Amy Savage, a renowned naval photographer in the Portsmouth area, has captured stunning images of aircraft embarking on-board HMS Queen Elizabeth ahead of her upcoming deployment.

I really recommend following Amy on Twitter as she frequently posts great snaps of the ships coming and going from Portsmouth. You can find Amy on Twitter by clicking here or going to her profile at @AmzJS13.

These photos have been posted with the kind permission of Amy.

Crowsnest fitted Merlins have also landed.

The F-35 jets will join once the vessel is at sea.

More images can be found on Amy’s account here.

What’s happening?

The Royal Navy say that the UK’s Carrier Strike Group will visit more than one fifth of the world’s nations when it sails next month. Led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, the task group will visit 40 nations including India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore in a deployment covering 26,000 nautical miles.

Largest concentration of UK seapower in a generation to sail

“While in the Pacific, ships from the Carrier Strike Group will mark the 50th anniversary of the Five Powers Defence Agreement between Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the UK by taking part in Exercise Bersama Lima.

Joining HMS Queen Elizabeth on her maiden deployment are destroyers HMS Diamond and Defender; frigates HMS Richmond and Kent; an Astute-class submarine in support below the waves; and Royal Fleet Auxiliary support ships RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tidespring. More than 30 aircraft will also embark across the task group including F-35 jets from 617 Squadron, the Dambusters, and the US Marine Corps’ VMFA-211; Wildcat helicopters from 815 Naval Air Squadron and Merlin helicopters from 820 and 845 Naval Air Squadrons.

Royal Marines from 42 Commando will also deploy with the carrier. Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen and American Arleigh Burke destroyer USS The Sullivans are also part of the strike group.”

The group will also join up and take part in exercises with French carrier FS Charles De Gaulle in the Mediterranean as well as navies and aircraft from allies such as the US, Canada, Denmark, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan and the UAE.

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Ian M.
Ian M.
2 months ago

Quality happy snaps, well done Amy.📷

David
David
2 months ago

Interesting to see crowsnest coming aboard

Ron
Ron
2 months ago

Nice to see Crowsnest aboard. Good Luck to the Task Group and crews. Two questions that I can find no answer for, maybe someone can help. An Astute class SSN has about 90 days food on board, with the deployment lasting about 26 weeks where or how will she be replenished and possibly recrewed? Does anyone know if a US SSN will join the Task Group. I would think that the QE and her group would return via the Panama Canal so a quick stop at Pearl Harbour and the East coast of Canada/US would be good for fling the… Read more »

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

As I understand it Ron there will be ” an ” SSN with the task Force but the paper didn’t say whether it would be the same one all the time.
If your interested “East of Suez and the Royal Navy” under analysis options is a paper I wrote which has a lot of good posts back about he F35 and SeaCeptor etc.

Ron
Ron
2 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

GR, can you send me the paper to my e-mail [email protected] I am very much interested at the moment I am writing a paper on the possible need for the RN to have small combattant ships such as the Haminia class. My reasoning for such a vessel is simple a FFG or DDG is a blue water vessel, the straits such as the Malaca Strait, Hormuz Strait etc would be better with a fast missile patrol boat possible with T31 cover. If we built such boats we could also use them as a replacement for the P2000 class and they… Read more »

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Haven’t forgotten you
Ron. will do Thursday.

Daveyb
Daveyb
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

On the F35B Growler front, yes and no. At the moment and for the foreseeable future there is no need for a dedicated Growler version of the F35. The aircraft’s current avionics coupled with its inherent stealth give it a massive edge over current aircraft. Especially when conducting SEAD missions (did someone mention Spear 3!). It doesn’t really need the jammer support. Not that it won’t help, its just hat the aircraft can self-support with what it has already. The USMC did a trial last year, which showed that 9 time out of 10 the aircraft could penetrate most air… Read more »

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

It is very unusual for anybody to know where our subs are going let alone American ones!

