The U.S. Navy say that this mission was the first time in modern history the United States has cross-decked aircraft for a mission utilising a foreign aircraft carrier, in this case HMS Queen Elizabeth.
According to the U.S. Navy here, U.S. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 conducted a
first-of-its-kind operation which saw F-35B aircraft launched from HMS Queen Elizabeth land on the amphibious assault ship USS America to load ordnance, refuel, and strike follow-on objectives on August 20th, 2021.
“The operation highlighted the interoperability of the F-35B and the strategic importance of the joint integration between the United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group (UK CSG) and the U.S. Navy Amphibious Ready Group / Marine Expeditionary Unit. This mission was the first time in modern history the United States has cross-decked aircraft for a mission utilizing a foreign aircraft carrier, demonstrating naval partnerships in action.”
“The evolution underscored our continued effort to shift away from static, built-up airfields towards distributed maritime operations (DMO),” said Col. Simon Doran, U.S. Senior National Representative to the UK CSG.
“Doing so as part of the United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group 21 strengthens our alliances and partnerships through the development of interoperable capabilities, combined operations, theater security cooperation, and capacity-building efforts.”
The United Kingdom and the United States of America have been proving interoperability between their ships and strike fighter squadrons while at sea.
F-35B jets from 617 Squadron and from United States Marine Corps squadron VMFA 211 are embarked on the Royal Navy flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth and they have been conducting sorties with the aircraft of amphibious assault ship USS America.
The Royal Navy said in a news release:
“F-35B jets from the United States Marine Corps Squadron VMFA 211 are embarked on the Royal Navy flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth. As part of joint exercising between the UK Carrier Strike Group and the US Expeditionary Strike Group 7, two of the jets flew to the US Navy amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) to cross-deck, the first time ever that F-35B jets from a different squadron have landed on the different deck.
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 UK Frigates, Destroyers, a submarine, two RFA supply ships and air assets from 617 Sqn, 820 NAS, 815 NAS and 845 NAS. This will be the largest deployment of Fifth Generation Fighter Jets in history.”