US Navy Rear Admiral Kenneth Whitesell praised HMS Queen Elizabeth saying the vessel would ease stress on the US fleet.
Speaking from the bridge of the USS George H.W. Bush, the Read Admiral was quoted in Portsmouth today:
“We have been fighting essentially since 1991 with Desert Storm and Desert Shield. So both the metal side of that – our hardware as well as our software, our human beings – have been worn out over the last decade.
To be able to bring Queen Elizabeth as well as the Prince of Wales in is going to be an incredible game-changer for us because now we can share some of that responsibility.
This is a world game-changer, it’s a good for the “good guys” and it’s not too good for the bad guys.”
The USS George H.W. Bush has UK personnel on board as part of the UK-US Long Lead Specialist Skills Programme which the Royal Navy say qualifies them in US carrier operations in preparation for the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Exercise Saxon Warrior will take place between the 1st and 10th of August and will be delivered by the Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff from Faslane.
Commodore Andrew Benton, Commander UK Carrier Strike Group said:
“Exercise Saxon Warrior is a large, multinational joint exercise which involves fifteen warships from five different nations, submarines, over 100 aircraft and about 9,000 personnel,” said Cdre Betton.
The UK contribution will be two Type 23 frigates supporting the US aircraft carrier, a Royal Navy submarine, the Carrier Strike Group UK battle staff, fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft operating from ashore, and then the central training staff who will based in Faslane in Scotland.”
Colonel Phil Kelly, Royal Marines is the COMUKCSG Strike Commander said:
“This exercise is a great demonstration of the UK’s relationship with the United States who are helping us in getting back our carrier strike capability and making a success of the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier programme.”
According to the Royal Navy, the Type 23 frigates taking part in Saxon Warrior will be HMS Iron Duke and HMS Westminster who will be joined by Royal Fleet Auxiliary fast fleet tanker Wave Ruler.
As we reported in January, Saxon Warrior is an exercise designed to develop ‘theatre-specific combat skills’ as well as enhance cooperation between multi-national forces.
Led by Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST), Saxon Warrior presents a ‘myriad of challenges to the multi-national and multi-platform force by creating a diverse and unpredictable war environment based on fictional geo-political and military scenarios’.
Cmdr Eric Retz, US Navy Carrier Strike Group 2’s operations officer, said of the exercise:
“Saxon Warrior will test every aspect of our war-fighting capabilities-from air wing strikes to the self-defence of the carrier.
The beauty of operating with coalition partners is that we practice with them, learn their strengths, and then blend those strengths together to make the most potent coalition force possible.”
Source: UK Defence Journal.