HMS Queen Elizabeth will not join the exercises off the Norwegian Arctic coast and will be replaced by the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.
The change of plans is almost a reverse scenario from what happened in August 2022, when the HMS Prince of Wales grounded with a propeller problem while en route to conduct exercises with the United States and Canada off North America. The aircraft carrier had to be towed into port from the Isle of Wight and HMS Queen Elizabeth took her place in the exercises.
With the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth sidelined, the Royal Navy may not be able to deploy aircraft to the Red Sea – as suggested by British Armed Forces Minister James Hebbey – as hostilities have escalated with attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels against cargo ships. In the waters linking Asia to Europe and the United States.
The UK joined the US on Saturday in attacking 36 Houthi targets in Yemen in a second wave of attacks aimed at further crippling the Iran-backed groups that have relentlessly attacked US and international interests.
The propeller problem is the second setback for the Royal Navy in less than three weeks, following a collision between two warships in one of Bahrain’s ports, which resulted in damage to both ships but no casualties.
Military officials said they were investigating the cause of the collision, in which HMS Chiddingfold appeared to turn astern towards HMS Bangor while it was docked. The minehunters were stationed in the Middle East to help protect merchant ships.
HMS Prince of Wales will now lead Exercise Steadfast Defender with an eight-carrier attack, four of which are from the UK, along with US, Spanish and Danish ships.
fountain: News agency
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