HMS Queen Elizabeth will soon be joined by seven British destroyers, frigates and auxiliaries, plus other supporting units, to form a fully sovereign Carrier Strike Group, ready to fight on the surface and in the air, say the Royal Navy.

Her complement of jets comes from two squadrons of F-35Bs, the RAF’s 617 Squadron (The Dambusters) and the US Marines Corps VMFA-211 (Wake Island Avengers).

The Royal Navy also say that With a total of 14 jets and eight Merlin helicopters, it’s the largest concentration of fighter jets to operate at sea from a Royal Navy carrier since HMS Hermes in 1983, and the largest air group of fifth generation fighters at sea anywhere in the world.

Image Crown Copyright 2020.

The Carrier Strike Group will be put through its paces off the north east coast of Scotland as part of Joint Warrior, NATO’s largest annual exercise.

Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander UK Carrier Strike Group, said in a press release:

“The United Kingdom’s maritime renaissance has been unfolding over many years, as we introduced a new generation of ships, submarines and aircraft into service. But this marks the first time we have brought them together in a cohesive, potent, fighting force. HMS Queen Elizabeth will be operating with the largest air group of fifth generation fighters assembled anywhere in the world. Led by the Royal Navy, and backed by our closest allies, this new Carrier Strike Group puts real muscle back into NATO and sends a clear signal that the United Kingdom takes its global role seriously.”

Image Crown Copyright 2020.

617 Squadron Commanding Officer, Royal Navy Commander Mark Sparrow, was quoted as saying:

“This is an incredibly exciting time for 617 Squadron as we begin a new era of partnership with the US Marine Corps building towards next year’s operational deployment with HMS Queen Elizabeth. You need to go back more than three decades to find the UK operating anything on this scale or complexity and this is a first for fifth-generation carrier capability. The era of big-deck, fast jet carrier operations is back.”

Image Crown Copyright 2020.

VMFA-211 arrived in the UK just under two weeks ago. Their Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Freshour USMC, was quoted as saying:

“The Wake Island Avengers are ready in all respects to work with the British sailors and aircrew on board HMS Queen Elizabeth. We are looking forward to deploying alongside our British counterparts over the next few months, and we will work tirelessly as a part of this transatlantic naval force. We are proud to play such an important role in the generation of an allies’ carrier strike capability.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth has welcomed UK and US F-35B jets for a major exercise

Captain James Blackmore, the UK’s Carrier Air Wing Commander, added:

“We are going to learn a huge amount from operating F-35Bs at sea with the USMC, they have had them longer and we can share ideas and practices. But this is much more than that; this is the trans-Atlantic alliance in action, demonstrating that two close allies can not only fly from each other’s carriers, but can fight alongside each other should we need to. This level of integration offers a decisive flexibility in times of crisis, conflict or war.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth has welcomed UK and US F-35B jets for a major exercise

The Royal Navy say that HMS Queen Elizabeth, along with her 1,680 sailors, aviators and marines, is due to return to her home port of Portsmouth next month.

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Andy

A big thank you to our friends in the Marine Corps, integrated forces is the future and the UK is leading the way.

Looking forward to future Italian, Singaporean, Korean and Japanese F-35Bs embarking.

Daniele Mandelli

Absolutely!

John Clark

Seconded, wonderful to see our American cousins sharing QE, it’s a potent teaming and the USMC are over the moon to be operating from these excellent F35 tuned ships, it must make quite the step chance from their usual overcrowded cattle trucks!

Andrew

I think that because their is a bar on board, the marines may rather enjoy their deployment!

Geoffrey Roach

Impressive. Let’s keep moving forward. Somewhere over the last few weeks I have suggested that we buy another dozen or so aircraft…five sqds. of ten plus an ocu? Probably hte minimum to run both ships if we need to. There is certainly room on those decks.

Spyinthesky

Have to say there is still plenty of room that’s for sure.

Steve R

In the event we need to run both carriers simultaneously I have a feeling any spare F35 airframes in storage will be worked up and activated anyway, as it would have to be an existential threat to either us or an ally to require it.

