HMS Queen Elizabeth, the aircraft carrier leading the Carrier Strike Group 21 deployment, has said farewell to the 10 American jets stationed on board as the vessel returns home to the UK.

After six months and sailing over 40,000 nautical miles to the Pacific and back, the Carrier Strike Group and its large number of people, ships (and a submarine) and aircraft are now in the Mediterranean Sea heading back to Britain.

Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander UK Carrier Strike Group, tweeted:

The 10 American jets were flying alongside the 8 (and then 7) British jets for the duration of the deployment which left British shores earlier this month.

Ships and aircraft from the group have operated and exercised with over 40 countries.

Earlier in the deployment Russian jets were being intercepted almost every day and now that the Strike Group is back in the Mediterranean Sea it’s happening again.

In fact, it was reported that F-35 jets from HMS Queen Elizabeth intercepted Russian jets in the eastern Mediterranean more than 30 times as part of the Carrier Strike Group. Now that the vessels have returned to the region after sailing to the Pacific and back it appears Russian interest has been renewed. You can read more about this here.

Russian jets continue to ‘buzz’ British Carrier Strike Group

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Bob Hetward
Bob Hetward
7 days ago

If rumours are true about a jet intake cover causing an F35 to crash, then I’m not surprised the USMC want to get their assets off the ship, pronto!

That mess-up would make the Russian’s shenanigans with Kuznetzov’s arrestor wires seem professional by comparison.

Hermes
Hermes
3 days ago
Reply to  Bob Hetward

What ? Do you have any link about that ?

In all case, it was the first real sortie of the QE, accidents are accidents.

Knight7572
Knight7572
7 days ago

And the USMC experience on HMS Queen Elizabeth will likely not get the USA to retrofit a ski-jump to the 2 America Class Flight 0 Helicopter Carriers or more accurately America Class Flight 0 Light Aircraft Carriers

The USN needs more America Class Flight 0 Light Aircraft Carriers as the Nimitz Class are getting worn out and the Gerald Ford Class is basically a lost cause

SwindonSteve
SwindonSteve
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

But their experience might feed back to the USMC producing something similar to a QEC in the future, or dare I say it, a licensed build of half dozen.

I would have thought it would be very attractive in terms of capability, cost and crewing.

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan
6 days ago
Reply to  SwindonSteve

The USMC doesn’t produce aircraft carriers or ships. That’s the mission of the US Navy of which the USMC is part.

SwindonSteve
SwindonSteve
6 days ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

I know that.

I meant that they might take what they’ve learnt from this deployment back and it might result in in QEC type carrier for the USMC.

They could probably get 3 of them for the price of a Ford.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

One of the things they apparently really loved was QE ability to have aircraft land and takeoff at the same time. On the America class they have to clear the deck of other aircraft and helicopters unless they are taking off vertically.

Knight7572
Knight7572
6 days ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Doesn’t that scream the America Class is too small for the F-35B

Donaldson
Donaldson
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

I think it’s more they want as many helos onboard as possible..

Pic for reference

USSAMERICA.png
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 days ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

They probably also liked the use of a bar after a hard days flying!

Jason
Jason
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It’s a pub not a bar 🍺🍺👍👍

Patrick
Patrick
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

The Gerald Ford is not a lost cause.

Knight7572
Knight7572
6 days ago
Reply to  Patrick

Oh really

It’s late, way over budget, most of its major innovations don’t work reliably

The Gerald.R.Ford Class Aircraft Carrier will go down in history as how not to build or procure an Aircraft Carrier and everything wrong with America’s military procurement

the Gerald.R.Ford Class Aircraft Carrier and F-35 Lightning II are victims of the classic mistake of trying to do too much with 1 thing

The Royal Navy dodged a bullet by going with STVOL, a proven and reliable unlike EMALS which is a decade or more away from working properly

Paul42
Paul42
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

The Gerald R Ford is the first of her ultra modern class and suffered a number of setbacks with revolutionary new kit. The problems have been ironed out and she will deploy on her IOC in the coming months.
She is a triumph in technology, and the most modern and capable carrier of her kind in existence…….the F35 is likewise the most capable 5th gen warplane in existence, and the sheer weight of numbers entering service with so many differing airforce is truly tipping the balance of world airpower

Knight7572
Knight7572
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Yeah USS Gerald.R.Ford should have been on her maiden deployment already

Paul42
Paul42
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

True, but she’s worth the wait….

