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First meeting for Defence Ministers and US Secretary of the Navy

The Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, along with the Minister for the Armed Forces and Minster for Defence Procurement, met US Secretary of the Navy for the first time.

During the meeting a number of defence and security issues were reviewed including close Carrier cooperation, deepening capability collaboration on F-35s and P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft, and the UK’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The meetings emphasised the strength and strategic importance of the UK-US Defence relationship, as well as each other’s role at the forefront of NATO.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon paid tribute to the ‘Special Relationship’ between the two countries, commenting: “Britain has no closer friend than the United States and across the globe our nations stand side by side defending our values. Our Armed Forces work closely together in every area of defence from planning for future challenges through to working together on operations around the world today.”

Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster said: “Our meeting highlighted the unrivalled levels of interoperability between the Royal Navy and the US Navy, and the disproportionate contribution they make to our overall bilateral defence relationship.

“As previously announced we continue to make good progress on the plan to deploy HMS Queen Elizabeth on her inaugural deployment in 2021 with USMC F-35B embarked.”

Minister of State for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said she used the opportunity to thank the Secretary for the US Navy’s continuing support – notably in helping the UK quickly field P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and building on the MPA declaration signed earlier this year with former Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work, which sought to ensure increased value for money and operational effectiveness for both countries.

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