August 5, 2021 – The next phase of a busy program at sea has begun for the UK’s Carrier Strike Group.
The task group led by Portsmouth-based carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has passed through the Strait of Malacca (between Malaysia and northern Indonesia), rendezvousing with a number of navies along the way.
Over the course of a few days, ships on the CSG deployment practiced maneuvering with the Royal Malaysian Navy and vessels from Singapore.
HMS Richmond also carried out training with a frigate from Thailand and their S-76B helicopter.
Meanwhile, Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker RFA Tidespring went alongside in Singapore to take on supplies.
Cdr Hugh Botterill, Commanding Officer of HMS Richmond, said: “HMS Richmond’s interaction with Thailand is an important part of the Carrier Strike Group 21 deployment, demonstrating the UK’s commitment to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) co-operation.
“The Indo-Pacific is critical to the UK’s economy and security, and HMS Richmond is proud to be playing our part in building regional partnerships, particularly as the UK seeks to become an ASEAN dialogue partner in the future.
“During our time in the vicinity of Phuket we completed an exercise with Royal Thai Navy frigate HTMS Kraburi and their S-76B helicopter. Though any direct engagement was curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we enjoyed this brief professional collaboration with our Thai colleagues.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth passed through the Strait of Malacca with Malaysian frigate KD Lekiu before meeting up with Singapore frigate RSS Intrepid, corvette Unity and landing platform dock Resolution.
Commander UK Carrier Strike Group Commodore Steve Moorhouse said: “The Royal Navy has huge affection for Singapore based on our history together, but Singapore is also a beacon of enterprise in a region that is growing in strategic importance.
“The arrival of the Carrier Strike Group in Southeast Asia is a clear sign that the UK is ready to work with friends and partners, new and old, to strengthen the security and freedoms upon which we mutually depend.
“We are grateful to Singapore for supporting an important logistics stop for RFA Tidespring as the Carrier Strike Group continues our program at sea.
“We look forward to working with Singapore again in the autumn for Exercise Bersama Gold, which marks the 50th Anniversary of the Five Power Defence Arrangements between the UK, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore.”
HMS Defender sailed ahead of the Carrier Strike Group to conduct defense engagement with Brunei. She has now re-joined the task group as it heads north.