The first passage of HMS Queen Elizabeth through the Suez Canal is taking place.

HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group are entering phase two of their global deployment.

HMS Queen Elizabeth and her F-35 jets recenty joined the fight against Islamic State, with the jets carrying out the very first combat missions ever flown from HMS Queen Elizabeth.

You can read more about that here.

What is the UK Carrier Strike Group doing?

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the deployed flag ship for Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21), a deployment that will see the ship and her escorts sail to the Asia-Pacific and back.

The Carrier Strike Group includes ships from the United States Navy, the Dutch Navy, and Marines from the US Marine Corps. As well as British frigates, destroyers, a submarine, two RFA supply ships and air assets from 617 Sqn, 820 NAS, 815 NAS and 845 NAS.

The Carrier Strike Group.

CSG21 will see the ship along with the Strike Group work with over 40 countries from around the world. The Strike Group will operate and exercise with other countries Navies and Air Forces during the 7 month deployment.

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Brom
Brom
11 days ago

Hod save the Britiah* navy

*slight typo in the title there guys

maurice10
maurice10
11 days ago

I’m not sure I’d have the F35’s exposed on deck during transit through the canal? Some may say, ‘show the goods,’ but one lucky incoming could cause havoc.

David
David
11 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Interesting point which took me back to the photo… I can’t see any markings on the planes using my phone; are they USMC?

Lusty
Lusty
11 days ago
Reply to  David

They look like the RAF’s airframes, although I appreciate the lighting isn’t great.

Pacman27
Pacman27
11 days ago
Reply to  David

there’s a lightning bolt on far left tail, so at least one is RAF

Alan Reid
Alan Reid
11 days ago
Reply to  David

At least one airframe looks to be British, David.
I can see 617 squadron unit markings on the tail.

dc647
dc647
11 days ago
Reply to  David

It looks like they have the full amount 8 RAF and 9 USMC f35s

David Steeper
David Steeper
11 days ago
Reply to  dc647

Thinks it’s 4 RN 4 RAF and 10 USMC or was when they left Pompey.

Padre
Padre
11 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

The RN don’t have any F-35’s. They are all in the RAF inventory and all British aircraft on board are 617 Sqn jets. The RN squadron hasn’t even been stood up yet.

David Steeper
David Steeper
11 days ago
Reply to  Padre

No RN F35 pilots on QE ?

Last edited 11 days ago by David Steeper
Gunbuster
Gunbuster
10 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

There are FAA pilots flying the aircraft and RAF pilots. Its a continuation of the Joint Force Harrier set up where both services flew the RAF owned aircraft

dc647
dc647
10 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

OK 8 UK f35s

H4cked Off
H4cked Off
11 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Interested to know, what would you do with them?
They can’t all go in the hangar…

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
11 days ago
Reply to  H4cked Off

She’s meant to have a surge capacity of 48 F35, so there should be room for this half load below decks.

Steve
Steve
11 days ago

Isn’t she meant to have surge capability for 70 odd.

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
11 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I’ve not heard that figure but if she does, it reinforces the point that there should be ample space below decks to hangar current load.

Dern
Dern
11 days ago

70 I believe was quoted as the maximum quoted number of airframes that can fit onto her, while 48 is the number that can realistically be operated without compromising sortie generation rate.

That being said, from the graphics I’ve seen I struggle to see how you’d fit 70 airframes on her.

ERNEST HARRISON
ERNEST HARRISON
11 days ago

“Aircraft. The two ships of the Queen Elizabeth class are each expected to be capable of carrying over forty aircraft, with a normal maximum load of thirty-six F-35s and four helicopters, but with a theoretical surge capacity of up to 72 aircraft.”

https://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+the+surge+capacity+of+F35s+on+HMS+queen+elizabeth&oq=what+is+the+surge+capacity+of+F35s+on+HMS+queen+elizabeth&aqs=chrome..69i57.33859j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
11 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Then how would you provide top cover quickly if something got silly?

maurice10
maurice10
11 days ago

One or two on deck would possibly be an answer?

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
11 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

This is why we have intelligence services that monitor such threats.

maurice10
maurice10
11 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm? Obviously, there are measures afoot, which we have no idea about, but 9/11’s happen regardless. Having a show of force is one thing but a lucky strike on just one plane could lead to further losses? I just felt placing the majority of airframes in the hangers would be a wise safety move?

Andrew
Andrew
11 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Doesn’t seem to bother US Navy carriers when they transit the Suez Canal….
I believe from a previous article I read that Egyptian security forces shadow the carriers on both side of the canal when there are higher profile movements…

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
11 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

The vessels have force protection measures on place. They don’t leave aircraft on the flight deck just to look good, and undertake unnecessary risks. No warship has been attacked in the canal in a very long time. Plus it helps that Egypt is a friendly country. Have a little faith that our Royal Navy know what they are doing.

maurice10
maurice10
11 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Don’t suggest I have no faith in the RN. The canal is potentially a dangerous transit and as I said, a lucky hit is all it takes.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
10 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

I think the RN are totally aware of the risks. And western warships have been transiting the canal for decades without incident. I have been on-board RN warships myself through the canal, an it’s taken very seriously.

John Clark
John Clark
10 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

I have to say, it has crossed my mind, one lucky terrorist RPG shot could be calamitous ….