Knight7572
Knight7572
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Like i said earlier this is not how you procure an aircraft carrier

Do the American military need to learn from the Royal Navy again

Paul42
Paul42
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

The QE class are great ships, but lack the capability of the Ford class. The Fords presented far greater technical challenges than the QEs which are limited to STOVL. No E3D Hawkeyes or EA18G Growlers, or the F35C. Different ships built by different countries based on what each could afford and had the ability to create.

David Steeper
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

I have no idea whether the Fords will be a succes or failure but your spot on. You can’t compare the QE with the Ford. The RN built the QE because that’s what they could man and afford. Ditto the USN with the Ford.

andy a
andy a
6 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

But the US do seem to hugely over man their carriers I assume to have mass to soak up heavy losses.

David Steeper
5 days ago
Reply to  andy a

Ithink the one advantage the RN had with QE was that it was almost a blank sheet. The RN has never operated a carrier this size so they thought radically about things like automation particularly in weapons handling but elsewhere too. The USN has a long history with CVNs so took a more conservative route on automation which when you look at the risks they took in other areas EMALS as a prime example seems reasonable. I think whatever happens with the Ford class the USN will be studying closely the effectiveness of a lean manned highly automated QE.

Knight7572
Knight7572
4 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Yeah cause they have a manpower shortage issue

Hermes
Hermes
3 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

Like all of us

Hermes
Hermes
3 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

On paper the EMALS are a big jump for onboard planes. I can understand why they take the risk. But yes, the EMALS was not ready and the US like a bit too much to pick a lot of new tech at the same time in their assets, that explain all the problems the Ford is actually working on. But the day where the Ford can be fully under service, of even if some of its systems are not ready, with just the EMALS its enough to give a real special status. I really hope to the see the EMALS… Read more »

Knight7572
Knight7572
4 days ago
Reply to  andy a

the US Navy has been lucky they’ve not had one of their huge man crew supercarriers sunk yet

Robert Billington
Robert Billington
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

What good are any of them with ICBM’s lol.

Harry JOHNSTON
Harry JOHNSTON
6 days ago

Thats what I thought but the thing is NOT to have to go nuclear. Nukes keep a balance of TERROR. Everyone should know that a first nuclear strike signals armageddon. The wearysome and expensive thing is to keep warfare NON nuclear. Better still just NON…period. Sadly homo sapiens is a brutal boneheaded species. Needs slapping hard but contained..short of triggering the holocaust which is nuclear war.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

You are comparing apples and pears. Both are delicious but do slightly different things. We have bought the carriers that we could afford, and have no great problem that they are ‘limited to STOVL’ – as were the Invincible class.

Knight7572
Knight7572
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

And the British are intend for UAVs to fill those roles

Hermes
Hermes
3 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

A lot of differencies with the Invincible class. But the main difference is the big proliferation of long range antiship missile, any country in the world can afford AS missile with 200Km range. It was not the case in the era of the Invincible… The lack of real air refuel capability of the STOVL/STOBAR is the biggest issue when you compare with CATOBAR counterpart. Meaning you cannot really use your F35 for deep strike without external support. So, the QE for example is mostly an escort/support ship, not a striker. If the project of add small catapult for UCAV comes… Read more »

Last edited 3 days ago by Hermes
Hermes
Hermes
3 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Dont forget the Greyhound, it’s also an important asset even if less visible than the others.

comment image

Paul42
Paul42
3 days ago
Reply to  Hermes

Grey hound is now being replaced by Osprey so we could have a COD, but as per usual…..we can’t afford it…..

Hermes
Hermes
3 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Yeah the Osprey is as good as pricey 😡
I would love to see some of them on Mistral class ships.

Jbpeckham
Jbpeckham
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

I think we have selective amnesia – while QE is undoubtedly a fine ship it was still hugely over budget and years behind schedule.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 days ago
Reply to  Jbpeckham

The initial budget was set low, so as to convince the Treasury to say ‘Yes’. Standard trick.

Adrian Flitcroft
Adrian Flitcroft
16 hours ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Adding £1.56 Billion to the Programme cost by stretching out the Build by two years probably didn’t help, either.

Knight7572
Knight7572
6 days ago
Reply to  Jbpeckham

That is because government officials are corrupt and only care about themselves

They’d be more than happy to sell them if they think we don’t need them

Hermes
Hermes
3 days ago
Reply to  Jbpeckham

Like 95% of the military programs over the world, but especially in western countries.

Bigger is the project, newer is the project… Its not like the UK build a carrier every year so… normal

Last edited 3 days ago by Hermes
Adrian Flitcroft
Adrian Flitcroft
16 hours ago
Reply to  Jbpeckham

And THAT was down to the politicians.
The Labour Government ordered them and then promptly stretched out the Build by two years adding £1.56 Billion to the cost. The Coalition then went through the Double U-Turn over equipping them as CATOBAR Carriers and also stretched the Build even further adding more cost.
You can trust politicians to cock it up.

