Leaving aside the dubious extent to which this can reasonably be called a ‘carrier strike group’, why is the UK attempting to project power nearly 12 000 miles away by sea with a massively expensive but dated, 20th Century technology, in an area where the enemy is equipped with 21st Century ‘super weapons?’
Only at the end of the BBC report, do we read:
China has recently embarked on a major uplift in its nuclear ballistic missile arsenal, building new launch silos in the remote Xinjiang region. It has also been developing Hypersonic Glide Vehicles, high-velocity missiles that can reach speeds of up to eight times the speed of sound and which have been dubbed “carrier killers”.
I know this is just post-imperial posturing by the current Conservative and Empire Party and nothing will probably happen but it only takes one mistake and thousands of lives along with billions in hardware lie at the bottom of the South China Sea.
1941 in the South China Sea, 19th Century military technology meets 20th Century weapons
Britain’s most advanced battleship, the Prince of Wales and the battle cruiser, Repulse, are sunk by Japanese aircraft, 840 die.
This was the lesson taught. Even more than Pearl Harbour, the sinking of these two battleships persuaded politicians that airpower would always defeat battleships.
As early as 1982, we got an inkling of the power of missiles as Argentinian Exocet missiles sank the then modern destroyer, HMS Sheffield.
Argentina had 5 Exocet missiles flying at Mach 0.9 or around 700 miles an hour. China has an unknown number of Hypersonic Glide Vehicles, flying at Mach 8 or around 5 to 6 000 miles an hours. The Royal Navy would not even see them coming.