LONDON – HMS Queen Elizabeth has flown the largest combat aircraft ever on its deck as she prepares to take her place at the heart of the UK-led NATO Carrier Strike Group, the UK Ministry of Defense said in a Sept. 23 release.
Two squadrons of F-35B stealth jets, the RAF 617 Squadron (The Dambusters) and the 211th US Marine Corps Assault Squadron (VMFA-21, Wake Island Avengers), have joined the 65,000-tonne carrier as it sailed for joint training. allies in the North Sea.
With a total of 14 jets and eight Merlin helicopters, it is the largest concentration of combat jets operating in the sea of a Royal Navy aircraft carrier since HMS Hermes in 1983, and the largest air group of fifth-generation combat aircraft in any sea in the world.
In group exercises this month, HMS Queen Elizabeth will join forces with seven Royal Navy destroyers, frigates and auxiliaries, plus other support units, to form the fully sovereign Carrier Strike Group, ready to fight on the surface and in the air.
The Carrier Strike Group will make its move off Scotland’s northeast coast as part of the Joint Warrior, NATO’s largest annual exercise.
“The UK maritime revival has been taking place over the years, as we introduce a new generation of ships, submarines and aircraft into service,” said Commodore Steve Moorhouse, commander, UK Carrier Strike Group. “But this marks the first time we have brought them together in a cohesive, strong fighting force. HMS Queen Elizabeth will operate with the largest fifth-generation fighter jet air group assembled anywhere in the world. Led by the Royal Navy, and supported by our closest allies, the new Carrier Strike Group is returning real power to NATO and sending a clear signal that Britain is taking its global role seriously. ”
Royal Navy Commander Mark Sparrow, commander of 617 Squadron, added: “This is a very exciting time for 617 Squadron as we embark on a new era of partnership with the US Marine Corps building towards next year’s operational deployment with HMS Queen Elizabeth. You have to go back more than three decades to find Britain operating anything of this scale or complexity and this is a first for a fifth-generation aircraft carrier capability. The era of the big deck, fast carrier operations is back ”.
Typically based at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, Arizona, VMFA-211 arrived in the UK, less than two weeks ago. Landing at the home of the Lightning Force, RAF Marham, after a transatlantic flight, they teamed up with 617 Squadron conducting RAF-led Point Blank Exercise before embarking on an aircraft carrier.
“The Wake Island Avengers are ready in every way to work with British sailors and crew aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth,” said Marine Lt. Col. Joseph Freshour, commander of VMFA-211. “We hope to be deployed with our British counterparts over the next few months, and we will work tirelessly as part of this transatlantic navy. We are proud to play an important role in the generation of allied carrier strike capabilities. ”
Captain James Blackmore, British Operators Air Wing Commander, added: “We will learn a lot from operating the F-35B at sea with USMC, they have had it longer and we can share ideas and practices. But it is more than that; This is a trans-Atlantic alliance in action, demonstrating that two close allies can not only fly off each other’s carriers, but can also battle each other if needed. This level of integration offers decisive flexibility in times of crisis, conflict or war. ”
HMS Queen Elizabeth, along with 1,680 sailors, airmen and marines, are scheduled to return to their home port at Portsmouth next month.
to request modification Contact us at Here or [email protected]