UK Defence Minister reaffirms strong ties with the US 42104162

Defence & Security News - UK
UK Defence Minister reaffirms strong ties with the US 
Philip Dunne, UK’s Defence Procurement Minister, has travelled to the US on an official visit to reaffirm the close cooperation of the two countries in major weapons programmes. The US Deputy Defence Secretary Bob Work accompanied him during his travel at military installations at the southeast of the country, where British military personnel is training on new equipment.
UK Defence Minister reaffirms strong ties with the US
Bob Work (left) and Philip Dunne (right) shake hands in front of a
V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft (Photo: US DOD)

First he visited the USMC Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina. RAF and Royal Navy staff is undergoing training to reach operational capability on the new F-35B aircraft. The RAF personnel showed the minister videos from their training and the capabilities that will be delivered through the aircraft’s sensors. The F-35B’s will be flown from both land bases and the new Queen Elizabeth-class of aircraft carriers.

During his time at the base Philip Dunne said: “This has been an excellent opportunity to see at first-hand how closely UK and US Armed Forces work together, and to discuss with Deputy Secretary Work how we can take that even further. The ability of British and American military personnel to work so well together, with common approaches, common understanding and, where appropriate, common capabilities is vital to both our nations’ security.”

Later in the day, the minister flew to Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida, where RAF personnel is training on the new Boeing P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft. He also had the opportunity to fly with a US Navy Poseidon, manned by a joint US Navy and RAF crew, to get a first-hand experience on the new platform’s capabilities.

Finally, he concluded the visit to the US at the US Navy’s Submarine Base at King’s Bay in Georgia. This is the home base of the Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic, which plays a vital role in the support of the Royal Navy’s Vanguard-class submarines.

During the visit, the two officials had the opportunity to discuss global security issues and how the two countries could extend their cooperation and interoperability initiatives, as well as how the US could assist the UK into closing the capability gap in maritime patrol aircraft. The first British P-8 Poseidon MPAs are expected to arrive in 2019. Given that the UK does not possess any aerial maritime patrol platform, there is a serious capability gap in face of the Russian Navy’s submarines and surface vessels.