Steve
Steve
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

The QE were massively delayed and over budget, not sure they are a good learning point. Same with the astutes which also had massive initial problems. The t45 are still not reliable and again late/over budget. Just seems a consistent problems with government contracts.

Grant
Grant
6 days ago
Reply to  Steve

The only reason they were delayed was because the Government messsed about reviewing whether they wanted them, going to CATOBAR and back and then slowing production for cash flow.

Despite all that these ships were incredibly good value. Cheaper then Ajax – a vehicle which is useless, has sod all strategic or industrial value to the UK.

Overall the carriers are one of the few things the Government got right. Shame they are gonna now dick around fitting them with EMALS when they should just be buying more f35s and merlins

Sean
Sean
6 days ago
Reply to  Grant

The catapult – not necessarily EMALS – they are considering is for drones. Try and get the facts right before commenting 🤦‍♂️

Grant
Grant
6 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Yeah I know. EMALS is a product name, but whatever they chose would have to be a similar thing (electromagnetic). I question the wisdom of – just as we get these ships operational and proving their worth – spending lots of money to fit a catapult technology which is unproven in order to launch drones which as it stand dont even exist. In my humble opinion it would be better to spend on the great capabilities we already have started putting in place….

Sean
Sean
3 days ago
Reply to  Grant

True drones don’t yet exist, but they’re inevitable so why not plan for the future, or better shape it by requiring drones to work with the navy’s catapult system. That way manufacturers will design them from the start to be compatible rather than the Navy having to pay manufacturers to adapt their drones to work.

Hermes
Hermes
3 days ago
Reply to  Sean

I think steams catapult are just too complicated to incorporate in comparison with EMALS on an existing ship.

Any catapult will cost billion to integrate in all case…

It’s just sad to see this happen where the french design of the QE was on the table years ago with catapults integrated.

http://www.opex360.com/wp-content/uploads/pa2-20191030.jpg

Sean
Sean
3 days ago
Reply to  Hermes

It wouldn’t be steam, that’d be like reintroducing steam trains! It will be electrical but there’s several ways in which in could work, it won’t necessarily be a copy of the EMALS on the new Ford class carriers. Won’t cost billions either, a few hundred million should be enough to develop and install one for drone launches – depends on the drone size of course, I’m thinking up to a third size of an F35. The most important thing is that it shouldn’t restrict take-offs/ landings of F35Bs so positioning will be crucial. As for the French. They’ll never by… Read more »

Hermes
Hermes
3 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Its not about being stuck.

CATOBAR are just superior to STOVL or even STOBAR.
For the EMALS its just a question of time.

Luckily the USN will do the testbed for us.

Sean
Sean
3 days ago
Reply to  Hermes

It’s not, it’s a single point of failure.
High sea states (cf Falklands), break-down, or enemy action all means that if the catapult is unavailable, your CSG has zero air-cover.

Hermes
Hermes
3 days ago
Reply to  Sean

if “the catapult”, its not a single machine, even the small CDG has 2 cats (4 Nimitz/Ford, 3 PANG). If you have a hole on the deck able to completely destruct the whole cats system, the same damage on a QE will make it unusable too… Dont even talk about the vertical take off with the F35… Close to no fuel and weapons, nothing to expect. So, your single point of failure is the same for any carrier => they need a flat deck. While you try to look at the advantages of the STOVL. A CATOBAR can deploy heavy… Read more »

Last edited 3 days ago by Hermes
Locking Nut
Locking Nut
5 days ago
Reply to  Grant

SDSR2010 and the switch away/back to STOVL isn’t the only reason they were delayed. Along with lots more less significant prevarication and procrastination prior to 2010, there was a decision initiated by Brown to deliberately slow their assembly to preserve jobs in his constituency backyard and align better with the F-35B. If I recall, that put something like £1.5bn on the programme cost for little other than political convenience. Also, Sean is spot on re. the catapult evaluation, and if successful will eventually lead to a solution that will reduce the need for, and increase capability beyond, more F-35’s and… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Locking Nut

there was a decision initiated by Brown to deliberately slow their assembly to preserve jobs in his constituency backyard “

Correct. Def Sec Hutton was at the helm if I recall and it added 1 billion to their cost.

Martin O'Driscoll
Martin O'Driscoll
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

The Royal Navy is non-existent in real terms and will remain so until a usable air arm is deployed on both light carriers now in it’s possession. There is a very long way to go before they can be declared self sufficient modern force multipliers. This is at least a decade away.

