Helicopters and F-35 fighter jets on the flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth of the Royal Navy are docked at Changi Naval Base in Singapore.
Victor Rowe, CNBC
SINGAPORE-Royal Air Force Chief of Staff and Air Force Admiral Sir Mike Wigston said on Monday that Britain plans to increase its presence in the disputed South China Sea and Indo-Pacific regions.
In a speech on the Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier docked in Singapore, Sir Wiggston said that there will be “a more regular deployment of drums.”
“This will be reflected in what you see from the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force,” he said.
The British Aircraft Carrier Strike Group, led by the flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth, valued at £3 billion (US$3.9 billion), is making its first 28-week deployment worldwide for force projection.
The British High Commissioner to Singapore Kara Owen added that two Royal Navy warships had just passed the Panama Canal and headed for Asian waters. This was after the announcement of the permanent distribution of two warships in the area in July.
“Our goal is to be here longer than any other country. [Europe],” she said on the 65,000-ton ship.
The flight deck of the Queen Elizabeth can be seen from the top of the jumping ramp of the aircraft carrier.
Victor Rowe, CNBC
Sir Wiggston added that in addition to deploying more military assets, increased participation will come in the form of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Earlier, the ships of the British Aircraft Carrier Strike Group participated in the exercise for the 50th anniversary of the signing of the five-nation defense arrangement with Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.
This deployment is also because the UK is seeking to sign more trade agreements worldwide after leaving the European Union.
In June, the United Kingdom began negotiations to join the broader Asia-Pacific Free Trade Association, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.