British Royal Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and escorts of the Royal Navy Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG 21) have successfully completed the seven-month maiden global deployment.
The CSG 21 sailed 49,000nm to the Indo-Pacific and back as part of the mission. It also witnessed several milestone moments and saw participation in exercises and engagements.
It demonstrated British power and commitment at sea, in air and over land while furthering the UK’s interests and strengthening its partnerships.
Ships including destroyers HMS Diamond and HMS Defender, frigates HMS Richmond and HMS Kent, and replenishment ship RFA Fort Victoria returned to Devonport on 9 December.
A workforce totalling 3,700 from nine ships, a submarine, five air squadrons, as well as a company of British Royal Marines also arrived home after departing the UK in early May this year for the deployment.
The CSG Group bolstered ties with 44 countries, including Canada, New Zealand, Australia, France, Italy, Japan Greece, Israel, Oman, India and the Republic of Korea.
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HMS Queen Elizabeth commanding officer captain Ian Feasey said: “This seven-month deployment has proven a resurgent carrier strike capability for UK defence.
“It would not have been possible without the professionalism, determination and self-sacrifice of the 1,500 sailors, airmen and marines who have worked tirelessly to deliver all that was asked of them.
“The safe return and operational successes of HMS Queen Elizabeth are testament to their commitment and energy. They have turned a Royal Navy aircraft carrier into a national flagship, and it has been a privilege to be their commanding officer.”