Friday, 22 February, 2019

United Kingdom prepares to flex military muscle after Brexit

Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson
Ellis Copeland | 13 February, 2019, 21:24

Deployment of the new aircraft carrier, which is likely to take place in 2021, will also include two squadrons of F-35 stealth jets to "stand up to those who flout worldwide law".

UK Defence Minister Gavin Williamson has revealed that the country will send its largest and most powerful aircraft carrier to the Pacific on its first operational mission.

In a keynote speech on the country's new military strategy later on Monday, UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is expected to announce that the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, will be deployed to disputed waters in the Pacific in a show of "hard power", The Independent reports.

The Conservative minister will say that Britain must be prepared to take military action against countries that "flout worldwide law" or risk being seen as a "paper tiger".

'Brexit has brought us to a great moment in our history.

China has laid claim to nearly all of the strategic South China Sea which is viewed as important for shipping lanes and potential resources.

The UK needs a bolder and stronger armed forces prepared to use "hard power" or risk being seen as a "paper tiger", the defence secretary will say.

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Yet he chose instead to add about 3500 troops in 2017-2018 to bolster the U.S. effort to train and advise Afghan forces. Shanahan took over as acting secretary of defence on January 1 after Jim Mattis submitted his resignation in December.


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Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute, Mr Williamson also confirmed the government will invest £1.8 billion in cyber warfare defences to protect against foreign powers.

Williamson will highlight close U.S. -UK military links and echo Trump's call for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries to increase their spending, citing a need to better handle what Williamson called Russian provocation.

He will state: 'To talk but fail to act risks our nation being seen as little more than a paper tiger'.

The combined US-UK air wing aboard the carrier will improve "the reach and lethality of our forces" while "reinforcing the fact that the United States remains our very closest of partners", he said.

"And action, on occasion, that may lead us to have to intervene alone, " he said. "A moment when we must strengthen our global presence, enhance our lethality, and increase our mass", he said.

Shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith said: 'The Conservatives have slashed the defence budget by over £9 billion in real terms since 2010 and they are cutting armed forces numbers year after year.

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