British F-35B fighter jets operating from HMS Queen Elizabeth are to conduct combat operations against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The Ministry of Defence say that this will be the first time British fighter aircraft are embarked on an operational aircraft carrier deployment since 2010, and will be the largest number of F-35Bs ever to sail the seas.
“The renowned 617 Squadron RAF (‘The Dambusters’) will operate the jets to provide tangible and impactful support to counter-Daesh operations in Iraq and Syria.”
Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey MP said:
“The F-35B Lightning jets will pack a potent punch against Daesh and help prevent them from regaining a foothold in Iraq. This is a prime example of the UK Armed Forces stepping forward with our allies to confront persistent threats around the world. It is Global Britain in action.”
The Carrier Strike Group, led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, is the largest concentration of maritime and air power to leave the UK in a generation and will set sail next month on its first operational deployment after conducting Exercise Strike Warrior off the coast of Scotland.
HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Carrier Strike Group deployment will then 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.
Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key said:
“This deployment represents the embodiment of the UK’s Joint Expeditionary Capability and utilising the F-35Bs in the fight against Daesh will further demonstrate our commitment to securing their global defeat.”
March 2021 saw the second anniversary of Daesh’s final and total loss of territory in Syria. However, there remain significant numbers of Daesh terrorists in Iraq and Syria.
According to the Ministry of Defence:
“March 2021 saw the second anniversary of Daesh’s final and total loss of territory in Syria. However, there remain significant numbers of Daesh terrorists in Iraq and Syria. The UK remains committed to defeating Daesh and enhancing security in the region, alongside the Iraqi Security Forces and our NATO allies. Operation Shader is the UK’s contribution to the Global Coalition against Daesh.”