First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones has told Forces News that “2018 has been an extraordinary year for the Royal Navy”.
‘Expanding maritime horizons’ was the Admiral’s goal in 2018 and Navy personnel have been deployed across the globe in the past year.
In an interview reflecting on the Senior Service’s year, he said: “We were considering our presence in the Asia Pacific region.
“Something we’ve established for the first time in a number of years with a rolling sequence of ships going through there, which has had a huge impact on our allies in the region.
“We also knew that we would have [HMS] Queen Elizabeth at sea for much of the year,” he continued.
He added that the flight trials of F-35B Lightning jets on the aircraft carrier were predicted to "attract a huge amount of attention in the United States and rightly so”.
He also mentioned that Exercises Saif Sareea in Oman and Trident Juncture in Norway drew 'almost all the available Royal Navy and Royal Marines’ high readiness capability':
"It was always likely to be a busy year and so it’s proved.”
He predicted that 2019 would be another busy year for the Senior Service, namechecking an upcoming joint deployment with Nordic nations in the Baltic.
The second of the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, HMS Prince of Wales, will also likely receive her ready to sea date sometime in the summer:
“It’ll be wonderful to show that with now two carriers at sea, we’re working up towards a continuous carrier strike capability.”
He ended the interview by thanking the Navy for their hard work:
“Whether you’re at home or deployed, I’d like to thank you all for everything you have done to make 2018 such a huge success.”