We would likely still have just the 4 squadrons but they would be expanded to have more jets. My understanding is there are always more pilots than planes anyway, so in dire straits an F35 squadron could be expanded from 12 to, say, 16 or 18 planes.

Geoffrey Roach

Hi Steve…I went with 10 because that’s what the USN are running. They find the smaller number more practical apparently.

Graham Moore

We have long been supposed to buy 138 F-35s, but I suspect the IR will cut that down a bit.

Harry

A proud day for Britain and the Royal Navy. But out of interest. How many aircraft are in each squadron? Given that a raf squadron usually contains 12 aircraft and the USMC work on squadron of 10 (I think) then wouldn’t the number be 22?

Steve R

Chances are the whole squadron isn’t on there. Could be 7/12 from 617 with the rest being USMC planes.

Pacman27

4 UK and 10 USMC jets, which is a tad disappointing

Robert Blay

The USMC need to integrate into a foreign aircraft carrier, so it’s no surprise they have the bulk of the aircraft onboard for this first exercise. We have 18 British F35’s at Marham, so we can provide more to go to sea if need be.

ETH

15 British F35s at Marham, 3 in 17 Sqn permanently based in the US. 5 of the 15 are currently on HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Robert Blay

Happy day’s 👍

farouk

“The Royal Navy also say that With a total of 14 jets and eight Merlin helicopters,”

Slightly off topic. I was reading an article the other day (June Issue Airforces monthly)
regards how the Italians used the AgustaWestland AW101 as the starting point for their new Combat Search and Rescue helicopter. It features new engines and updated systems and equipment which they named as the HH-101A Caesar. yes I know the UK is skint (Unless you happened to have just relocated to Napier Barracks) but it would be nice to see the Uk purchase a few of these
https://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/hh-101a-caesar-medium-lift-helicopter/

Andrew dyson

Totally agree with you on the Merlin. It has more potential and we need more including to sustain the production line and the hard working team at the factory.

Does an argument exist to follow the USMC with the Cobra and CH53?

BushidoUK

14 or so jets on deck and it still looks empty. Those carriers are very impressive.

Rob

Easy to moan but this is great to see even if there are only 6 UK F35s on board. I feel the bigger problem is AEW. Crowsnest is still not working and operating with land based AEW becomes less likely as the Wedgetail order is down sized.

Now I know it has been said before but a couple of V22s would have plenty of room for some pretty good radars…

farouk

Rob wrote:
I feel the bigger problem is AEW.

I wonder if a modern version of the Fairey Gannet would work?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairey_Gannet_AEW.3#:~:text=The%20Fairey%20Gannet%20AEW.,carriers%20of%20the%20Royal%20Navy.

Jason Holmes

And the biggest failure of the Falklands Conflict was lack of AEW, here we are sailing again (thankfully not to war) without AEW. Having to rely on landbased AEW defeats the purpose.

Spyinthesky

Wonder where that will operate from in the South China Sea

Jason Holmes

Exactly !

Levi Goldsteinberg

Brunei I’d imagine

peter french

Bring back the Gannet .Only those of a certain age will know what im referring to

Daniele Mandelli

I’m too young to remember it in service, but old enough to know what it is! Isn’t there a flying example at Yeovilton?

NickC

No there isn’t, but there is one in the States. There is a good video on uTube.

David Flandry

One of the oddest looking aircraft, but it fit on the carriers!

Paul42

I understand Crowsnest will be embarked next year, despite not yet having achieved IOC. We’re goi g to look somewhat foolish if we do send QE to the South China Sea without it…….

Glass Half Full

Its not desirable to sail without organic AEW but it should be remembered that every US Navy ship outside a CSG sails in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Philippine Sea without organic AEW. That includes the LHDs such as the USS America. Even a pre-IOC Crowsnest is more than any non-CSG asset has available to it. To which we should also remember to add the F35’s sensor capabilities. The US of course has a number of options to support land based AEW across the region from airfields in Japan, Guam, Philippines and Singapore with E-3 permanently based… Read more »

Malcolm Young

Any AEW out in that part of the world will be provided by the US Navy. We might be providing the platform and the people to ‘drive’ it but that platform will be a very small part of a much larger operation. If we were operating unilaterally then it would be a massive issue. The reality is it is not.

