HMS Queen Elizabeth is about to depart for exercises while HMS Prince of Wales heads out for operational dea training.

After a couple of false starts (due to COVID-19 and then the wind), HMS Queen Elizabeth is planning on sailing today to take part in GROUPEX and subsequently Exercise Joint Warrior 20-2.

HMS Prince of Wales will also be at sea for FOST.

This is the first time two British aircraft carriers have been at sea for quite a while.

HMS Queen Elizabeth will hold “the most aircraft on a Royal Navy carrier since HMS Hermes” after she is joined byย United States Marine Corps F-35B and British F-35Bs as well as a “full rotary wing group”.

This is in preparation for next year when HMS Queen Elizabeth will deploy operationally around the world with two frigates, two destroyers, a nuclear submarine and support vessels.

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Ian M

If “wind” caused the delay, maybe the RN should lay off the greens and beans?

John Clark

Excellent news, it must be the first time we have had two Aircraft Carriers at sea since illustrious and Ark Royal were in service.

Wonderful to see all the hard work coming together..

Douglas Newell

apart from the aircraft situation, of course

Daniele Mandelli

That night time photo…stunning.

Sjb1968

Agree absolutely fantastic.

maurice10

A long time coming but these vessels will prove their worth many times over before they retire. God bless who sail in them.

Steve R

Because all ships need downtime for repairs, maintenance, and crews need to rest as well.

Operating both ships at the same time, especially if done so regularly, means that at some point both ships will be out of action for maintenance.

Operating one at a time guarantees that one is available at all times.

They can be operated together at the same time but it would have to be serious, SHTF, brown-trousers scenario for that to happen.

Ron5

Open your eyes, they’re operating together at the same time right now dude.

Nigel Collins

Looks impressive!

Patrick

It’s odd that POW has all her Phalanx installed yet QE is still missing one.

Douglas Newell

I really wish we would stop bragging about the carriers when we have so few aircraft. We can’t fill one of them, let alone two.

Paul T

Douglas – Putting my Glass Half Full Head on today,imagine a scenario ( god forbid) that a full scale War has started and you are a Sailor going to Sea on one of our two Carriers to that War.Now you have a choice between Sailing on one of those Ships with lets say 40 Harrier Aircraft on board,be it FA2/GR7/GR9 , whatever,or Sailing on the other Ship with 15 F35b Aircraft on board – which would you choose ?.

Ron5

Or would you prefer 100 Seafires or 1,000 Sopwith Camels? Silly question dude.

Paul T

The point i was trying to make was Capability versus Quantity,seems like like the Sopwith Camel it flew right over your head !.

Paul T

DUDE !!!

peter french

Does DUDE actually mean anything or is your grasp of the English language so limited

David Barry

Can I go with Swordfish – they always got through ๐Ÿ˜‰

Mr Bell

David- good point for a slow out of date and very vulnerable aircraft the swordfish performed admirably- Bismark stopped and made to go around in circles until HMS Rodney and KGV arrived to finish her off- thanks to 26 swordfish flying from Ark Royal. Italian Navy crippled in its port of Taranto. 3 modern and capable Italian Battleships (Conte De Cavour, Littori and Caio Duilio) significantly damaged to the point that the British Mediterranean fleet never lost its surface fleet superiority. On both occasions less than 30 Swordfish aircraft achieved these results. Now imagine what a QE class could achieve… Read more ยป

Dern

I mean it wasnt even that, our old carriers usually had like 8 harriers on board.

Mr Bell

Invincible class had 8 onboard designed in 1982- by the time of their retirement they usually deployed with 11 Harriers through the use of deck parking with a maximum surge of 15 aircraft possible.

Trevor W Hogg

Paul why not just put 20 Harriers on each carrier and 7-8 F35B on each, ballancing out the airwing. Ooh sorry didnt get your point. My Bad

barry white

That told him Dan

4thwatch

I’ll second that. Only wish Max Hastings and Co would stop hankering after more 4 engine heavy bombers struggling over the Ruhr.

julian1

Douglas made a fair point. We are not “where we should be” with F35 delivery. For those who pay attention, we are actually behind schedule, we should have had further aircraft delivered so far for 2020. The ยฃ has just finished a period of relative strength against the $ – that would have been the ideal time to put down payments for further aircraft

Paul C

We should be thankful that the RN has such a formidable asset. It seems to me that the cynics always view the route taken as the worst option, i.e.:

1. The RN does not need carriers at all.
2. We should just have built Invincible-type ships again.
3. The RN needs 100,000 ton CVNs like the USN.

