* ABOARD THE HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH -- The United Kingdom is pursuing ambitious plans for new satellite launch capabilities while increasing collaboration with its U.S. ally in space.
The desire for closer ties was made clear on a chilly day in November when the Royal Navy hosted its second annual Atlantic Future Forum onboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth, which was anchored off the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
The forum brings together government leaders, members of the military, industry and the media to discuss the growing challenges of warfighting and partnerships between allied nations.
The HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier is the United Kingdom's first 5th-generation warship and the largest one ever built for the Royal Navy. It was designed to accommodate the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet. Britain is purchasing the short takeoff/vertical landing B variant.
The ship recently completed trials with the aircraft. Trials were also conducted with joint strike fighters from the U.S. Marine Corps--which will deploy as a detachment with the ship in 2021.
U.K. officials would like to see similar cooperation in space.
"If the U.K. and U.S. can foster even deeper cooperations, our world-class armed and security forces can work together to withstand the threats of today and tomorrow," Mark Sedwill, cabinet secretary and national security adviser for the United Kingdom, said in a Ministry of Defence document that was handed out at the event.
Air Vice-Marshal Johnny Stringer, chief of staff for the U.K. Joint Forces Command, during a panel discussion onboard the vessel noted the increasing challenges Britain is facing in space.
When asked about the implications of not engaging in space as a warfighting domain, he replied: "It's really tempting to say, 'we lose,' and then ... just walk away."
The "ability to innovate, to imagine, to get ahead of problems, to conduct research and look at how we are actually going to fight in the future is as important as recognizing how vital space is to us," he added.
Some of the issues the United Kingdom and its allies face include increased congestion in space and threats of anti-satellite weapons from adversaries.
Meanwhile, the nation is boosting its space capabilities. The Royal Air Force is investing more than $33 million over the next year to launch a constellation of small satellites into low-Earth orbit. The systems will relay high resolution video and data to fighter jets to increase pilot...