The UK Ministry of Defence revealed the fate of the Royal Navy’s fleet of Invincible-Class aircraft carriers following 30 years of military service.
Having entered into service in the early 1980s, HMS Invincible and HMS Ark Royal were decommissioned in 2005 and 2010 respectively, while HMS Illustrious is due to be decommissioned in 2014.
While Invincible was recycled in 2011, Ark Royal is due to be recycled as part of a £2.9m deal with Leyal. A different fate awaits Illustrious, however, with the UK MoD seeking proposals for preserving the carrier.
Defence equipment, support and technology minister Philip Dunne said: "HMS Illustrious is more suitable for preservation for further non-military use and, as such, is expected to attract interest from organisations, which would be able to put forward mature and viable proposals in keeping with the role and history of the Invincible-Class of ships."
The US dispatched a team of Marines to Libya following an attack on the US embassy in the nation’s capital of Benghazi, killing the US ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, along with three other staff members.
The embassy attack was triggered by the release of a film by controversial pastor Terry Jones. The film, named ‘The Innocence of Muslims’, sparked outrage by making several inflammatory allegations about Islam and insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
The deployment follows an order by US President Barack Obama, stating: "All necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe."
Tensions between China and Japan escalated as six Chinese surveillance vessels briefly entered contested waters surrounding islands at the centre of a territorial dispute.
Opposing Japan’s purchase of the Islands from a private owner, China labelled the infringement as ‘law enforcement’ and a display of jurisdiction over the Senkaku islands, referred to as Diaoyu in China.
Japan responded strongly to the infringement, with local reports alleging Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has established a task force to address the issue, while also summoning the Chinese ambassador to officially protest.
China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy announced the induction of its first aircraft carrier Liaoning, having completed a refit of the Varyag carrier originally built for the Soviet Navy.
The 300m-long Varyag destroyer will be used in future in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, amid rising maritime tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, and will also conduct a certain level of operations at sea.
China’s PLA Navy has plans to use the aircraft carrier as a research and training platform and is expected to operate Shenyang J-15 aircraft, J-10 carrier based aircraft, Kamov Z-8/Ka-31 AEW helicopters and Ka-27 ASW helicopters from it.
The Russian Navy was forced to postpone testing of its Bulava ballistic missile following the detection of a technology fault in the automated launch control system.
The software issue has placed further delays on the deployment of the missile, with the Russian military claiming there to be no alternative to the Bulava despite a string of previous test failures attributed to manufacturing faults.
Designed to replace the R-39 solid-fuel SLBM for the Russian Navy, the three-stage Bulava is expected to undergo its next test-launch from Russia’s second Borey-Class submarine, Alexander Nevsky, before the end of 2012.
HMS Edinburgh, the UK Royal Navy’s last remaining Type 42 destroyer, set sail for its final deployment in the Atlantic ocean prior to its decommissioning in 2013. Having served the Royal Navy for 30 years, the vessel will be replaced by a Type 45 Daring-Class destroyer.
The vessel will conduct routine operations within the South Atlantic, including supporting counter-narcotics efforts off the West African coast while providing support to UK overseas territories.
HMS Edinburgh commanding officer commander Nick Borbone paid tribute to the ship, saying: "HMS Edinburgh might be the last of the class but she remains a capable ship with a highly-trained and motivated ship’s company that is determined to preserve the fine tradition that the Type 42s have established in 30 years of service."