(ANSA) – AUGUSTA, 09 JUN – The British aircraft carrier Hms Queen Elizabeth, the largest in the Royal Navy, is arriving in the port of Augusta (Syracuse) for the first time in Italy. Heading in the Indo-Pacific area, a fleet is at the helm, the ‘Carrier Strike Group’, made up of seven ships and a submarine and flanked by a Dutch frigate and a US destroyer. Led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, the fleet will visit 40 nations, including India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore. The group will also join and take part in exercises with the French aircraft carrier FS Charles De Gaulle in the Mediterranean, and navies and aircraft of allies such as the United States, Canada, Denmark, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
Once in the Pacific, the ships will mark the 50th anniversary of the five-power defense agreements between Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom by participating in the Bersama Lima exercise. Together with Hms Queen Elizabeth in its first deployment are the destroyers Hms Diamond and Defender; frigates Hms Richmond and Kent; an Astute-class submarine resting under the waves; and the auxiliary support vessels of the Royal Fleet RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tidespring.
More than 30 aircraft will also embark on the task force, including the F-35 jets of the 617 Squadron, the Dambusters and the Vmfa-211 of the United States Marine Corps; Wildcat helicopters from 815 Naval Air Squadron and Merlin helicopters from 820 and 845 Naval Air Squadron. “It is with great enthusiasm – said the commander of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, Captain Angus Essenhigh – that we visit Sicily. Augusta is our first landing since the departure from Portsmouth. The choice reflects the close ties between our two navies, but also the fact that the United Kingdom and Italy are similar NATO partners, committed to security in the Mediterranean and beyond “. (HANDLE).
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