It must be the most vulnerable point of the entire mission…

maurice10
maurice10
10 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

It’s an odd world when you just mention a possible risk how it generates a phalanx of debate? However, if the current practices had been challenged the security would have resulted in far greater safety measures, including keeping assets hidden where possible. Maybe in this terrorist age, some of us think in this way?

John
John
10 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

There is a significant and extensive security blanket around the canal, one which is elevated even further when a CSG transits through. Believe me, if it were so easy to do, a US carrier would’ve been struck by now.

The economic and political damage to Egypt would be significant if anything were to happen. Way too much money moving through the canal, and by the way, their guarantee of the security of the canal is one of the primary reasons they receive as much foreign aid as they do. If they can’t do that….

Isidelio
Isidelio
20 hours ago
Reply to  John

Well said John

Nic
Nic
11 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

They are bound to have some form of top cover to protect the CSG ships, maybe high altitude.

CAM
CAM
11 days ago

Hi there George just thought I’d let you know that there’s a typo in the title – Britiah instead of British

julian1
julian1
11 days ago

Anyone know how long the SC takes to transit? Would the CSG all be line astern travelling together or would they be mixed with commercial vessels?

Sleepy
Sleepy
11 days ago
Reply to  julian1

The transit takes about 18 hours depending on how long you have to wait in the Bitter Lakes for the north bound convey to get through.Normally military vessels are kept together at the head of the convoy.

2e
2e
11 days ago
Reply to  julian1

Can we jump the queue because we are with USS The Sullivans? Are plus ones allowed in the Egypt-US SC agreement?:D

geoff
geoff
11 days ago

Cannot work the photo out. there appears to be a 90 degree turn in the canal or is that a subsidiary channel? if the former how does Big Lizzie make the turn?
Another thought-any big vessel looks very vulnerable in the confined space of the Canal, particularly a big allied Naval ship!
Should be cause for concern. How do you protect against a fanatic on the bank?

Sleepy
Sleepy
11 days ago
Reply to  geoff

It is an interconnecting canal, the north end is “dual carriageway” one side is north the other side south with regular small connecting sections.

geoff
geoff
11 days ago
Reply to  Sleepy

Thanks Sleepy

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
11 days ago

I’d like to see a picture of her from a distance. Would be impressive to see an aircraft carrier in the middle of the desert.

Getting to the ‘hyped’ end of the deployment – Indo-Pacific region. The SCS looms…

Cheers CR

Nicholas Langdon
Nicholas Langdon
11 days ago

Silly question ….but is the Astute transitting the canal….or is a second one lurking at the exit?

Leslie Leveson
Leslie Leveson
11 days ago

I trust all will transfer through the canal without any terrorist activities when exiting, although all ships company be on alert to defuse any situations should arise.There will probably a Russian submarine or more having a snoopy.Apart from this it is good to see the Royal Navy showing its presence in conjuction with the rest of the International force.

The Big Man
The Big Man
11 days ago

And today is the day that the Ever Given is being released from Great Bitter Lake.
Fingers crossed.

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
11 days ago

Is it not customary to have a constant CAP above Carriers?

Andrew
Andrew
11 days ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

It’s sovereign Egyptian airspace, so would need permission for anything in the air I assume….

Chris
Chris
11 days ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

No, not for US carriers. Egypt doesn’t allow aircraft to operate.

The US typical just leaves a single helicopter+crew on standby incase they need to launch armed overwatch.

Springer
Springer
11 days ago

Richmond tweeting images now showing an SSN came through with them:

https://twitter.com/hms_richmond/status/1412453488521400321?s=21

Lusty
Lusty
11 days ago
Reply to  Springer

Good catch,

With an Astute + PoW currently in Gib and the CSG transitting the canal, there has certainly been a lot of steel in the Med over the past few weeks.

Springer
Springer
11 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

Yeah and I reckon if you want to ensure superiority of a sea just stick a couple of Astutes in there! Certainly been a busy time for the navy anyway.

Lusty
Lusty
11 days ago
Reply to  Springer

Yup! I don’t think anyone expected two subs in the Med at the same time!

I for one welcome the increased tempo in operations and the amount of coverage the Andrew is receiving.

Crabfat
Crabfat
11 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

Yeah – UK to Far East, via the Med and Suez Canal, etc. With a full CSG, Then PoW rocking up in GIb. Oh yes – and a sub or two. The RN and friends are never off UKDJ and other military sites. And we are grateful to these sitges for their excellent and regular reporting. So, a huge story here – but where was the BBC? Not a single minute of news from Auntie since that 20 seconds showing the Queen visiting th QE in Pompey a couple of months ago. Thought I would drop a line to the… Read more »

Crabfat
Crabfat
11 days ago
Reply to  Lusty

Just remembered – the BBC did report the buzzing by Russsian jets, of Defender in the Black Sea.

Adrian
Adrian
11 days ago
Reply to  Springer

Lots of pictures of surfaced Astutes around at the moment, unusual to know where 1 is much less 2

Springer
Springer
10 days ago
Reply to  Adrian

Maybe the Russians will claim they are being chased out fo the water next! It could be a slight change in policy to make them a bit more visible, so that certain potential adversaries know we have them around.

Bob P
Bob P
10 days ago

The silhouette of the Merlin from 845 NAS is still of a Merlin Mk2 not a Merlin Mk4. They did that last time. It has a different shaped rear half due to the ramp for troops and not being an anti-submarine helicopter.

Gerald Jones
Gerald Jones
10 days ago

haven’t you heard of drones