UK Carrier Strike Group: US Presence Changes 'Decision-Making Process' Of Adversaries

The Carrier Strike Group is set to deploy next month, travelling 26,000 nautical miles over 28 weeks.

A former Royal Navy commander has said the US involvement in the UK Carrier Strike Group deployment will change the "decision-making process" of adversaries.

American destroyer USS The Sullivans, 10 F-35 jets from the US Marine Corps' VMFA-211 Squadron and US marines are all deploying as part of the task group.

Retired Commander Tom Sharpe told Forces News it is "important to note" the Carrier Strike Group, led by aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, "is going to steam around with a US flag on the flight deck" which will deter potential enemies.

"Now, if you're an adversary, that is going to change your metric, that is going to change your decision-making process," he said. 

"And it provides that allied united front, which now I think is the way we want to present ourselves."

Cdr Sharpe said the US presence on the deployment "provides the exact sort of united front that we would want to present".

"I think even if we could go with a full deck of UK Joint Strike fighters, I'm not sure that we would," he said.

Watch: What we know about the Carrier Strike Group.

Cdr Sharpe added that while USS The Sullivans "can plug certain capability gaps… that's not why it is there".

"It's there to provide this combined united front," he said.

The Carrier Strike Group is set to deploy next month and will be the largest concentration of maritime and airpower to leave the UK in a generation.

It will travel 26,000 nautical miles over 28 weeks, visiting India, Japan, South Korea and Singapore as part of a greater strategic focus on the Indo-Pacific region.

Dutch warship HNLMS Evertsen will also deploy as part of the group and during the Mediterranean leg of the deployment, the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle will sail alongside HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Six Royal Navy ships, including Type 45 destroyers HMS Defender and HMS Diamond are also deploying, as well as an Astute-class submarine.

The vessels in the Strike Group will be supported by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary's RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tidespring.

Cover image: UK Carrier Strike Group during Exercise Joint Warrior last year (Picture: Royal Navy).