Alongside the UK’s 617 Squadron, VMFA-211 ‘The Wake Island Avengers’ will form part of the largest 5th generation carrier air group in the world.

“This deployment highlights the global reach of the U.S. and UK armed forces and their interoperability, and enhances the deterrence and defense capabilities of the NATO Alliance.”

U.S. Marine Corps 5th-generation aircraft flew more than 5,000 miles from their home station in Arizona to Royal Air Force Lakenheath ahead of their deployment onbard HMS Queen Elizabeth.

British jets have already landed onboard, you can read more about that here.

British jets land on HMS Queen Elizabeth

What is the Carrier Strike Group doing?

HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Carrier Strike Group deployment will feature visits to India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore.

According to the Ministry of Defence, on the 28-week deployment spanning 26,000 nautical miles the Carrier Strike Group will conduct engagements with Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan and India as part of the UK’s tilt towards the Indo-Pacific region.

Additionally, ‘CSG21’ will participate in NATO exercises such as Exercise Steadfast Defender, and provide support to NATO Operation Sea Guardian and maritime security operations in the Black Sea.

HMS Queen Elizabeth at sea with a mix of British and American jets.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“When our Carrier Strike Group sets sail next month, it will be flying the flag for Global Britain – projecting our influence, signalling our power, engaging with our friends and reaffirming our commitment to addressing the security challenges of today and tomorrow. The entire nation can be proud of the dedicated men and women who for more than six months will demonstrate to the world that the UK is not stepping back but sailing forth to play an active role in shaping the international system of the 21st Century.”

The Carrier Strike Group.

Units from the Carrier Strike Group are expected to visit more than 40 countries and undertake over 70 engagements, say the Ministry of Defence.

“HMS Queen Elizabeth, the most powerful surface vessel in the Royal Navy’s history, will next month set sail as the flagship of a Carrier Strike Group. Joining her will be a surface fleet of Type 45 destroyers, HMS Defender and HMS Diamond, Type 23 anti-submarine frigates HMS Kent and HMS Richmond, and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tidespring. Deep below the surface, a Royal Navy Astute-class submarine will be deployed in support, armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Providing a cutting edge on the carrier’s flight deck will be eight state-of-the-art RAF F-35B Lightning II fast jets. Alongside will be four Wildcat maritime attack helicopters, seven Merlin Mk2 anti-submarine helicopters and three Merlin Mk4 commando helicopters – the greatest quantity of helicopters assigned to a single UK Task Group in a decade. And supporting below deck will be a company of Royal Marines Commandos. A US Navy destroyer, a frigate from the Netherlands and a squadron of US Marine Corps F-35B jets are also fully integrated.”

British Carrier Strike Group heading to Pacific this year

Additional remarks from the statement explain the “Indo-Pacific tilt”.

“CSG21 will be a truly global deployment, from the North Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific. In Parliament, the Defence Secretary will explain how it will help achieve the UK’s goal for deeper engagement in the Indo-Pacific region in support of shared prosperity and regional stability – a stated aim of the Government’s recently published Integrated Review into foreign, defence, security and development policy.

The forthcoming deployment will bolster already deep defence partnerships in the region, where the UK is committed to a more enduring regional defence and security presence. Ships from the Carrier Strike Group will participate in Exercise Bersama Lima to mark the 50th anniversary of the Five Powers Defence Agreement between Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Engagements in Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan and India will provide the opportunity for strengthening our security relationships, tightening political ties and supporting our UK exports and International Trade agenda.”

The carrier and her escorts will head to Scotland shortly for Exercise Strike Warrior to test her capabilities before heading to the Asia-Pacific.

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Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg (@guest_557209)
4 days ago

I like that they’ve gone to the bother of putting ‘HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH’ stickers on the stabilisers

julian1
julian1 (@guest_557211)
4 days ago

I’m expecting to see silhouettes of beer cans start appearing under the canopy..

andy
andy (@guest_557215)
4 days ago

Its nice to see Chris Terrill is onboard to make a documentary about the first operational deployment, I thoroughly enjoyed the first lot he did, can’t wait to see this one..

Mike
Mike (@guest_557225)
4 days ago
Reply to  andy

I agree, he has done some really great RN and RM series over the years.

pkcasimir
pkcasimir (@guest_557232)
4 days ago

Ten US Marine F-35Bs and eight RAF F-35Bs. Who is augmenting who?

