A ROYAL Navy fleet of more than 20 warships is set to be based overseas in a challenge to China’s dominance.
The strike group — including an aircraft carrier, five new frigates and a nuclear sub — is planned by naval Top Brass as part of a “more permanent presence in the Far East”.
According to a briefing document, they would be based in Japan from 2023 in “far reaching plans to transform the fleet and meet new threats around the world”.
Warrant Officer Mick Turnbull, the fleet commander’s right-hand man, revealed five new frigates will be based overseas.
In a speech to vets, he also said new patrol ships HMS Tamar and Spey were due to relocate to the Far East next year.
Sister ship HMS Trent will be based in Gibraltar to operate off West Africa.
The MoD said the speech covered how the Navy “might develop over the coming years”.
A spokesman added: “It does not represent any policy decisions on where or when specific ships will be based.”
New £3billion aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is due to sail through the South China Sea on her first operation this year.
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