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Britain, United States extend deal for cooperative aircraft carrier operations

By
Kyle Barnett
The U.S. and British militaries extended an agreement for enhanced carrier operations, which includes this week's exercise involving the U.S. Navy carrier USS Ronald Reagan, pictured, and Britain's HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James Hong/U.S. Navy
The U.S. and British militaries extended an agreement for enhanced carrier operations, which includes this week's exercise involving the U.S. Navy carrier USS Ronald Reagan, pictured, and Britain's HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James Hong/U.S. Navy

July 13 (UPI) -- Britain and the United States have extended a cooperative agreement between the two nations aircraft carrier fleets.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met Tuesday in Washington, D.C. to strike the deal.

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The meeting culminated with the extension of the current cooperative agreement to 2023.

"The U.S. continues to be the [Britain]'s most important defence partner and we are working together, across all domains, to confront future threats," Wallace said in a statement.

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"There is much to do but the extension we agreed will ensure that we can cooperate even more seamlessly with our forces across the globe," Wallace said.

The U.S. Department of Defense released a statement noting Austin is committed to strategic consultations with Britain.

"The leaders discussed the importance of transatlantic cooperation and burden sharing to address a wide range of security challenges across the globe," the Department of Defense release reads.

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"They also discussed strategic competition with a focus on Europe and the Indo-Pacific region, ongoing operations in the Middle East and the withdrawal from Afghanistan," the statement said.

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U.S. forces are currently deployed with Britain's Carrier Strike Group deployment, which includes nine ships and 3,700 personnel. Of the flotilla, one ship, USS The Sullivans, and 10 Marine Corps jets belong to American forces.

"The deployment is emblematic of how the U.S. and [Britain] work together to defend our shared values, uphold the rules-based international order and tackle the threats of the future," the British Ministry of Defense said in a press release.

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British and U.S. forces are currently sailing 26,000 miles around the globe together, with 70 operations planned along the way.

In further evidence to that commitment, on July 12 the Queen Elizabeth and Ronald Reagan carrier strike groups participated in an exercise alongside Dutch forces.

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