HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group have passed through the Suez Canal.
The Royal Navy say here that the passage through the world famous waterway marked the end of a six-week phase of exercises and operations in the Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Seas.
“The nine ships of the Carrier Strike Group between them visited eleven different European countries, drawing together presidents, prime ministers, diplomats and military leaders, as well as holding a series of events designed to support British trade and exports.
But the central purpose of the opening phase of this seven-and-a-half month deployment was to promote solidarity and cooperation with the Untied Kingdom’s NATO partners. Highlights included exercises with the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, with the Italian air force and navy, and with the combined might of Western maritime forces for Steadfast Defender, NATO’s flagship exercise for 2021.”
Here's a timelapse video showing HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group transiting the Suez Canal in 30 seconds, enjoy! pic.twitter.com/OFMI7lCDsu
— UK Defence Journal (@UKDefJournal) July 7, 2021
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 air assets from 617 Sqn, 820 NAS, 815 NAS and 845 NAS.
Not pictured above is an Astute class submarine. The Carrier Strike Group was joined in the opening phase of the deployment by HMS Artful (which returned to Gibraltar after completing the opening phase), now another Astute class submarine (HMS Astute or HMS Ambush) has joined the group as pointed out by NavyLookout on Twitter.
HMS Artful alongside in Gibraltar so this is HMS Astute or Ambush. pic.twitter.com/iOLXCnL4So
— Navy Lookout (@NavyLookout) July 6, 2021
CSG21 will see the carrier along with her 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.
Recently, the Strike Group joined coalition operations in the Eastern Mediterranean; an historic milestone as British and American F-35B strike fighters flew the first operational missions from a Queen Elizabeth-class carrier, as they stood ready to strike at Daesh.
Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group, said:
“The Carrier Strike Group’s period working with our NATO partners in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Seas offers unmistakable proof that the United Kingdom’s most important overseas defence commitment remains the security of the Euro-Atlantic region. While HMS Queen Elizabeth launched counter-Daesh missions over Iraq and Syria from the Eastern Mediterranean, HMS Defender and HNLMS Evertsen were conducting concurrent operations 1600 miles away in the Black Sea – true strategic reach.
Meanwhile, our programme of defence engagement involved a huge amount of work in support of British Embassies and High Commissions, but from Alicante to Alexandria and Bar to Batumi, the message was the same: Britain’s friends and allies are delighted to see the Royal Navy back in town. Now we head east, towards the rising economies of the Indo-Pacific. From the Strait of Gibraltar to the Strait of Malacca, CSG21 offers unprecedented influence and engagement in support of Global Britain.”