UK's new aircraft carrier comes to Singapore

The Queen Elizabeth led a British carrier strike group in exercises with Singapore's military at the weekend, including naval manoeuvres and simulated combat training with F-35B stealth fighters and F-16 jets.

"Our recent integrated review highlighted the importance of the Indo Pacific and the UK's intent to tilt here and have an increased footprint, and much more persistent presence," strike group commander, Commodore Steve Moorhouse, told Reuters aboard the new 65,000-tonne vessel.

Singapore is one of more than 40 countries the strike group will interact with through visits or exercises during its global deployment, according to a British government statement.

Britain, like China, now has two aircraft carriers, compared to the United States' 11. The $4 billion Queen Elizabeth is the largest warship built by the British military and is roughly the length of three soccer fields at 900 feet long.

The Queen Elizabeth traveled to Japan last month to mark the start of the permanent military presence, which came as the United States, Britain and Australia agreed a trilateral regional defense pact, AUKUS.

In recent years, China has controversially deployed coastguard ships all over the South China Sea and built manmade islands with missile systems, to assert vast territorial claims that an international arbitral ruling has declared invalid.

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