Queen Elizabeth II has visited a Royal Navy aircraft carrier named after just prior to the warship’s departure to the Indo-Pacific region.
Upon boarding HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Queen was met by commanding officer Captain Angus Essenhigh as well as Commodore Stephen Moorhouse, the commander of the UK Carrier Strike Group (CSG).
The CSG is led by the UK’s two aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
HMS Queen Elizabeth – which cost £3 billion to build – carries eight Royal Air Force (RAF) F35B stealth fighter jets, 14 naval helicopters and a company of Royal Marines.
The aircraft carrier will be accompanied by six Royal Navy warships and a submarine as it sets out for its journey to Asia.
The military deployment is set to cover 26,000 miles over 28 weeks as the CSG travels through the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea into the Gulf of Aden to the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean and finally onto the Philippine Sea.
On her first maiden deployment, HMS Queen Elizabeth will also accommodate 10 US Marine Corps F25B Lightening II jets, in addition to being accompanied by the US destroyer USS The Sullivans and the Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen.
Prior to the Queen’s visit, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, visited HMS Queen Elizabeth on Friday (May 21).
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary, Ben Wallace, has proclaimed the deployment "will be flying the flag for Global Britain - projecting our influence, signaling our power, engaging with our friends and reaffirming our commitment to addressing the security challenges of today and tomorrow".
However, most defense analysts view HMS Queen Elizabeth’s deployment as part of the UK’s plan to join forces with the US in applying military pressure on China in the hotly contested South China Sea.