Ron
Ron
2 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

I agree the RN and I think the USN does not say where a SSN is operational. My question and possibly my fault was for a diffrent reason. The USN is the RNs main combat partner, the USN Subs and RN Subs know each other and the sound of each others ships. This sound is put into the computers as friendly. So, each ship makes a noise that you can ID, however a task group makes a combined noise, this imalgamation of water acustics a sub would hear way before you can pick up individual sounds. So it would make… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Hi Ron, understand what you are trying to say, but, it doesn’t exactly work like that. The CSG will make a lot of combined noise, detection of which will broadly speaking be dependent on a number of factors, the water environment and distance/relative position to the TG being the main ones. When tracking contacts, sonar systems use a series of filters to look for different machinery components in an attempt to classify individual units. The bandwidth of said filters varies from fairly large to v small, depending on what you are looking for. The main sensor for sub hunting is… Read more »

Ron
Ron
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Hi Deep 32, I understand what you are saying however let me explain. Yes the human ear works from about 300Hz-3.4 KHz basically the range of a old analog telephone. However sound in air and sea does not work in that way. Each ship prop gives of a harmonic (prop rotation), the hull of a ship also give a harmonic due to engine vibration (movement through the sea). This you can pick up and depending on how good your system is up to the other side of the Atlantic. However, when you have several ships close together this harmonic changes… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

From my own towed array experience, you can pick out individual units in a group at a considerable distance. Specific harmonics are unique to specific vessels along with blade rates. The filters can isolate specific frequencies and harmonics and sub harmonics.

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Hi Ron, back in the day(1970s) mainframe SM sonars (analogue systems)had a WB unfiltered frequency response of approx 0-12kHz, which is roughly the same range as the human ear, albeit from a youngster(8-15ish), after that our hearing deteriorates and not necesserily in a linear fashion, more like peaks and troughs within the range. Hence as we get older we tend not to hear the missus as much!!!! Most sound in the ocean, man made or natural also occurs within this range, barring some mammals-dolphins etc and acticve sonars, although they are mainly echo sounders and torpedoes. The RN places great… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

I’d suggest that it’s the best form of Anti Submarine defence for a carrier, having one or two SSN’s as part of the group…

its common knowledge that American Carrier groups have at least one SSN with them…

Stephen Ball
Stephen Ball
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Get a helo and pallet drop the food on the sub. The Americans do this sure we do as well.

Seen on youtube one of the longest deployment’s was 280 day’s. For one of our nuc sub’s.

Ron
Ron
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Ball

Thanks, I did not know about the pallet drop. Just thinking about 8 months with the same folks in a closed space, help me out of there come to mind.

Stephen Ball
Stephen Ball
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Sure they still swapped the crew.

Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

It’s not a combat deployment, the Sub will have port visits as well

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Is there a Z berth at Diego Garcia for the SSN?

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago

Yes mate, it’s a normal stopover for SSNs if required.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Ta mate.

James
James
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Surely they wouldnt run an Astute class sub through the Panama canal?

Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago
Reply to  James

Why not? They transit on the surface….

Chris
Chris
2 months ago
Reply to  James

The US does it quite regularly. I was on a cruise ship going through in the opposite direction to a US sub a few years ago.

Heidfirst
Heidfirst
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

the F35s systems already have an electronic attack capability https://www.baesystems.com/en-us/product/an-asq-239-f-35-ew-countermeasure-system

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Hi Ron, I would imagine that one A boat gets tasked with CSG escort and will stay the course.
As for replenishment, Diago Garcia and somewhere in the gulf-not sure where exactly are the usual places for our SSNs to replenish stores etc.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

And the French nuclear sub exchanged crews in Guam on their recent deployment, so a Guam visit seems a likely option for the UK group.

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago

Yes that thought had crossed my mind too, as well as Subic Bay-emergency only I believe, now that the US has left the place. I just wonder whether any US SSNs go to Yokohama, as its where their 7th Flt hangs out? Well their CVN and escorts?

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

I understand the US forward deploy 3-4 boats to Guam, which is why its probably a natural stop over for an Astute, but the US seems to have at least made stops at Yokosuka.

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago

That’s the place, according to the MOD, CSG will visit Japan, so, might be on the cards for the A boat too!

Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Also Hmas Stirling in Perth, Western Australia, is a regular haunt of US SSN’s….

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Cheers didnt know that.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Oman now has a Z berth

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Cheers.👍

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Why would the QE group go via the Panama?
Previous deployments to the Far east turn around and come back the same way. I suppose one unit could be released to go back that way.

The Sub can go to Gib, Diego, Singers or any other Z berth to replenish.

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Hi GB, Reading something similer over on NL, this subject cropped up, and, I believe the answer is that the QE is too wide to pass through the canal so wont be going that way.

Shaun
Shaun
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Probably not through the Panama Canal, I read somewhere the new locks are 49m wide and correct me if I am wrong (highly likely) but I thought QE2 was about 73m at the flight deck, so it would more than scrape the paint off!

Gary M.
Gary M.
2 months ago

Sounds like The Empire Cruise of Hood and Repulse in 1923/24 and the Special Service Squadron.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago

In a post on the article about the SSN joining the CSG, Daniele indicated that the air wing would be, and I quote from his post: “They also confirmed the Air Group. 8 UK F35. 7 Merlin HM2 3 Merlin HC4 4 Wildcat Plus the USMC contribution.” This raised a discussin about whether some of these aircraft would be deployed on the escorts and supporting RFA’s. However, the article above indicates that the carrier wing will be 30 aircraft suggesting that the numbers above do indeed pertain to the carrier air wing and that the escorts / RFA flights are… Read more »

Lusty
Lusty
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

815 have confirmed four Wildcat will be on the escorts (it caught my eye after my initial speculation). We’ll have to wait and see if that’s the four mentioned in the publication, or an additional four. They’ll also be taking Sea Venom out for a tour.

Regardless, it’s still fantastic to see. Amy has posted some fantasic snaps today!

Last edited 2 months ago by Lusty
Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

HC4’s will be on the RFA’s.

The article actually says more than 30 aircraft will be deployed across the task force i.e. not necessarily on the carrier.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

My mistake, hopefully more than 30 across the squadron means more the 22 on the Carrier…

I guess we’ll find out soon enough…

Cheers CR

John Stevens
John Stevens
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Think it will be F35’s (18) and Helicopters (14) across the fleet. Looked at a short film on Forces news network yesterday. Will see..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Excellent if carrier wing only. I was slightly disappointed at the thought the 22 were across the entire group.

JohnM
JohnM
2 months ago

32 across the whole group – 18 F35s plus 7 Merlin HM2 on carrier; 4 Wildcats on escorts. Suggestion now that 3 Merlin HC4s on RFAs. Not sure if US or Dutch escorts to be equipped with own helos?

Lusty
Lusty
2 months ago
Reply to  JohnM

Dutch likely, but the American escort has no hangar.

John Stevens
John Stevens
2 months ago

*Oops, sorry. Can see somebody had already made the same comment.

John Stevens
John Stevens
2 months ago
Reply to  John Stevens

Hehe I mean the figure of 32.

John Stevens
John Stevens
2 months ago
Reply to  John Stevens

Plus I meant Carrier strike Group not ‘Fleet’ Must of made my G&T too strong this evening me thinks lol Nite All

Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago

Excellent photo’s, good job Amy!

Pacman27
Pacman27
2 months ago

one slight gripe I have with CSG21 is that I really would like to see the UK have at least the same number of F35’s onboard as the USMC.. You can just see the headlines now.

but yet again another good day for the RN.

Paul42
Paul42
2 months ago
Reply to  Pacman27

We do actually have enough airframes to put 10 x F35B on board, so presumably there is a reason why we aren’t?

Andy84
Andy84
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

It’s likely that the 8 aircraft form one flight from 617 Sqn, so yes whilst we could theoretically put more on it would likely disrupt the other flights crew availability on the next operational rotation.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

Theres 3 in the US for testing and development work, just under 20 are available for operational use and about half of these are being used for pilot training. That means 1 full strength training squadron and one under strength trained squadron which is being deployed.

Ron
Ron
2 months ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

There is one more thing that no one thought about HMS Prince of Wales, as far as I am aware she is to under go F35 training in UK waters this year using UK aircraft.

