American Harrier jets, launched from assault ship USS Iwo Jima, acted as adversary strike aircraft against British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and her strike group.
The engagement is part of Exercise Strike Warrior, Queen Elizabeth’s certification exercise prior to her global deployment.
The U.S. say that U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) participated in the training with HMS Queen Elizabeth off the coast of Scotland on May 10th, 2021.
“The division of Harriers acted as adversary strike aircraft in order to facilitate sustainment training for the Queen Elizabeth’s detection and defense capabilities. The engagement is part of Exercise Strike Warrior, Queen Elizabeth’s certification exercise.
The AV-8Bs, which launched from the USS Iwo Jima, are attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 162 Reinforced, the aviation combat element of 24th MEU. Harriers provide the MEU with strike capabilities through deep- and close- air support.”
According to a U.S. Navy press release:
“The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (IWOARG) and 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit have roughly 4,300 Sailors and Marines. The ARG-MEU is deployed to Sixth Fleet in support of regional NATO Allies and partners as well as U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
U.S. Forces are also integrated as part of the Queen Elizabeth Strike Group. Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) and U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs will deploy with the Strike Group on her inaugural deployment.”
The USS Iwo Jima and amphibious assault ship HMS Albion also conducted a replenishment-at-sea recently as well as landing troops on a Scottish beach as part of another exercise, you can read more about this here.
What is the Carrier Strike Group doing?
HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group are currently exercising alongside allied nations in and around the Scottish islands as part of the massive Strike Warrior exercise.
The Royal Navy say that Exercise Strike Warrior involves more than 20 warships, three submarines and 150 aircraft from 11 nations and is a final test for the Carrier Strike Group ahead of its first operational deployment to the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Asia Pacific.
“The exercise, which will run for two weeks, will see the task group pitted against warships from NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 1 in waters off north-west Scotland to prove it is capable of undertaking high intensity operations against the most demanding adversaries. The culmination of Strike Warrior will see the Carrier Strike Group certified ready for deployment, at which point operational command will pass from the Royal Navy’s Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd, to the Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key.”