Exercise ‘Tri-Lightning 2’ featured F-35I aircraft from the Israeli Air Force in addition to carrier launched British and American F-35Bs from HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Images also show a British Voyager tanker leading the formation of aircraft above.
For those wondering, an F-35I is an F-35A with unique Israeli modifications. Israel integrated its own electronic warfare systems, including sensors and countermeasures.
The UK, US and Israeli aircraft previously participated in exercise in Italy about three weeks ago.
“The forces practiced together various airborne activities such as air-to-air and ground-to-ground battles, dealing with advanced surface-to-air missile systems, attacking targets in depth, and descriptions of combat in enemy territory.
The exercise is designed to strengthen strategic-regional cooperation and collaboration with the international F-35 aircraft community, while realizing learning and mutual fertilisation.”
Israeli Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Nurkin was quoted as saying:
“Cooperation with foreign militaries enables the Israeli Air Force to strengthen its capabilities and operational capability to deal with a wide range of threats. The Middle East arena is dynamic and changing and requires us to practice and practice a wide range of scenarios.”
The IAF also say that as part of the exercise, Israeli fighter pilots visited HMS Queen Elizabeth to learn how to operate an F-35 squadron on an aircraft carrier.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently leading the Carrier Strike Group 21 deployment.
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.
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.