Pacman27
Pacman27
2 months ago

Looking at the stats of this carrier group it would seem that there is potentially an organisational structure that can be formed for the RN going forward 2 no. Carrier Strike Groups (9 surface ships) – 3600 personnel per Group [1 x QEC, 2 x T45, 2 x T26, 2 x T31, 1 x Tide, 1 x MRSS] 2 no. Amphibious Attack Groups (9 ships) – 3600 personnel per Group [1 x Albion, 2 x T45, 2 x T26, 2 x T31, 1 x Tide, 1 x MRSS4] 4 no. Standing Task Groups (10 ships) -3600 personnel per Group [4… Read more »

Ron
Ron
2 months ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Pacman 27, I agree, I have argued and suggested to the MoD that the carrier groups should operate as a unit. What do I mean with this the DDGs FFGs support ships and SSN works together, they go operational as a unit satnd down as a unit, go into refit and repair as a unit. We could even create a local allegance such as the PoW could have Dragon, Duncan, Cardiff, Glasgow, Belfast and that could be battle group Celt. It could mean peoples from Wales Scotland, N.Ireland might join in greater numbers for this battle group. However, I disagree… Read more »

Pacman27
Pacman27
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Hey Ron i think we broadly agree here 2 carrier strike groups 2 amphibious attack groups 4 standing task groups 1 submarine force Each is a commodore level command and the STG in particular can break down into 2 squadrons. i also agree with your comments on rotation I do think we could benefit from a SSK fleet, but have balanced this off against getting better value out of our nuclear capability which would hopefully reduce the costs of all vessels substantially. When you add in all the remote capabilities it could be something special and for me seems very… Read more »

Watcher Zero
Watcher Zero
2 months ago

Visits to 40 countries! one hell of a diplomatic trip, their going to be having visitor ceremonies every other day on this deployment.

Dave Wolfy
Dave Wolfy
2 months ago

I reckon that the US will be sending boats to watch the watchers.
The Chinese will use their assets to gain intel, the USN will be there.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago

This will be a very good and proper fleet exercise.

Andrew D
2 months ago

Great news hope all goes well on the waves and in the Air.Will be watching closer when in South China sea .Interesting to see if China push there luck.🙏hope not.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Hi Andrew, All, nice photos. Has anyone seen if they’ve installed any 30mm or any other systems next to the Phalanx’s on the carriers? It looks like the spaces are still there. Any extra layer of defence would be very useful.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I heard the 30s are not getting fitted and Phalanx will do the surface protection role along with Martlett Wildcats. Phalanx has a thim so it can easily do the job.
Perhaps they are looking at surplus CTA 40s to fit to some mounts as they are no longer needed by the ARMY for Warrior and are surplus to requirements. Waste not want not. The current 30mm mounts from MSI can take a 40mm cannon.

or you could go for

https://www.edrmagazine.eu/navdex-2019-nexter-and-thales-detail-rapidfire-naval-gun-system

Last edited 2 months ago by Gunbuster
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

There’s a new article on Navy Lookout on this lack of armament on the QE and POW. Looks like you’re right, no 30mm mounts. I wonder why they didn’t go for 4 phalanx’s or al least with additional 4 x 40mm with variable ammunition or, even Dragon Fire? Maybe there’s some portable Star Streak or Sea Streak options? Anyway, wishing every ship and every single sailor a safe and memorable trip around the globe promoting GB, international cooperation and democratic values and freedom!

Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago

Hopefully everyone’s vaccinated against COVID, or every port visit is going to be playing Russian Roulette….

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Covid protocol means that it is likely they will stay bubbled. Most vessels out this way are the same. The crew gets to go on the jetty and occasionally to UKNSF …that’s about it . Nobody goes outside the dockyard into the community. Getting Jabbed may help to relieve the situation but the MOD will go ALARP.
So no crew having runs ashore, stay on the jetty and stay in the bubble means low risk and crap runs for the crews..

Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

At any other time I’d imagine a round the world trip with so many Ports to visit would have been on most sailors wish list…

hopefully the next round the world deployment will be in better times…..