The QE + F35B package is a compromise for sure but a pretty darn good one. None of the above alternatives are realistic and the RN got the best package it could within the budgetary constraints it has to live with.

Daniele Mandelli

There you go. Well put, better than me.

Douglas Newell

Not being cynical — just making a point. We have 2 large, state of the art carriers and a penny pinching government that will not invest in the requisite aircraft to make full and proper use of the carrier.

It is a crazy situation, and no matter how we try to spin it – it just makes the country look ridiculous to our friends … and to our enemies.

Paul C

The cynic comment was generalised and not specifically aimed at you. I agree that the slow purchase rate of F35Bs is frustrating. But regenerating fixed-wing naval aviation with new carriers and aircraft from a token capability in the 2000s and nothing at all in the 2010s was never going to be rapid, easy or cheap.

The same old problem remains. An overstretched defence budget with too many plates spinning for the resouces available. Cannot see this changing any time soon unfortunately, whoever is in government.

Douglas Newell

The fact we can’t even provide a airwing for our new, large carriers is a national embarrassment. Yes the F35 is just coming into service, but we are buying a paltry number of them very slowly – despite the 148 plan target.

Having the two carriers and virtually no aircraft for them makes the country look bad.

It would be nice to have a government that took our country’s defences seriously.

Daniele Mandelli

“It would be nice to have a government that took our countryโ€™s defences seriously”

I think we can all agree on that Doug.

If anything it makes the government look bad IMO, not the country, but that ignores reality that the aircraft are not yet built for it.

“The fact we canโ€™t even provide a airwing for our new, large carriers is a national embarrassment”

But we are, as I tried to suggest. It is not formed yet. 809 NAS does not yet exist, but will once 48 B’s are available.

Douglas Newell

It makes the Government look bad here to us – but abroad we as a country look foolish and over blown.

I agree it is mainly our Governments fault, but our Military leaders need to take some blame too.

Other countries – for example Australia – seem to get so much more from their Defence Budgets than we do.

Douglas Newell

Me I’d rather we operated a carrier with a suitable number of appropriate aircraft on it, rather then Supercarrier with half dozen F35s and some Merlins and Chinooks.

And with a dozen F35s we’ll sail it through the South China sea and pretend the Chinese are shaking in their boots.

Glass Half Full

You seem to be trying rather hard to make negative points? Standard deployment once operational is likely to be 12 UK F35B, with an option for 24 UK F35B if the deployment warrants it, and with either number potentially augmented by USMC F35B. What is the relevance of the “half dozen F35s” comment?

If we sail through the SCS it won’t be because we think the Chinese of anyone else will be “shaking in their boots”. It will simply be exercising the right of any shipping to sail in international waters and for navies to conduct exercises in those waters.

Meirion X

Only carriers that are over a 1000ft long, are classed as a supercarrier.

Meirion X

Also Block 4 features are already being introduced at 6 month interviews, Not in all one go in 2024/5.

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken

Absolutely bloody marvellous a truly epic achievement . The Carrier invented by us and now here we are with the 2 most technologically advanced types on the high seas. ( Ford class still require thousands to crew even without

Ini Kamoze at the helm ๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿผ HMS QE Unstoppable

๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ

Daniele Mandelli

๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken

Airwing

Ron

Not sure, but I think the last time the RN had two fleet carriers at sea was in the early 70s with Eagle and Ark Royal. Its good to be back in the carrier strike game. I just wish we had the escorts to form three groups one each for the carriers and the third for the Amphibs as well as three or four surface action groups DDGs/FFGs. For that we need 25-30 escorts or an extra 2.5 billion for extra T31s and possibly some corvettes or Fast Missile Boats.

Ron5

There’s enough escorts for one carrier group with two carriers. With enough aircraft, one could take care of air defense, the other strike. In other words, numbers of aircraft are key, not ships.

Cdickinson

Surely it was invincible and hermes in 82?

Dern

Not fleet carriers. Both where light carriers by the days classifications. (Well one light carrier and one through deck asw cruiser)

James

Maybes POW is heading out with a much lower crew number to do trials?

RoboJ1M

Wouldn’t they steam rather than set sail?

Geoffrey Roach

Great to see…been a long time coming. Now let’s build up their squadrons and throw in a couple of Sea Ceptor boxes and a handful of Martlett’s and I’ll be a happy man.