The US on the other hand does not need to be shown how to do it by anyone. They have kwad the way for decadse and continue to do so by pushing the limits all the time. Reserved piecemeal steps count for nothing tomorrow

Knight7572
Knight7572
4 days ago

Not quite Martin The Queen Elizabeth Class displace as much as your Kitty-Hawk Class which makes them supercarriers The US hasn’t led the way all the time as the British were The first to get a jet flying on an aircraft carrier The first to get a turboprop flying on an aircraft carrier The only ones to get a turboprop carrier-based Attack aircraft in the Westland Wyvern The first to have a turbofan carrier-based fighter in the F-4K Phantom II The first to have a turbofan carrier-based strike aircraft in the Blackburn Buccaneer S.2 Several times throughout history has the… Read more »

Last edited 4 days ago by Knight7572
Knight7572
Knight7572
4 days ago

The Royal Navy are the only other navy besides the US Navy that can project power around the globe so that pretty much makes them self-sufficient

The Royal Navy were the ones who basically wrote the rulebook on power projection

Sean
Sean
3 days ago

That you refer to “non-existent” and “light carriers” betrays how little you know on this subject 😂🤣😂🤣

Martin O'Driscoll
Martin O'Driscoll
2 days ago
Reply to  Sean

I would beg to differ Sean. The bare bones for a return to a truly blue-water navy are beginning to materialize to be fair but humility must have a place at the table here. Gone are the days of ignorance regarding the true capability of a completely underfunded military over a number of decades. How many fixed wing aircraft are available to operate of the deck of the latest carriers? 21 based in the UK with a maximum of 11/13 available for operations at any one time, between 2 carriers????? Doesn’t sound very formidable to me. Like I said, a… Read more »

Sean
Sean
15 hours ago

You can beg all you like, you’re still wrong 🤷‍♂️ The RN is in a vastly improved position to where it was just 10 years ago, and getting better all the time. So you’d advocate buying lots of pre Block IV F35Bs and then have to spend money to upgrade them to the capabilities the U.K. most wants? Glad you’re not in charge of the defence budget. Yes it does mean numbers for F35Bs are low at the moment, but greater than any other military that fields a stealth, VSTOL jet. Not forgetting that the punch each F35 carriers is… Read more »

Terry
Terry
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

Sad as they are much needed.

Netking
Netking
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

That’s a strange way to criticize the Ford class when comparing it to the QE. The QE as far was I’m aware was supposed to enter service in 2015. It. like the Ford Class has been delayed and over budget as is the norm with programs of this scale and complexity.

Knight7572
Knight7572
6 days ago
Reply to  Netking

2015 was the plan that had things gone the way they were suppose to

Netking
Netking
5 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

lol, that’s sort of the point I was making. I bet the USN would say the same thing about the Ford Class. Like I said it’s a very strange criticism of the the Ford when the QE Class has been delayed and over budget as well. You also mentioned that the delays and cost overruns have hurt the reputation of the Ford. Does the same apply to the QE?

Knight7572
Knight7572
5 days ago
Reply to  Netking

No, because unlike the Fords trying to do too much with untested, unproven tech The QEs uses a proven and arguably more reliable system than the CATOBAR which doesn’t have the same limitations I direct you to the Falklands War, May 25th 1982 the Colossus Class Light Aircraft Carrier the ARA Veintinco De Mayo was preparing to launch an airstrike with her A-4Q Skyhawks on the British Task Force only to scrub due to lack of wind over the flight deck The British Aerospace Sea Harriers and British Aerospace Harriers never had this problem as it took the South Atlantics… Read more »

Last edited 5 days ago by Knight7572
Netking
Netking
5 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

If I’m understanding you correctly, Ford Class, delayed and over budget: lost cause. QE Class, delayed and over budget: no issue. Seems like a little home team bias going on there. I think it’s a fair comment about the Ford introducing too much new tech (which have mostly been resolved by the way) all at one time which contributed to the aforementioned delays. Regarding your example about the ARA carrier, maybe I’m missing your point but surely you are not using that lone example to claim that the ski jump is a more effective way to launch aircrafts from a… Read more »

SPike
SPike
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

STVOL is great… as long as you don’t mind giving up a LOT of range.

andy a
andy a
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

Every major carrier the US has fielded have gone through the same. When people talk about the F35 issues well the F15 and every other high end platform goes through the same.

SwindonSteve
SwindonSteve
6 days ago
Reply to  andy a

As does every first of class ship.

Whilst there’s no question over the power one of these will be able to deliver, they’re far beyond our reach in everything, especially the price and huge crewing required.

