The HMS Defender Incident: Lawfare, Optics, and a Changing European Strategic Direction

CIMSEC – Despite its limited immediate impact, the significance of this FONOP cannot be overstated. Since the end of the Cold War, very few European nations have taken initiatives to upend their strategic interests in the face of powerful adversaries and have instead been relying on the American security umbrella. A multitude of factors are at play to influence this return to geopolitics in Europe, from the specter of Trump’s alienating policies towards America’s allies and partners, to the advent of a multipolar world. Yet this FONOP and renewed European interest in the Indo-Pacific shows that even a strategically independent Europe will remain a natural partner to America for military cooperation and burden-sharing, not just due to shared economic interests, but also common values.

Media report claiming UK carrier group spots PLA submarines ‘not credible’

Global Times – A report by a UK media organization recently claimed a UK aircraft carrier strike group that sailed in the South China Sea in late July spotted Chinese nuclear-powered submarines that shadowed it during its voyage, but Chinese military experts said on Monday that the report is not credible, and is aimed at showing off the group’s presence and boasting of the its anti-submarine capability.

The Royal Navy in the Indo-Pacific: Don’t Use a Sledgehammer to Crack a Nut

War on the Rocks – Why is the Royal Navy sending two of its smallest warships to the world’s largest ocean? The First Sea Lord’s announcement of the Royal Navy’s intention to forward deploy two offshore patrol vessels to the Indo-Pacific has been met with skepticism. Given the region’s sheer size and the growing menace of China within the South China Sea, some argue that a frigate is a better platform for this role. But using a frigate, the work horse of the fleet, for all overseas tasking is akin to using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Each new maritime task needs to be judged on its own merits considering its objectives and operating environment.

Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth Drills with Indian Navy Ahead of More Pacific Exercises

USNI News – The British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (RO8) and its carrier strike group carried out a two-day exercise called Exercise Konkan with the Indian Navy from July 21 to 22 in the Bay of Bengal. The exercise was designed to hone the ability of the two navies to operate together in the maritime domain, according to an Indian Ministry of Defence release. The exercise included anti-submarine warfare, anti-air and anti-surface warfare drills.