David Barry

I hope people don’t think me pedantic but an Astute and a Vanguard are sea-power, we never lost it we have just broadened our capabilities; one can only hope we keep the amphib capability as well.

Investing in drum beat shipbuilding would create well paying jobs in many parts of the country and help the country get back on its feet.

Good luck Royal Navy and safe sailing.

Daniele Mandelli

I quite agree. The SSN is the battleship of the RN and it and a modern carrier vital requirements for a blue water power projecting navy.

They need backing up by a well resourced RFA, however, which gets less headlines but is the glue for the carriers and amphibious operations.

Cdickinson

Agreed the RFA is an asset not heavily suing about.

Peel back the veneer of the French Navy and you soon realise they don’t actually have the logistical assets, the RN does.

Glass Half Full

Actually the French Navy doesn’t have anything like the AAW assets either. Currently only two Horizon class, with two AAW Fremm, which are significantly less capable assets, to be added in the next couple of years to replace the single very old Cassard class ship. Also only six Fremm ASW frigates.

Cdickinson

Yeah I think when CDG has actually deployed more often than not it’s been with a T45 in tow?

And CDG itself while it is in CATOBAR configuration because its cats are smaller it can’t launch larger 5th gen aircraft like F35?

Glass Half Full

Sorry, I don’t know frequency of CdG with T45 deployments or CdG cat capabilities. My observation was an oblique reference to what the UK is currently doing with 2x T45 and 2x T23 and how that would max out French AAW capability and significantly constrain ASW capability. It doesn’t really matter of course because that’s why we have NATO to fill in these holes, with competent AAW destroyers from the Dutch, Danes and Germans The French seem to be mitigating lack of AAW by deploying Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) in their fleet along with the previously mentioned 2x AAW Fremm… Read more ยป

Paul T

GHF – The French have been busy recently supporting Greece in their fractiuos relationship with Turkey.A deal has been agreed to sell Greece the Rafale,but interestingly the Two FREDA Frigates might go straight into service with the Greek Navy as a long term loan,neither of which are in sevice yet but not far from completion.The Italian Navy isn’t too badly off in the AAW stakes,they have the Two Orrizonte Destroyers plus a full compliment of Ten FREMM,the French could end up with only Six if the deal is in fact correct.It looks likely that Italy will build Two New DDX… Read more ยป

Glass Half Full

Hi Paul – If the French loan the FREDA (AAW) FREMM variants to Greece that would be a surprise given France’s dearth of AAW assets. Although I suppose if that secures Greek orders for FTI frigates then France might be willing to do so until the first two FTI frigates are ready, at which point they sell the latter to Greece. My reason for the observation on the Italian AAW capability is that while the Italian FREMMs have an enhanced version of the C-band radar on the Orrizonte class (that seems to be AESA versus the Orrizonte’s PESA), they have… Read more ยป

Mr Bell

Can they just by coincidence please please, please be photographed sailing alongside each other with escorts and auxillaries just once, now would be a good time. Would love to see that photo.

David

Sorry to cast cold water over this, but sea power is not about having two carriers, without their full complement of aircraft, and a desperate shortage of escorts, MCMV, and support ships. This is not “sea power reborn”, it’s “all fur coat and no knickers”!

Daniele Mandelli

What is worse is no fur coat and no knickers! Which accounts for most nations without SSN or Carriers.

Agree more ships of all types are needed.

But if a choice was a larger fleet of escorts and MCMV with no SSN and Carriers, or SSN and Carriers with a smaller escort fleet, I choose the later.

Glass Half Full

Like anything new born it has to grow into maturity, not just in size but in experience. For carrier ops that would be having the ability to draw from 2x carriers, 6x T45, 8x T23/T26, 4x Tide, 2-3x SSS, 7x Astute before the end of the decade plus optional additional capability from NATO as already being demonstrated in this exercise.

Ryan Brewis

Can’t really argue with the escorts, but we have five fleet tankers with some degree of solid store resupply, a multi-role replenishment ship, three in extended readiness and three replacement solid support ships scheduled. I’m pretty sure that the RFA is the largest and most capable auxiliary fleet in Western Europe if not Europe as a whole besides Russia (though who knows with them), NATO, and the Anglosphere apart from the USN obviously. Hadn’t heard about a shortage of MCMV though, last I knew we actually had more than the Yanks.

peter french

Regretably POW will not have any aircraft to go to sea with and that will be the case for how long so its effect will be nil in terms of two effective Carriers at sea at the same time