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.

Scottish waters to play host to massive military exercise

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.

You can read more about the global deployment by clicking here.

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.”

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Jon
Jon
2 days ago

What will the carrier provide that RAF Akrotiri doesn’t? It’s unlikely to be allowed to transit the Bosphorus, so are we to see the carrier group parked off the coast of Kuwait?

David
David
2 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Training opportunity.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
2 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Absolutely nothing. I’d imagine this is more for the purpose of a little bit of propaganda and a little bit of experience in live operations for the crew

Paul T
Paul T
2 days ago
Reply to  Jon

While it won’t add anything significant over Akrotiri it sends a clear message to any doubters both here and abroad that UK Carrier Strike is back and it works.

TrevorH
TrevorH
2 days ago
Reply to  Jon

617 squad. have previously flown sorties I believe.

Daniel
Daniel
2 days ago
Reply to  Jon

What use would transiting the Bosphorus be for operations over Syria?

Herodotus
Herodotus
1 day ago
Reply to  Jon

Maybe they might try to squeeze it up the Euphrates…..as it were! Ooh err matron!

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 days ago

Just been looking at the pictures of the units sailing out

There are some Aerial and upper deck fitting differences between each of the T23s and each of the T45s when compared to regular deployed units.

One of the T45s has a fair few special fit aerials and is obviously set up to provide ESM during the trip.
In times of yore this service was provided by B2 T22 but has since been passed on to the T45s.

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

ESM long ago passed to T23s, but may now be shifted to 45s as they’ve matured in service and have greater space for the kit and people and so relieve the horribly overcrowded 23s in hot places.
Although the retirement of Sea Wolf should have helped with the 2 large tracker offices available.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 days ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Some of the the T45s got son of Outboard fitted. You can see the aerials fitted to the free board over the length of the Hull.
T23 never got that particular fit although they had plenty of other CT stuff added.
T23 is a lot cooler aft with the trackers gone, even in the Gulf. Its almost fleece wearing cool.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 day ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Is that Shaman?

ETH
ETH
11 hours ago

I don’t mean to step in if you’re waiting for Gunbuster’s reply but yes, I believe it is. They both seem to serve the same role of the location of electronic emissions, though Shaman/SSQ-130 obviously takes that a bit further.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 hours ago
Reply to  ETH

Not at all, glad someone did. Thank you.

I thought all the T45s had it, plus one for training at the Fleet intel building ( Leydene ) at Collingwood. Which was why I was curious when G said “some”

ETH
ETH
6 hours ago

Current HMS Defender and HMS Dauntless have the Shaman CESM upgrade fitted. 7 kits were procured so certainly also a land installation, though I wouldn’t know where (likely Collingwood, as you have mentioned).

The Type 45s all have varied RESM/ESM/CESM fits, the ‘mystery panels’ on HMS Duncan, just below the SAMPSON radome for example. Certainly reminiscent of the CEC panels on some of the older Type 26 renders (requirement has since been dropped).

ETH
ETH
6 hours ago
Reply to  ETH

*Currently,

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 minute ago
Reply to  ETH

Thanks. Really interesting. I knew 7 were procured but not that the 45s differed.

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 day ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Wow, thats a massive change – T23s were horrible before, even the extra aircon units barely dented the heat. I ended up living in the radar office which was at least well cooled!
AIUI, the aft tracker office was earmarked for booty accom/office space although the flight wanted it too! Up front a proper conference room was mooted.

Dern
Dern
2 days ago

So let me get this straight: British Jets, flown by British pilots, will be bombing Britains enemies, from a British Carrier?

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Just wondering why they have to publicise everything they are going to do in advance. Aren’t they losing the element of surprise and also possibly encouraging more opposition?
Slightly different note, I wish all the T45/23s get fully kitted out with 2*4 Harpoons and not fresh air and QE looks a big naked with only 3*Phalanx’s, why not 4 if no 30mm’s or 30mm/Martlet rws?

Dern
Dern
2 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Fairly academic in this particular instance, the UK maintains a soverign airfield in Cyprus, so from the Daesh perspective, will it really matter if the UK aircraft are Typhoons flying from Cyprus or F-35’s flying from HMS QE that drop bombs on them? They can’t do anything about it either way.

Joe16
Joe16
1 day ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I believe that at least Kent and Defender are carrying Harpoon on this deployment. To be fair, the Burkes that will be joining the task force later don’t carry Harpoons either- only the earliest batches do. By contrast, their SM-2 AAMs have an anti-ship capability apparently, so they’re not completely without surface warfare teeth. The problem with our Harpoons is that they’re Batch II or earlier (not sure exactly), but they don’t have a data link for mid course updates (or aborts) and other advancements that are needed for operating in complex environments. Without these there’s no way a commander… Read more »

Last edited 1 day ago by Joe16
MikeB1947
MikeB1947
2 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Plus American jets flown by American (USMC) pilots.

Dern
Dern
2 days ago
Reply to  MikeB1947

Irrelevant.

Stephen Ball
Stephen Ball
2 days ago

Can the American’s drink beer on our ship, or are they forbidden?
Since we allow personal beer and US navy ship’s don’t.

GlynH
GlynH
2 days ago
Reply to  Stephen Ball

I believe they can yes, read once a USMC Major talking about the perks of flying from “tommy” carriers. Bit more more living space, Harrier ops came first (over helo. ops), food & drink 🙂

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 days ago

Would anyone happen to know if South Korea will be joining the task force at any point during its deployment?

They seem to be building a very useful Navy.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/dsme-launches-fifth-daegu-class-frigate-for-south-korean-navy

Dalecn
Dalecn
2 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

There’s been a bit of news going around that Japan, South Korea, Australia, France, India and others will be joining in the Carrier in some form or another for legs of the journey. I would expect lots of ship’s from lots of different nations to join at some time just because its real good press on a mission like this.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 days ago
Reply to  Dalecn

Ok, many thanks Dalecn, it will interesting to see what unfolds along the way! Lots happening in that part of the world of late.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/india-approved-for-further-p-8-mmas

Last edited 2 days ago by Nigel Collins
Julian1
Julian1
2 days ago

This maybe a good move: allows the MOD to declare carrier strike successful and gets you closer to FOC. Also, may prove F35b allowing to get further orders in. Likely a PR stunt than offering any real additional military benefit.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 days ago
Reply to  Julian1

You never really can say that something is fully battle tested until you have tested it for real. So the more realistic testing the better. Hence the importance of doing real combat missions from the deck of QEC – even if they can be perfectly well done from tarmac. As you say it might well be about ring fencing future F35B buys: or might not. It might be about generating F35B orders from the Far East. If you are going to do a demonstrator trip you might as well do it properly. The only thing I’m sure of is that… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 day ago
Reply to  Julian1

Agree. They’re sailing close by. We are in operations against IS. So why not.
More experience, more training.

Pete
Pete
1 day ago

Wonder if the AEW Merlin’s would be involved as well. Assume they could be flying high over East Med and testing their kit out in a cluttered environment.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 day ago
Reply to  Pete

Most definitely. It is the best training environment and they will be hovering up loads of valuable data. Not sure how the Russians will play with the carrier sailing off the coast.