So Near But Yet So Far

SHAH ALAM: So near but yet so far. If you are reading Malaysian Defence you are probably interested in military news and affairs. Your interest may not only be limited to Malaysian defence news and it is likely that you are aware the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and its carrier strike group will be visiting Southeast Asia as part of its Asia Pacific tour.

The carrier strike group was previously in the Bay of Bengal where the latest report said it took part in a two-day exercise with the Indian Navy.

INS Satpura, INS Ranvir and INS Jyoti on HMS Queen Elizabeth during the exercise. HMS QE picture

From USNI News:

KUALA LUMPUR – The British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (RO8) and its carrier strike group carried out a two-day exercise called Exercise Konkan with the Indian Navy from July 21 to 22 in the Bay of Bengal. The exercise was designed to hone the ability of the two navies to operate together in the maritime domain, according to an Indian Ministry of Defence release. The exercise included anti-submarine warfare, anti-air and anti-surface warfare drills.

The exercise involved the Indian destroyer INS Ranvir (D54) frigate INS Satpura (F48), corvettes INS Kavaratti (P31) and INS Kulish (P63), oiler INS Jyoti (A58) and an unnamed Indian Navy submarine, as well as a P-8I Poseidon aircraft. The U.K. Carrier Strike Group CSG 21 includes Type 23 anti-submarine frigates HMS Richmond (F239) and HMS Kent (F78); Type 45 guided-missile destroyer HMS Defender (D36); Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tidespring; U.S. destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG-68); Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen (F805); and the nuclear attack boat HMS Artful (S121). U.S. Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 is embarked with the air group along with the Royal Air Force’s 617 Squadron “The Dambusters.”

Earlier on July 19, during U.K. Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace’s visit to Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii, Wallace announced via press release that the U.K. Carrier Strike Group would conduct a series of multinational exercises with global allies in the Philippine Sea in August.

Indian navy ships as they sailed along side HMS Queen Elizabeth

Unfortunately due to the pandemic the carrier strike group is not expected to make a port visit in Malaysia, I was told. This is also be the same for the FPDA Exercise Bersama Lima scheduled this October, even though Malaysia is hosting the exercise this year. Barring any last minute changes, unfortunately, we will have to cover the exercise, remotely.

The Indian Navy ships sailed together with HMS Queen Elizabeth.

— Malaysian Defence

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