Singapore is one of more than 40 countries that will be in contact with the British combat force fleet through visits or exercises, according to a British government statement.

Britain, like China, now has two aircraft carriers, compared to the United States’ 11. The US$4 billion HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest warship built by the British military and is roughly three football fields or 274 meters long.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth traveled to Japan last month to mark the start of a permanent military presence as the United States, Britain and Australia agreed to the trilateral regional defense pact, AUKUS.

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