The full U.K. Carrier Strike Group assembled for the first time during Group Exercise 2020 on Oct. 4, 2020. Royal Navy Photo

The U.K. Royal Navy has assembled its largest carrier strike group in almost 40 years, the service announced on Monday.

HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) assembled in the North Atlantic with a mix of U.K., American and Dutch warships as the Royal Navy prepared to for the first deployment of its new carrier force.

Embarked with 15 F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters – 10 from the “Wake Island Avengers” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 and five from the Royal Air Force’s 617 Squadron “The Dambusters” – assembled as a strike group in the North Sea. A U.S. Marine detachment from the 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company is also aboard Queen Elizabeth.

“Carrier strike offers Britain choice and flexibility on the global stage; it reassures our friends and allies and presents a powerful deterrent to would-be adversaries,” Commodore Steve Moorhouse, commander of the U.K. Carrier Strike Group, said in the Monday statement.

“Protected by a ring of advanced destroyers, frigates, helicopters and submarines, and equipped with fifth generation fighters, HMS Queen Elizabeth is able to strike from the sea at a time and place of our choosing,” he added.

The Queen Elizabeth strike group includes:

Destroyer

  • HMS Diamond (D34) homeported in Portsmouth, U.K.
  • HMS Defender (D36) homeported in Portsmouth, U.K.
  • USS The Sullivans (DDG-68) homeported in Mayport, Fla.

Frigates

  • HMS Northumberland (F238) homeported in Devenport, U.K.
  • HMS Kent (F78) homeported in Portsmouth, U.K.
  • HNLMS Evertsen (F805) homeported in Del Helder, Netherlands.

Auxiliaries

  • RFA Tideforce (A139)
  • RFA Fort Victoria (A387)

The assembly of ships comes ahead of the U.K.-led Joint Warrior NATO exercise in the Atlantic. A total of 28 ships are set to exercise.

Spain-based destroyers USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) and USS Ross (DDG-71), Lewis and Clark resupply ship USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE-13) and two P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine warfare aircraft based in Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy will participate in Joint Warrior.

By CTO



World