Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth will soon sail for Exercise Crimson Ocean, putting the carrier and her F-35s through their paces.

HMS Queen Elizabeth recently completed a period of sea training.

The vessel was assessed in its ability to defend from air, surface and sub-surface attack.

“Our Damage Control teams will also face their toughest test yet, an assessed F7, which translates to a collision or grounding”, said the vessel in a tweet.

This is all part of a journey to enable the carrier, her aircraft and her escorts to deploy operationally next year. Next year, HMS Queen Elizabeth will deploy with two frigates, two destroyers, a nuclear submarine and support vessels.

Commodore Michael Utley, Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group, is reported by Save The Royal Navy here as saying that HMS Queen Elizabeth will be escorted by two Type 45 destroyers, two Type 23 frigates, a nuclear submarine, a Tide-class tanker and RFA Fort Victoria.

The ship will also carry 24 F-35B jets, including US Marine Corps aircraft, in addition to a number of helicopters.

Prior to the deployment, it is understood that the Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group will go through a work-up trial off the west Hebrides range sometime in early 2021.

When asked about whether or not the UK has enough escorts to do this without impacting other commitment, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“The size and the scale of the escort depends on the deployments and the task that the carrier is involved in. If it is a NATO tasking in the north Atlantic, for example, you would expect an international contribution to those types of taskings, in the same way as we sometimes escort the French carrier or American carriers to make up that.

It is definitely our intention, though, that the carrier strike group will be able to be a wholly UK sovereign deployable group. Now, it is probably not necessary to do that every single time we do it, depending on the tasking, but we want to do that and test doing it. Once we have done that, depending on the deployment, of course, we will cut our cloth as required.”

It is understood that the 2021 deployment will see the Carrier Strike Group sail in the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf and end up in the Pacific.

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Rob Collinson

That final photo is fantastic! 3xF35 aircraft on R08 HMS Queen Elizabeth wish D35 HMS Dragon. Royal Navy at its finest.


Yeh, the Carrier Strike Group is definately bringing the best out of the RN. They are clearly motivated by, and proud of their new ships and you can see this in the steady progress they are making in re-establishing the fixed wing capability and big deck carriers.

2021 is coming around really quick!


“HMS Queen Elizabeth will be escorted by two Type 45 destroyers, two Type 23 frigates, a nuclear submarine, a Tide-class tanker and RFA Fort Victoria.”

What a strike group! A huge fillip for the Royal Navy. Underlining that the UK is back in the carrier business again and able to show a presence around the world, alongside our allies, where needed.

It even impresses me – and I’m ex-RAF!

Gavin Gordon

Well, she’s a joint forces platform, after all. Welcome on board.


I do love how they failed to answer the question on whether ships would be pulled off other tasks, instead answered a different question.


Seems to be the way of it.


My understanding is that day to day patrol tasks will be picked up by the GP T23s (eventually the T31s) and the Batch 2 Rivers; freeing up the 6 T45s and 8 Towed Array T23s to generate the Carrier Strike Group escorts. Given 4 Batch 2s are now in commission, the hulls are beginning to come available for tasking.
The Batch 1 Rivers have been retained as Fishery Protection vessels, which enables this….

Daniele Mandelli

My understanding too.


I understand The Admiralty is looking at possible armament upgrades to the Batch 2 OPVs. Has anyone else heard this? In addition does anyone know when QE will get her final Phalanx and 30mm cannons?


I believe HMS Queen Elizabeth can carry 4 Phalanx maximum, though only 3 will be fitted for the foreseeable future. However, I may be wrong. I think the best way to up-arm the Batch 2’s (if that’s even necessary) would be Martlet missiles on the main gun.


Are the batch 2s up to the job?

Daniele Mandelli

That is a typical politician / Mod answer.

Ships were pulled off tasks for Corporate too though.
If it were a war situation I’d expect nothing less.

I have no problem with it. Maybe allies would step in.

It’s the way it is, and the UK is one of few nations to have the capability, the legs, the know how, and the hardware to deploy a 5th Gen carrier plus escorts, plus SSN plus RFA.

I’m extremely proud myself of the RN.

I know you are too Steve.


Does she have her 30mm cannons fitted? If so, have they fitted those wee Martlets to the cannons? I hope so 🙂


It’s not been confirmed Martlet will be deployed on 30mm cannons after it was tested a few years back. I don’t see why not however.

Greta Bed Wetter

It was tested last year not a couple years ago

Max Jones

I think a telescopic hangar would be the best approach. Fit one of those and you could embark a Wildcat long-term which could easily carry up to 20 Martlet missiles for potential swarm attacks. Against most significant threats like missile craft or submarines it is also equipped to provide a warship-level combat capability that would substantially benefit the OPVs in their current form. It would be somewhat expensive and require freeing up the Wildcats in the first place but with the extra capacity the vessels have for storing marines, you could easily make space for the air crew and a… Read more »

Gavin Gordon

Will she arrive off Asia before or after Taiwan flashes up.

pat Carty

A complete page and other than the headline, you say nothing about the deployment. Nothing, even though the time, date and destination is available!