Next year, HMS Queen Elizabeth will deploy with two frigates, two destroyers, a nuclear submarine and support vessels.

Commodore Michael Utley, Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group, is reported by Save The Royal Navy here as saying that HMS Queen Elizabeth will be escorted by two Type 45 destroyers, two Type 23 frigates, a nuclear submarine, a Tide-class tanker and RFA Fort Victoria.

The ship will also carry 24 F-35B jets, including US Marine Corps aircraft, in addition to a number of helicopters.

HMS Queen Elizabeth (and her 15 F-35B jets) sailing with HMS Defender, HMS Diamond, HMS Northumberland, HMS Kent, RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tideforce in addition to the USS The Sullivans and Dutch vessel HNLMS Evertsen.

Prior to the deployment, it is understood that the Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group will go through a work-up trial off the west Hebrides range sometime in early 2021.

HMS Queen Elizabeth (and her 15 F-35B jets) sailing with HMS Defender, HMS Diamond, HMS Northumberland, HMS Kent, RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tideforce in addition to the USS The Sullivans and Dutch vessel HNLMS Evertsen.

When asked about whether or not the UK has enough escorts to do this without impacting other commitment, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“The size and the scale of the escort depends on the deployments and the task that the carrier is involved in. If it is a NATO tasking in the north Atlantic, for example, you would expect an international contribution to those types of taskings, in the same way as we sometimes escort the French carrier or American carriers to make up that.

It is definitely our intention, though, that the carrier strike group will be able to be a wholly UK sovereign deployable group. Now, it is probably not necessary to do that every single time we do it, depending on the tasking, but we want to do that and test doing it. Once we have done that, depending on the deployment, of course, we will cut our cloth as required.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth at sea.

Air Marshal Knighton added:

“The escorts that go with the carrier will depend on the circumstances. The work-up for carrier strike group 21 will be with British ships, because we need to demonstrate and prove that we can do that, but we are already engaged with international partners to understand how we will integrate an Arleigh Burke destroyer from the US or a Dutch destroyer into that package.”

An MV-22 Osprey from HX-21 Air Test and Evaluation Squadron lands onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Captain Jerry Kyd, former commander of HMS Queen Elizabeth, commented on the initial deployment and the gradual increase in air wing numbers:

“We are constrained by the F-35 buy rate even though that was accelerated in SDSR in 2015, so initial operating capability numbers in 2020 are going to be very modest indeed. We will flesh it out with helicopters, and a lot depends on how many USMC F-35s come on our first deployment in 2021. But by 2023, we are committed to 24 UK jets onboard, and after that it’s too far away to say.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth at sea.

It is understood that the 2021 deployment will see the Carrier Strike Group sail in the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf and end up in the Pacific.

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Gunbuster

That will be a good trip …if they allow any runs ashore which COVID is currently stopping.

Daveyb

So Hawaii, Canada (Vancover) and Western USA (San Diego) have got to be on the list?

Levi Goldsteinberg

Willing to bet they’ll head out there via Suez, and stop in Royal Navy facilities in Bahrain, Duqm, Diego Garcia, Singapore then onto the SCS.

Maybe they’ll head back to Blighty eastwards, in which case Hawai’i, Vancouver, San Diego and then back through the Panama, maybe touring the Anglo Caribbean & Bermuda as a flag waving exercise en route. I’d love to see them slide into Sydney Harbour too but it’s a bit out the way

Daveyb

I would also say there’s a sure bet of a stop over in Oz. There may be issues stopping in Darwin, as a Chinese company runs a lot of the services there.

BB85

Hong Kong maybe 😂

julian1

will this cruise literally circuimnavigate the globe? That displaces a huge amount of capability for a period if so

Darren hall

Have a safe voyage lads n lasses…
Enjoys the views

David Barry

Pointed out that Jerry Kidd is no longer a Captain and comment deleted!

stephen hunt

its seems we are going to need USA f35 s to make the numbers up on the QE at this moment in time it goes to show we are short of frigates and destroyers its about time that we know we will not be a global power as boris wants if we don,t invest in our armed forces.its hard wear we need Still a nice run a shore for topping up the old suntan ,

Peter S.

What is the point of sending the greater part of our active fleet to the Pacific? There are no British interests there that demand such a presence. I can see the reason for the Med and the Gulf where we have bases and (at least commercially) important allies/ customers. Even at the height of empire, the Pacific was never a British lake so why deploy there now? I worry that such an extended round the world cruise will be seen by opponents of the carriers as evidence that Britain really doesn’t need them.

Trevor W Hogg

The Point Peter is, it shows the RN can deploy a modest fleet around the world and be able to support is from afar. Net be totally dependent on Ports and shore based facilities. Its a significant step and a bold statement.

Peter S.

But if all we need is a demonstration of long range capability why not visit the British Atlantic islands? It might make an impression there but it surely won’t impress China.

dan

Welcome back to the big league RN!

Basra

With those 4 escorts plus 24 F35 on board she will be about the most powerful ship deployed in the world. Although is it a good idea for the UK to send so many escorts so far away vs having allies like Singapore and Australia adding to them. Even at its height in the 1920’s the RN would only send two battle cruisers on such a tour. The RN should not be venturing east of Singapore in large numbers without allied contributions.