Paul42

True, the USN will no doubt provide AEW. However the UK is eager to demonstrate that we can deploy a sovereign CBG by ourselves, complete with all the required assets, hence Crowsnest will sail on the QE and will no doubt be used in order to avoid the egg on face scenario, specially after we opted for the cheapest and most simplistic version in order to get it into service!!

Robert Blay

USN LPHD”s such as USS America operate in the south China sea with no organic AEW. No problems at all. Once Crownsnest is in service, coupled with the F35 sensors, we will have a very capable and flexible AEW capability within the resources available to the RN

Cdickinson

Not to mention in air refueling.

Nigel Collins

SEPTEMBER 25, 2020

The strike carrier’s eye in the sky – update on the Crowsnest project

https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/the-strike-carriers-eye-in-the-sky-update-on-the-crowsnest-project/

Daniele Mandelli

Another stealth cut. I’d missed 849 had gone.

If someone gave me a choice of ANY increase in numbers of ANY type in service, I’d choose more Merlins.

Nigel Collins

Some more information can be found here. Helicopters Merlin HM2’s operating on HMS Illustrious The 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review saw the Fleet Air Arm operate two types of helicopter replace the RN’s aging fleet —the AW101 Merlin and the AW159 Wildcat.[87] In the carriers and frigates, the larger Merlin anti-submarine warfare helicopter is used. There are 30 Merlin HM2 helicopters in service.[88] The Royal Navy’s Sea King Commando HC.4s were withdrawn in 2016, replaced by the Merlin HC.3 variant obtained from the Royal Air Force. These are being upgraded to HC.4 standard, including a full glass cockpit similar… Read more »

Robert Blay

And another 6 years of development, and huge cost. V22 is a none starter.

Pacman27

what a beautiful sight.

If I was a 16-22 year old I would be looking to be a part of this, sadly I am not…

great effort all round and it does show what we can do.

Damo

If you were 16-22 year old I’d be trying to persuade you to be a para 😉

All joking aside, great career available in the Navy. Be great to say you’ve served on a carrier

Damo

Not going to lie, I read all of this with a big grin on my face. Excellent stuff.

Jim

Out of interest, how combat-ready are the F35’s? I know Meteor and Spear 3 is a bit of a way off but I’m assuming they have older weapons integrated already?

RobW

ASRAM, AMRAAM, and Paveway. They are still well armed but will obviously be even better with Meteor and Spear 3.

Nigel Collins

Hopefully, the government might reconsider its current way of thinking before 2026 so they will be able to use Meteor and Spear 3.

“The U.K. government has disclosed for what appears to be the first time that it is not necessarily committed to eventually upgrading all 48 of the F-35B Joint Strike Fighters that it plans to buy with the still-in-development and increasingly costly Block 4 package.

Jets without the updates would be left with more limited capabilities. This also raises questions about how existing and future F-35 operators might approach the same question.”

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/34330/british-government-says-it-might-pass-on-27m-upgrade-for-some-of-its-f-35s

Ron5

Shyt stirring again Nigel? The British F-35B’s that won’t get the upgrade are machines that would never be deployed operationally. If you read reputable websites, you’d know this.

Nigel Collins

It might well be the ones that have a limited life cycle as they failed structual testing pre lot 9 if you read my posts without adding your usual idiotic comments. DOD FY 2019 “Static Structural and Durability Testing Activity • Teardown inspections of the F-35A full scale durability test article (AJ-1) were completed in July 2019 and correlations to the finite element models (FEM) are in progress. The FEM data are used to estimate the structural and durability performance of the original design structure. The program expects the F-35A Durability and Damage Tolerance report to be released in February… Read more »

Glass Half Full

They might just use early versions for OCU, no need for expensive upgrades then.

