HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group joined ships from NATO Standing Maritime Groups One and Two for an impressive display of maritime power in the Eastern Atlantic on the 28th of May 2021.

The rendezvous was part of Steadfast Defender 21, a large scale defensive exercise designed to test NATO’s ability to rapidly deploy forces from North America to the coast of Portugal and the Black Sea region.

Click to enlarge.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the deployed flag ship for Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21).

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.


The 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 two RFA supply ships and air assets from 617 Sqn, 820 NAS, 815 NAS and 845 NAS.

This is the largest deployment of Fifth Generation Fighter Jets at sea in history.

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Craig Neilson
Craig Neilson
15 days ago

I live on the southern Algarve coast. Does anyone when the group will be transitting to Gibraltar? I’d love to see them on the horizon.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
15 days ago
Reply to  Craig Neilson

Too late I’m afraid, she’s already in the Med

Mac
Mac
15 days ago

Strange how it wasn’t the RN’s own Astute boat on show in that formation.

Everyone knows its there, its been publicly confirmed, so I can’t really understand the reluctance to give the silent service a little bit of recognition before the strike group tour begins proper..

Karl
Karl
15 days ago
Reply to  Mac

Maybe its doing its job.

DRS
DRS
15 days ago
Reply to  Karl

I suspect you will have one astute here and a different one (or same passing all the way around Africa) will meet it east of suez. Or do astutes ever go through the suez? I know other subs have but do our nuclear powered ones go thru?

Andy P
Andy P
15 days ago
Reply to  DRS

RN SSN’s have transited through the Suez Canal in the past DRS, you may remember Superb making the news in the Red Sea shortly after passing through the canal. 🙄 

DRS
DRS
15 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Ah yes just had a look and jolted the memory, Superb was no longer superb after hitting a pinnacle in the Red Sea and was brought to early retirement. Thanks for the clarification and reminder – I had searched but did not see an astute going thru hence the question.

Bob2
Bob2
15 days ago
Reply to  Mac

Steadfast Defender 2021 Is happening off the coast of Portugal, so it makes sense that one of their Tridente-class is on show. Potential the astute has not been involved in the exercise and is off having fun elsewhere.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
15 days ago
Reply to  Mac

I’d imagine first time we see the Astute it’ll be alongside the mole in Gibraltar

E: Turns out I’m wrong, she’s already passed Gibraltar by

Last edited 15 days ago by Levi Goldsteinberg
Marked
Marked
15 days ago
Reply to  Mac

It’s probably busy shadowing a Russian sub that’s following the group, and avoiding giving itself away by posing for a photo.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
15 days ago
Reply to  Mac

A recent article in Warships IFR went as far as it could, i.e. without official confirmation, to advise that a US attack boat is reported to be ‘present’.

Baz Johnson
Baz Johnson
15 days ago

Can I go back 30 years please and be back among the people and ships I know ✊️

Nic
Nic
15 days ago

I wonder if the new 200 million pound flagship was built now , would it be deployed with the carrier group to promote British interests .

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
15 days ago
Reply to  Nic

Readily understood the rationale for ‘UK One’ flight, which in any case appears an efficient usage for the A330.
But cannot yet square this vessel despite referencing sites like Thin Pinstriped, etc. It’s not a RY either though utilising an RN crew, we’re advised.
If it’s somehow directly funded by the private sector, at least in part, or has a role as a genuine medical facility outside of wartime i.e. somewhat like USNS Mercy, then maybe so. Though that role seems at odds with the released ‘current concept’.

Last edited 15 days ago by Gavin Gordon
Nic
Nic
14 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

If is built I think it should be paid for by the Government, crewed by the Merchant Navy or RFA and when not being for trade shows . It could be used as a training ship for seamanship skills for the Merchant Navy RFA or Royal Navy .