According to The Times on July 14, 2020, British military leaders have planned to deploy the HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier to East Asia, to take part in a strategy to againts China’s increasingly aggressive behavior in area.
HMS Queen Elizabeth will participate in an exercise in East Asia with US and Japanese allies early next year.
In an interview with The Times, Chinese Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Liu Xiaoming asked the British government to cancel the plan to bring the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier to the Asia-Pacific region.
Liu said deploying aircraft carriers to the area would be “a very dangerous move”.
Introducing the new UK aircraft carrier
When began building the new generation Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, Britain dreamed of returning as a naval power. HMS Queen Elizabeth is the lead ship of this carrier class, the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom and capable of carrying up to 60 aircraft.
She is named in honour of the first Queen Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth I), and she is only the second Royal Navy vessel to carry the name of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first being the HMS Queen Elizabeth battleship of 1913.
The CVA-01 was to have been an HMS Queen Elizabeth-named aircraft carrier but this endeavor fell to naught. It can be said that the latest HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier is like a sea monster. When standing on the deck of this giant ship, one could not help but feel admired for her enormous size.
The Life of HMS Queen Elizabeth began in July 2007, the then Defence Secretary Des Browne, announced the order for two new carriers. At that time the first aircraft carrier was expected to be operational by 2015, but due to the financial crisis slowed down production and the contract for two Queen Elizabeth-class carriers was further extended to 2020.
The cost for the two new carriers has continued to increase and the final number after negotiation is £ 6.2 billion.
2017 was proclaimed to be the Year of the Royal Navy as it welcomed several new ships to the fleet. The Royal Navy reached a milestone when HMS Queen Elizabeth began sea trials in June, and media outlets, both British and international, have been closely tracking the ship since then. Local media have argued that this is the largest and costliest platform ever built for the British armed forces.
The original design of HMS Queen Elizabeth was intended to resemble the US modern carriers with catapult launch systems and arresting gear, but that has proven to be far too costly. After deciding to purchase the new American Lockheed F-35B Lightning II Short Take-Off and Vertical-Landing stealth strike fighter in 2012, the ship’s design was changed to suit the new situation.
A “ski-type” ramp at the bow is added to provide greater lift across a shorter runaway distance for the fighter. All flight activities and ship operations will be managed from an island superstructure placed on the starboard side of centerline.
The flight deck will be serviced by a pair of hangar elevators – one located between the two islands and the other aft of the rear island to keep the flight deck as clear of traffic as possible.
The flight deck will support all of the latest British helicopters for the purpose of at-sea resupply, special forces support and special mission requirements.
Powerplant and Performance
The Queen Elizabeth is significantly different from US Navy aircraft carriers. The ship is considerably smaller than the current generations of American carriers. She is not nuclear-powered, instead the Royal Navy chose conventional integrated electric propulsion.
The British ship are powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce Marine Trent MT30 48,000 horsepower gas turbine generators, two Wartsila 15,000 horsepower diesel generators and two 12,000 horsepower generators. Those engines generate electricity to turn two propellers that are powered by four 20 megawatt advanced induction motors, giving the ship a top speed of around 25 knots.
The carrier will have the capacity to carry a maximum of 36 F-35Bs and four Crowsnest airborne early warning helicopters according to the industry consortium that builds the ship.
In terms of overall dimensions, the Queen Elizabeth is visibly smaller than a Nimitz or Ford-class carrier. The British ship are roughly 920ft in length with a flight deck width of 280ft. While Queen Elizabeth currently displaces 65,000-tonnes, the ship could is designed with a growth margin so that she might eventually displace 70,000-tonnes as upgrades are added though her time in service.
To protect herself, the warship is equipped with advanced defense systems to counter the incoming aerial threats. This defense system consists of 3 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems, 4 30mm Automated Small Calibre Guns and Miniguns for use against fast attack craft.
She would be escorted into high risk areas by the Type 45 destroyer, which was made specially to fulfil this role. In lower risk situations, frigates or even patrol vessels may be used instead. It will carry 4 miniguns and 8 general purpose machine guns.
It can be said that HMS Queen Elizabeth is an investment in Britain’s security, prosperity and place in the world. She will provide a conspicuous presence on the global stage, sending a clear message of reassurance to their allies, as well as being a powerful deterrent and symbol of British influence.
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