The UK has played a blinder with the QEC’s in my opinion, they’re a perfect fit for us and will only get better when we get a fixed wing drone solution to AEW and AAR.

Andy a
Andy a
5 days ago
Reply to  SwindonSteve

I agree if we can get a loyal wingman drone will be great multiplier. I don’t think however just cos the fords have teething issues means anything

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

I thought they were on the way to sorting out the problems with the Gerald R Ford? Was it intended for USMC F-35Bs to serve on the big carriers?

Richard B
Richard B
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

>Gerald Ford Class is basically a lost cause I dispute this. Clearly the lead ship has had a lot of expensive problems due to all the new technology. But by spending bucket loads of money the USN will soon have in service a new fleet carrier that has no remotely close competitor. The Chinese 003 design is the closest, but I find it impossible to believe that China has miraculously short cut the USN‘s century of experience and will have 2 or 3 near peer carriers in service this decade.  Incidentally, if the UK had decided in 2013 to stick with the conversion… Read more »

Knight7572
Knight7572
6 days ago
Reply to  Richard B

Yeah China is likely to have issues too

Knight7572
Knight7572
6 days ago
Reply to  Richard B

All the delays and cost overruns will have hurt the ford class’s reputation

Grant
Grant
6 days ago
Reply to  Richard B

Will the 003 class still be STOBAR? If so they will still be miles behind us, the US, the french and probably even the Italians as well.

Knight7572
Knight7572
6 days ago
Reply to  Grant

Type 003 is to be EMALS CATOBAR

Bill
Bill
6 days ago

Presumably they checked for rain covers before launching? 🙄

Esteban
Esteban
6 days ago
Reply to  Bill

That is the reason there was no halt to flying after it happened. They knew exactly what the problem was.

Rob
Rob
6 days ago

That leaves 7 Brit F35Bs for intercepts. I guess we may be depending on NATO ground based assets as she goes through the western med and then home to blighty.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
6 days ago
Reply to  Rob

2 aircraft are held at readiness when required. Sailing through the straits Gib and up past Portugal and the bay of biscay doesn’t require QRA aircraft. Unless France fancies a pop at us 😄

David Barry
David Barry
6 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Cobblers, the French have promised to support the Irish airforce in any attack!

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
6 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

😆

Donaldson
Donaldson
6 days ago
Reply to  Rob

CSG21 now has 6 F-35B onboard, One returned to Marham today the other crashed.. https://twitter.com/RoyalAirForce/status/1463549311162146828

Last edited 6 days ago by Donaldson
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 days ago
Reply to  Rob

Who or what do we need to intercept on the short journey home from the Med?

Bruce Palmer
Bruce Palmer
6 days ago

News headline: “RN has aircraft carriers with no jets”

Paul42
Paul42
6 days ago

Why are they actually departing now instead of when the QE returns to the UK at the end of the deployment?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Only 1 (of 6) has flown to RAF Marham by Donaldson’s account.

Contrary to Mike’s belief you don’t need 24 aircraft onboard at all times – or even 6 or 7.

The deployment is effectively over – just a simple and quick transit back to Blighty from the Med. Might as well start to get the F-35s back to their base and get on with post-deployment checks and servicing.

Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

A sensible reply at last. Re the Ford carriers, go for it if you can afford it, but when the drones are up and working providing AEW , refuelling, loyal wingman amongst other things…having two fully equipped QEs for the price of one Ford…?
The manning requirement alone on a Ford is eye watering, let alone the constant presence on board due to the reactor.
AA

Ian M.
Ian M.
6 days ago

Hi Mr. AA, Wiki says that there are 2 reactors on each Ford class (or there will be) generating steam for turbines. Manning is approx 2600 crew plus aircrew. Apparently a major flaw with the ships design is with the septic (haha) waste system which clogs up regularly and needs acidic flushing through.

cheers

Monty
Monty
6 days ago

Great maiden deployment! Lessons learned for sure but outstanding capability that few have.

Rec
Rec
5 days ago

Good, while it is to have the USMC F35Bs, we do need more UK Merlin HM2s, and F35Bs. This is too much like the period before WW2, where we had some good Aircraft Carriers, but the RAF was in control of naval aviation. Consequently aircraft numbers were too few and the types were obsolete. Whereas both F35b and Merlin are good, we have too few. I would rather see a smaller FAA F35B force that was totally dedicated to the carriers. If this meant the RAF having F35As so be it. Even if this meant four front line FAA squadrons… Read more »

Bill
Bill
5 days ago

Did anybody notice the defensive suite that equips the Iralian carrier ‘CAVOUR’?
Mightily impressive! Fitted ‘with’ throughout.