Dalecn
Dalecn (@guest_557286)
4 days ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

Our Carrier with 22 total British aircraft there definitely augmented us

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_557343)
4 days ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

To be fair the US Marines have been operating them a lot longer so no surprise they have more operational and more pilots as things stand.

Airborne
Airborne (@guest_557348)
4 days ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

Oh dear, rather petty post….but expected.

pkcasimir
pkcasimir (@guest_557469)
3 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Not as expected as a Brit who refuses to live in the real world.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_557505)
3 days ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

Another dig. We all know how small our forces have become, but you make sure you put down at every opportunity. You never miss the opportunity do you? A sign of insecurity. You’re very insecure aren’t you. A fat American with regrets sitting at a screen insulting another nation for your own spiteful reasons on a website about another nations military. “Refusing to live in the real world.” What do you expect, that we are not proud of our country and it’s achievements? What has the USA achieved through history compared to European nations? Zilch. You have presidents, we have… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne (@guest_557511)
3 days ago

Boom Daniele shoots and scores! pk down and suffering from a broken chip to the shoulder and a severe sucking wound to his overweight ego!!!!!

pkcasimir
pkcasimir (@guest_557693)
2 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Yeah, right. Dream away little Englander.

pkcasimir
pkcasimir (@guest_557692)
2 days ago

The US is very good at putting out fires. Three times in the 20th century Britain started fires it couldn’t put out and three times the US rescued it because the UK was too feeble to do it on its own. Now, if you don’t think saving Western European civilization three times in one century isn’t an achievement then you do live in an unreal world. The rest of your rant is the bitter rantings of a denizen of a country past its sell date refusing to even admit that its days of glory have been over for a century.… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne (@guest_557509)
3 days ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

And another routine and expected reply. Come on pk you must make a little more of an effort.

pkcasimir
pkcasimir (@guest_557694)
2 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Talk about pathetic responses.

Airborne
Airborne (@guest_558233)
19 hours ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

Keep trying son.

pkcasimir
pkcasimir (@guest_558320)
7 hours ago
Reply to  Airborne

I don’t need to try, I’ve succeeded. Like most Brits you just refuse to admit the fact that you don’t live in the real world of a third level power that can barely control Scotland and Northern Ireland. I’ll just sit back and watch Sturgeon make Boris the Blusterer’s life hell for the next years. LOL!

Airborne
Airborne (@guest_558327)
26 minutes ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

Oh dear!

Johan
Johan (@guest_557367)
4 days ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

Not sure there are many other RAF pilots trained, NAO wouldn’t quote numbers, but advised we have more F35s than jockeys. due to slippage in the training programme

Bill
Bill (@guest_557429)
3 days ago
Reply to  Johan

We have twice as many trained F35 pilots for operational aircraft. We had 26 more than 18 months ago. Pilot shortage is not an issue!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_557384)
4 days ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

Do you want some Kleenex?

John Mulley
John Mulley (@guest_557890)
1 day ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

Both.

Bill
Bill (@guest_557261)
4 days ago

Just 8 British F-35b’s? Could we not manage a full squadron?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_557323)
4 days ago
Reply to  Bill

No, not yet.

With only 18 in the UK is 8 not good enough? Considering the force is in the early stages of building to the first 48 and the remainder are in the OCU and maintenance?

Should QEC remain alongside till she has her full complement?

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_557344)
4 days ago

Yes and better to have more advanced versions off the line than have the cost of keep updating earlier ones.

Johan
Johan (@guest_557371)
4 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

This very true, as the avionics and alike get smaller the weapons bays are getting bigger.

Bill
Bill (@guest_557431)
3 days ago

No of course not! If we wait for her ‘full complement’ we might as well convert the QE to a floating hotel in that event. If 8 is the best we can do now, that will have to do.

Johan
Johan (@guest_557369)
4 days ago
Reply to  Bill

training for F35 PILOTS is well behind, think the RAF expected more out of the Tonka’s. But different animal and no back seat to look after him…

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_557465)
3 days ago
Reply to  Johan

What has happened to the pilots from the GR4 force?

Even if they have moved over to the Typhoon force that little fiddle keeping front line squadron number plates in expanding the Typhoon force has not resulted in more aircraft. And with the latest news that the remaining tranche 1’s are going even less.

Nic
Nic (@guest_557757)
2 days ago

This would have been a good time to have a couple of ospreys on board to see how they operate with the RM and also the flight crews.