British and American F-35Bs have been ‘hot rearmed and refuelled’ onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Pacific.
Partnering for a #FreeAndOpenIndoPacific 🇺🇸 🇬🇧
📸: 1st Lt Zachary Bodner pic.twitter.com/hQVgJvSBqU
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) August 13, 2021
The U.S. say that U.S. Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 have been arming active F-35Bs aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Indo-Pacific on August 05, 2021.
“A historical first for HMS Queen Elizabeth, rearming and refueling active aircraft allows Marines to increase sortie generation, providing commanders increased options. This training underscores the unique advantages and opportunities which Carrier Strike Group 21 provides the US Marine Corps, US Navy, and Royal Navy and our commitment to shared security.”
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.
The Royal Navy say that the UK’s Carrier Strike Group will visit more than one fifth of the world’s nations. Led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, the task group will visit 40 nations including India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore in a deployment covering 26,000 nautical miles.
“While in the Pacific, ships from the Carrier Strike Group will mark the 50th anniversary of the Five Powers Defence Agreement between Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the UK by taking part in Exercise Bersama Lima. Joining HMS Queen Elizabeth on her maiden deployment are destroyers HMS Diamond and Defender; frigates HMS Richmond and Kent; an Astute-class submarine in support below the waves; and Royal Fleet Auxiliary support ships RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tidespring.
More than 30 aircraft will also embark across the task group including F-35 jets from 617 Squadron, the Dambusters, and the US Marine Corps’ VMFA-211; Wildcat helicopters from 815 Naval Air Squadron and Merlin helicopters from 820 and 845 Naval Air Squadrons. Royal Marines from 42 Commando will also deploy with the carrier. Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen and American Arleigh Burke destroyer USS The Sullivans are also part of the strike group.”
Currently however, HMS Diamond isn’t with the group after suffering a defect. You can read more about that here. HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group will also undertake anti-submarine exercises whilst in the Pacific region.