Nigel Collins

That’s what I’m guessing.

Robert Blay

Zero British F35’s will be withdrawn due to Structural issue’s. Again, Structural modifications are common, even in relatively new aircraft. Hawks, Tornado, Harrier, Typhoon have all had structural modifications.

Robert Blay

It’s common that not all the aircraft in a fleet recive the full range of upgrades. Same with Typhoon, not all of them received the full project centurion upgrade. Same will apply with F35. Jets on the frontline sqn’s will recive the full block 5, and much more further down the line. Jets on the OCU and in the sustainment fleet probably won’t. This is nothing new, and a very common way of managing fast jet fleets. We had a number of Harriers at different capability standards.

RichardB

Impressive, the UK now has two serious carriers – no one other than the USA will have anything better for some years yet. There wasn’t space to swing a small cat on the few occasions an Invincible CVL embarked 14-15 Harrier’s and Sea Harrier’s. The F-35B is significantly bigger, but Queen Elizabeth’s flight deck still seems pretty empty with 14 on deck. A better comparison though is Eagle and Ark Royal [IV] in their prime – it would be an interesting exercise to transpose using photoshop one of their “busy” flight decks on to Queen Elizabeth.

Ron5

I’d like to see that photoshop too.

Nigel Collins

I wonder if we can expect to see these at some point on the flight deck too? Interesting times ahead! British Navy Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier will be used to test large unmanned aerial vehicles June News 2020 Navy Naval Maritime Defense Industry “This drone project will be developed in collaboration with the 700X Naval Air Squadron, this unit was formed to oversee the development and innovation of cutting-edge remote-piloted flight systems within the British Navy. According to news released on February 2019 by “The News” website, United Kingdom is looking to create a new state-of-the-art unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)… Read more »

Glass Half Full

VTOL/STOL drones for QEC capable of eventually replacing Merlin for AEW and possibly even air-air refueling are very doable. An early example of what one might look like.
https://www.sabrewingaircraft.com/cargo-uav/

ChariotRider

Interesting beast…

Coincidently, there are some interesting insights into smaller UAV’s and Uncrewed RIB’s with 50cal mounted on Save the Royal Navy, including a UAV called the T-150 which is capable of deploying Remus 100 USV. The article also states that there is a larger version of the T-150 being developed to deploy a Sting Ray torpedo!

Check out the photos at the end of the article.

https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/hms-tamar-on-the-thames-the-royal-navys-newest-warship-on-show-in-london/

Cheers CR

Glass Half Full

Thanks CR, I had seen the STRN piece and it is interesting. I’d seen discussion on the Malloy UAVs before, but I hadn’t previously seen mention of UK forces using the Ghost, Anvil and UVision products.

What I find intriguing in the potential of a UAV like Rhaegal RG-1 is that it slots nicely between the larger fixed wing UAVs like the USN’s MQ-25 Stingray aerial refueling drone or say Taranis and the rotary UAVs of the Malloy Aeronautics T-150. Offering much greater payload, range and endurance, not only for the RN applications but perhaps also for Army logistics support.

ChariotRider

Hi Glass Half Full (feels quite odd saying Hi to a half full glass 🙂 ), Anyway, back to UAV’s. I think the current rapid development of UAV’s could have a significant impact on the design of future surface vessels. I wonder whether the T26 / T31 will still be as appropriate as I suspect UAV’s deploying sensors, weapons and other Autonomous Vehicles will great increase the reach of major platforms. As you point out logistics could see huge benefits from UAV’s and if linked into an integrated logistics system then you could conceive a semi autonomous logistics system, reducing… Read more »

Glass Half Full

Hi CR – Well as long as you were the one that imbibed the first half of your poison of choice then its almost like saying hello to an old friend 🙂 Definitely interesting times. We now have the five domains of air, sea, land, space and cyber with the last two looking to become extremely important. It also seems like we are seeing major changes across all of the domains in technology and the way combat is likely to take place in future. The US seem to be pursuing unmanned or optionally manned surface ships for their navy. Another… Read more »

Nigel Collins

I wonder what’s happening behind closed doors!
Thank’s for the link!

