A F-35B Lightning from HMS Queen Elizabeth has conducted the UK Lightning Force’s first ‘austere forward refuelling’ in an overseas environment, whilst operating from the aircraft carrier.
The RAF aircraft flew to the Italian island of Pantelleria where it conducted a fast ground refuel from an Italian KC-130J.
The Royal Air Force say:
“This is a significant step in the F-35B strike capability and demonstrates agile combat employment in action.”
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. 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 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. This is the largest deployment of Fifth Generation Fighter Jets at sea in history.