Skip to main content

Defence: International Co-operation

Volume 491: debated on Monday 20 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for North Devon of 25 March 2009, Official Report, column 426, on defence: international co-operation, what steps have been taken to increase interoperability between countries (a) operating aircraft carriers and (b) with naval vessels able to support carrier operations. (269163)

The Royal Navy regularly identifies opportunities at the tactical and operational level to increase interoperability with foreign navies.

The European Carrier Group Interoperability Initiative (ECGII) draws together European nations with operational aircraft carriers or with naval vessels capable of supporting carrier operations. This initiative seeks to improve interoperability between European navies for national, NATO or EU-led operations. The inaugural Steering Group for ECGII met in Paris on 18 March 2009.

The UK Carrier Strike Group Commander and his staff regularly liaise and train with the US Navy at both a tactical and operational level. The UK also has a Long Lead Skills programme with the US Navy, which is developing essential personnel skill-sets in advance of the arrival of Carrier Vehicular (Future).

It is routine procedure for warships of close allies to integrate into each others Carrier Strike Group deployments, as demonstrated last year with the integration of the US, French and Spanish warships into the RN’s Orion 08 deployment led by HMS Illustrious, and HMS Manchester's integration into the US Carrier Strike Group.