B1 Intermediate UK 144 Folder Collection
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A series of remarks by British officials about the country’s future actions in the South
China Sea quickly reverberated across the world, prompting headlines that suggested
a more muscular role by the Britain in South China Sea.
Britain’s rising concern about the South China Sea is nothing new.
Indeed, British officials have been making clear over the past few years that even though
they do want to develop their economic ties with China, they are concerned by Beijing’s
unlawful actions in the South China Sea.
Mr Boris Johnson said: “One of the first things we will do with the two new colossal
aircraft carriers that we have just built is send them on a freedom of navigation operation
to this area to vindicate our belief in the rules-based international system and in the
freedom of navigation through those waterways which are absolutely vital for world trade.”
The reference to colossal aircraft carriers is to QUEEN ELIZABETH CLASS CARRIERS, that
is HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
In this video, Defense Updates analyzes the power of Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers
and examines why China is concerned?
Lets get started.
In May 1997, the newly elected Labour government launched the Strategic Defense Review (SDR)
which re-evaluated every weapon system (active or in procurement) with the exception of the
Eurofighter Typhoon and the Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines.
One of the important outcomes of the report was that the government intended to replace
the current carrier force with two larger vessels capable of deploying up to 50 aircraft,
including helicopters.
This decision was taken to augment the strategic capability of Royal Navy and ultimately led
to the development of Queen Elizabeth class carrier.
The ships are being built by partnership comprising arms makers BAE Systems, Babcock, Thales and
the Ministry of Defense.
The Queen Elizabeth class vessels can be described as super carriers as they will displace approximately
70,600 tons each.
It’s over three times the displacement of its predecessor, the Invincible class.
Its 280 m in length, which makes it about 2 and half times as large as a football field.
The vessels of this class are largest warships ever built in the United Kingdom and are only
elapsed by the American Nimitz and Ford class supercarriers that have displacement of 100,000 tons.
The power is supplied by 2 Rolls-Royce Marine
Trent MT30 36 MW (48,000 hp) gas turbine generator units and 4 Wärtsilä diesel generator sets
(two 9 MW or 12,000 hp and two 11 MW or 15,000 hp sets).
Queen Elizabeth class is capable of speed inn excess of 26 knots (48 km/h; 30 mph).
It has range of 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km; 12,000 mi).
The combination of good speed and excellent range make this class of carrier a tremendous platform.
The ship's main radar is the BAE Systems and Thales S1850M, the same as fitted to the Type
45 destroyers, for long-range wide-area search.
The S1850M has a fully automatic detection and track initiation that can track up to
1,000 air targets at a range of around 400 KM (250 mi).
The BAE Systems Artisan 3D Type 997 maritime medium-range active electronically scanned
array radar will also be present.
BAE claims Artisan can "track a target the size of a snooker ball over 20 km (12 mi)
away", with a maximum range of 200 km.
The 2 radars compliment each other and enable the carrier with an excellent situational awareness.
The Queen Elizabeth class is designed to accommodate 40 aircrafts with a maximum capability of
carrying 50 aircrafts.
With the retirement of the Harrier in 2010, there remains no carrier-capable fixed-wing
aircraft available to the Royal Navy or Royal Air Force.
The intended replacement is F 35B, which will be the main offensive package.
Each of the carriers will be carrying 36 to 40 F 35B.
The aircraft are expected to begin trials flying from Queen Elizabeth in 2018 with a
carrier air wing fully operational by 2020.
The 5th generation stealth multirole fighter is capable of deep strike missions.
Other than that several different combination of helicopters will be deployed depending
on operational needs.
These include Merlin HM2 and HC4, Wildcat AH1 and HMA2 and Merlin Crowsnest Airborne
Early Warning (AEW) helicopter.
Visibly concerned Chinese Foreign Ministry angrily denounced the idea of British supercarriers
in South China Sea, saying 'certain outside countries are determined to stir up trouble'
in the region.
Spokesman Lu Kang said: 'Whatever banners these countries or officials claim to uphold,
and whatever excuses they claim to have, their track record of bringing chaos and humanitarian
disasters through their so-called moral interventions in other parts of the world is enough to make
nations and people in the region maintain high vigilance’.
China has unilaterally build infrastructures and deployed military assets in the disputed territory.
Apart from China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan have claims to the region.
Last year Hague international tribunal dismissed Beijing’s claim to the region saying there
was ‘no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters
or their resources’.
US, UK, Japan, India & Australia have no claims to the region but want to have freedom of
navigation as its an important sea route with 5 trillion $ in trade, half of global merchant
shipping and 1/2 of world’s oil shipment passing through it.
Britain seems to be hardening its stand on the issue and is now confronting China directly.
Apart from statements, the British response has also included a series of actual steps on ground.
The flying of RAF Typhoons through the South China Sea announced last year and their participation
in exercises with Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia are some of the moves to be noted.
U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group 1 group has already started patrols in the South China
Sea, led by the Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Carl Vinson.
US, India and Japan are participating in exercise Malabar, with direct aim of challenging China’s
aggressive posturing.
The fact that the now Britain is taking sides in the dispute will result as a major headache for China.
As 4 major powers US, UK, Japan & India are now focusing to push back China on several
fronts, it remains to be witnessed how China responds.
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QUEEN ELIZABETH CLASS- TO BE DEPLOYED IN SOUTH CHINA SEA

144 Folder Collection
williamhethacker published on November 19, 2017
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