British carrier strike group conducts passage exercise with Singapore navy

RSS Resolution, seen from the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth. On the deck are US Marine Corps F-35B planes. PHOTO: BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) on Monday (July 26) held an exercise with a British carrier strike group for the first time.

The passage exercise took place in international waters in the southern reaches of the South China Sea, and involved eight ships, including three from Singapore.

This is the first time the Royal Navy's carrier strike group, which passed through the Singapore Strait on Monday, has been deployed to the Asia-Pacific region.

The group is expected to visit more than 40 countries as part of a 28-week global deployment which started in May.

It is led by the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, and will next undertake a series of multinational exercises in the Philippine Sea. It will return to Singapore later in the year, said the British High Commission in Singapore in a statement.

High Commissioner Kara Owen added that the carrier strike group's presence is another element in the strategic approach to the South-east Asia region, alongside engagement with Asean and other activities in support of trade and economic development.

"Our joint exercise showcases our navies' ability to operate effectively together, underscoring the deep and strong defence and security partnership," she said in the statement.

An article published on Tuesday by the RSN said that frigate RSS Intrepid, littoral mission vessel RSS Unity, and landing ship tank RSS Resolution had conducted communication and manoeuvring exercises with the Royal Navy vessels.

The RSN conducts such exercises regularly with foreign navies to enhance mutual understanding and strengthen friendship with other navies, it said.

"These professional interactions at sea have enabled the RSN to keep our ties warm with our navy counterparts, especially amidst the ongoing Covid-19 situation."

(From left) HMS Queen Elizabeth, RSS Resolution, RSS Intrepid, and RSS Unity. PHOTO: BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION SINGAPORE

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