F-35B fighters based on HMS Queen Elizabeth have joined in an international air exercise for the first time since the carrier sailed from the UK on its planned seven-month long deployment.

According to the Ministry of Defence, Exercise Atlantic Trident is an exerciselasting two weeks involving aircraft from the RAF, the United States Air Arms and the French Air Force.

It is aimed at increasing understanding of each other’s working methods and the ability to fly and operate together.

“F-35B Lightning Fighters of 617 (Dambusters) Squadron flew with and against crews from France and the U.S. in simulated combat off the South West French coast.  Supporting the exercise was 101 Squadron flying Voyager tankers refuelling  F-35Bs to assist them staying airborne for extended periods.”

Royal Naval Captain, James Blackmore who is Air Wing Commander on the Carrier Strike Group described the involvement of 617 Squadron as a major milestone:

“It has been our first opportunity to integrate with our closest allies in the US and the French Air Force as well as the RAF Typhoon’s flying from the UK. It has also been a significant steppingstone as our operational capability develops throughout the Strike Group 21’s mission. Critically for this, is developing our ability to operate with our allies and partners and making sure our tactics and procedures are such that we can all work seamlessly together at a time of our choosing.”

During Exercise Atlantic Trident, 101 Squadron RAF provided air to air refuelling for both the UK F-35 Lightnings and US Marine Corps F-35s from the carrier along with French Air Force Rafale Jets and Royal Air Force Typhoons.

 

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Andy G
Andy G
28 days ago

Will 101 Squadron be accompanying the carrier to the Far East?

Julian1
Julian1
28 days ago
Reply to  Andy G

Hopefully RoSAF and RAAF a330s will step up, together with USAF in region

TrevorH
TrevorH
28 days ago

There are only 8 of then, we rely in the USMC. Only 3 Phalaxes . Rely in Dutch escort. No cats and traps, its not big enough, its too big. No AA missiles, no ballistic missiles, not enough sub protection.

Oh and the swarms of swarms!

Can we move on now…?

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
28 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Good idea. turn the light out when you leave. I’m glad our people with the Strike Group don’t have to rely on you for inspiration.

TrevorH
TrevorH
28 days ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

See my reply to Josh…

Josh P
Josh P
28 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

OK perhaps you think you can do better. Assuming you’re not a Russian troll. Maybe draw up a wishlist of all the things you’d like the UK to be able to do, figure out what capabilities you need to do them, plan it out over a 50-year period (making assumptions about what the world will be like then), and organise Industry, Ministry and Forces to carry out those multiple complex programmes. Then tell me how you’re going to pay for it. Oh, and you’ve got to sell that payment plan to the electorate every 2-5 years while also weathering Brexit,… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
28 days ago
Reply to  Josh P

Deary me, serves me right for chanelling my inner sarcasm. It’s not you or similar that I take a pop at.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
28 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Don’t worry Trevor, I got the meaning of your post easily enough.
Agree, it’s the same old snipes on what overall has been a great success so far. With more to come of course.

borg
borg
28 days ago

In what way is it a success though ? Don’t confuse genuine worry for some form of sarcastic reality on a defence forum. It’s not the be all and end all of military strategy, far from it really. Most posters on these places tend to worry about the lack of capability and for good reason. And, I got his meaning too.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
28 days ago
Reply to  borg

Or concentrate on the capability it provides, instead of what it doesn’t. Compared to a Invincible class and 8 subsonic Harrier’s. It’s light years away. Plus it’s only at IOC, not full operating capability, and it’s the first deployment after 10 years out of the carrier game, with a very long road map of development for the vessels and the F35. Russia & China have nothing that comes close. 18 5th gen F35’s, deployed to the far side of the world for 7 months during a global pandemic is a huge achievement. And no other single country can say the… Read more »

Rob
Rob
28 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Yes and as you say that is IOC. Fairly rapidly that will be 24 regularly with a surge of up to 40. As long as this is escorted properly that is an impressive and capable force that can’t be matched other than by the USN.

borg
borg
28 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

All very true though.

david
david
28 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Actually i’m annoyed about the lack of Putin bots in the last few years. I miss the nonsense they spouted. Self defeating b*ll!

Klonkie
Klonkie
28 days ago

A slightly off topic point. Can the USMC operate F35B STOVL variants from a conventional cat/trap US Navy carrier? This would be useful force multiplier

Dern
Dern
28 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Not as far as I know, USMC only operates it’s Super Hornets and F-35C’s off of the CVNs, unless someone coated the decks with heat resistant paint while I wasn’t paying attention.
Anyway, take off, sure, F-35B can do that off a CVN, it doesn’t even need to use the Cats. Landing? Not so much.

Klonkie
Klonkie
28 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Cheers Dern , thanks

TrevorH
TrevorH
27 days ago
Reply to  Dern

It must be pretty good paint…!!

Dern
Dern
27 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

I don’t think it’s actually paint, from the little I understand, but… yeah I guess.

Klonkie
Klonkie
27 days ago
Reply to  Dern

They must have applied this to LHA decks, being F35B capable . One. I imagine it could be applied to a CVN. Would be a real challenge to the flight ops with cat ‘n trap birds along side STOVL though.

Ian
Ian
26 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Trevor …. it’s either B&Q or Wickes…
apply with a brush or roller…..

TrevorH
TrevorH
26 days ago
Reply to  Ian

Good luck with the RN then if my painting is anything to go by.

DaveyB
DaveyB
26 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Yes, technically, but it hasn’t been done yet. Some of the US carriers have got the heat resistant coating, whilst others are awaiting theirs. This has more to do with operating the Osprey than the F35B. As the US Navy will be using Osprey in the OOD role replacing the Greyhounds.

Dern
Dern
26 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Ah cheers for that! 🙂

Citizen
Citizen
26 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Why does the Osprey need heat-resistance coating? It doesn’t even have jet engines.

DaveyB
DaveyB
25 days ago
Reply to  Citizen

The Bell V22 Osprey uses a pair of RR turboshaft jet engines, that are mounted on swivels at the tips of the main wing. The whole engine, gearbox, swash plate, hub and prop-rotors, rotate as one assembly through 100 degrees or so. However when this assembly rotates to the vertical position, the turboshaft’s exhaust is about 3ft from the ground. This has two issues. The first is that the high velocity gas will throw up a lot of debris into the air that can then get re-ingested into the engine. The second is that the high velocity gas is at… Read more »

Citizen
Citizen
24 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Thanks for the reply.

Nic
Nic
28 days ago

This should iron out any tactical issues for the F 35 crews

Richard B
Richard B
25 days ago

CSG21 will exercise in the Eastern Med in early June with the French Charles de Gaulle CSG – which is returning from the deployment ‘Clemenceau 21’. I’m sure that the French sailors are delighted to have had this added to programme after 4 months away, and with Toulon just over the horizon! But its an interesting point as to whether the QE CSG is stronger than the CdeG CSG (officially the French Maritime Force): The French CSG is composed of: Aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and its airwing air defense destroyer Chevalier Paul frigate (FREMM) Auvergne frigate (FREMM) Provence the command and refueling vessel (BCR) Var… Read more »