The Royal Navy have announced that Captain Angus Essenhigh has been appointed as the new commanding officer for the country’s future flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Captain Essenhigh said in a statement following his promotion, “I join at an exciting time for the ship following a very successful operational test deployment with UK F-35s off the east coast of the USA last year, and as she continues her development the first operational deployment in 2021.”
The Royal Navy said in a statement that Captain Essenhigh will bring much experience to the ship, one that he is currently fourth in command of. He has previously been in command of Type 45 destroyer HMS Daring and ice patrol ship HMS Protector.
Captain Essenhigh became an Officer of the Order of the British Empire during his command of HMS Daring as the ship provided humanitarian assistance to the people of the Philippine Islands following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013.
Essenhigh will be replacing Commodore Steve Moorhouse who in turn has been promoted to command what will become the United Kingdom’s new carrier strike group. The group will focus around the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth – and at some point in the future her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales – as well as destroyers, frigates, suburbanise, and support ships. The post was abolished in 2011 following the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review but was reestablished in 2015 in anticipation of the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
Following a further year of sea trials and incorporating further batches of F-35s on deck, it is expected that Captain Essenhigh will be in command in 2021 when HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to go on its first operation deployment as part of a strike group. The government has said that this will include a freedom of navigation deployment in the South China Sea.