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US Aircraft Carrier Visits UK Amid Russian Threat

The commander of a US carrier strike group has said he is "comfortable" with the threat posed by Russia as the ship visits the UK.

The commander of a US carrier strike group has said he is "comfortable" with the threat posed by Russia as the ship visits the UK.

USS Harry S Truman moored in the Solent close to Portsmouth Naval Base to allow its 5,000 sailors to visit the local area with pubs, football matches and visits to historical attractions including HMS Victory and Stonehenge top of the agenda.

Earlier this year, the Commanding Officer of the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, Captain Jerry Kyd, described the Russian threat in the Atlantic as 'eye-watering'.

But Rear Admiral Eugene Black, commander of carrier strike group 8 of the US Navy, disagrees:

"They are professional mariners, good aviators, I am not sure I would go as far as eye-watering, I don't lose sleep over them.

"I'm not sure I want to go into describing the threat but I can say we bring a lot of combat power, and when you match it up with Queen Elizabeth in the near future and some of our other NATO partners, I am very, very comfortable at our ability to operate where we wish, when we wish."

HMS Queen Elizabeth (Picture: MoD).
The UK's aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is currently participating in flight trials off the coast of the United States (Picture: MoD).

Rear Admiral Black described his ship as a "pretty impressive symbol of power and flexibility".

Explaining his strike group's deployment strategy in response to Russia, he said:

"The best description is dynamic force deployment, so we are strategically predictable and operationally unpredictable.

"We are up here operating in the north Atlantic and I think it sends the best signal possible of our commitment to NATO, our partners in the region and how seriously we take our commitments in this part of the world."

The Royal Navy's aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is currently undergoing flight trials off the coast of the US and is due to become operational in 2020.

When asked about the carrier, Rear Admiral Black said: "We are absolutely thrilled to have the British back in the fixed wing and aviation business, they are absolute pros.

"I have operated with them many times and it's wonderful to have the Royal Navy sailing alongside you because they are as good as they come."

Last week, a US F-35B - the same aircraft that will operate from HMS Queen Elizabeth - crashed for the first time in South Carolina.

Last month, the F-35B landed on HMS Queen Elizabeth for the very first time. It's believed each stealth fighter jet costs £190 million.