Ron5

The UAV referred to would be the output of the LANCA program to develop a loyal wingman for the F-35’s. Here’s a description of the Australian Boeing entry in that program.
https://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/loyal-wingman-unmanned-aircraft/

Ron5

For operations off the carriers, the LANCA would probably be rail launched similar to how target drones are launched. Recovery would be more problematical and the RN has reached out to UK industry for their ideas. I would think some sort of arrested landing would be needed.

Ron5

There is more information about LANCA on the RAF site

https://www.raf.mod.uk/what-we-do/team-tempest/lanca/

BB85

No need for porn hub tonight.

Daniele Mandelli

🤣 👍

Nathan

I know you’re joking and its a bit off topic but I’d just like to point out that the porn industry is part of the problem regarding human trafficking.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/08/porn-human-trafficking-reinforce-each-other/

RichardB

According to The Drive blog “A total of 15 fighter jets from the Royal Air Force’s No 617 Squadron “Dambusters” and the U.S. Marines Corps’ Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211, the “Wake Island Avengers,” are now on the carrier, together with eight Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Merlin helicopters. The jets began to arrive on the carrier yesterday, September 22, 2020, and the photos released today show 14 F-35Bs on the flight deck, ten from the U.S. Marines Corps, and four from the RAF. This suggests that one additional British aircraft is either yet to embark or was in… Read more »

Meirion X

Did not only 8 USMC F-35B’s fly over to Marham two weeks ago?

Ron5

No. 10.

Ron5

The Drive is incorrect (gosh what a surprise). 14 F-35B’s have embarked and that’s it. 10 US & 4 UK.

Ron5

And a day later one more RAF jet arrived to make everyone happy.

Robert Blay

Biggest 5th gen air group in the world. That has a very nice ring to it 🇬🇧🇺🇲 And this is still just the very beginning of carrier strike. We have barely scratched the surface of what this combination of aircraft and vessel can do. And both will have a very long career. Both will be continually updated and developed. And we will be doing things in 10 years time that we can barely dream about today.

Robert Blay

I understand it’s 14 jets, 7 from each nation, but more might join as the exercise develops. 24 still planned for next year, and 24 all Britsh F35’s for 2023. 36 will come one day, Crowsnest will come. Chinooks, Apache, Wildcat, UAV’s. Other nations F35B’s. The potential is huge. 🇬🇧🇺🇲🇯🇵🇮🇹

Daniele Mandelli

Bravo.

Robert Blay

🤙🇬🇧

Steve

How are we going to get 24 UK jets by 2023, wasn’t he buy rate slower than that, taking account of the ones that are staying in the US?

Robert Blay

I’m not 100% sure to be honest. I keep reading 24 will be available for 2023 on the frontline sqns. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we will put all 24 to sea. 👍

Ron5

The slogan has been 24 for 24 i.e. 24 jets in 2024.

Paul42

I believe the 24 for next year no longer applies. The number embarked will actually be smaller. 617 will not commit to putting 12 on board . I note the QE has still not received all her PhLanx or 30mm mounts???. POW already has her full Phalanx fit???
.

Robert Blay

QE will deploy next year, she should have her full CIWS fitted for then. I believe they can fit 4 systems.

Paul42

They can fit 4,but plan is for 3. Plus no 30mm yet?

Robert Blay

I don’t know to be honest mate.

Geoffrey Hicking

“36 will come one day”

Coming from anyone else, I would have dismissed that as fantasy fleet. 12 are enough.

Robert Blay

Yeah, 12-14 will be the norm, the numbers will depend on the exercise/deployment requirements, 36 will be a surge conditions. But they will have to prove they can do it, once the aircraft numbers are available. 👍

Julian

“… and 24 all Britsh F35’s for 2023”. I think it’s just possible that there might have been some slippage on that 2023 date. I remember reading an interview with 1SL a while ago now, maybe 6 months or even a year ago, where he had a catchy little sound bite in his interview – “24 by 24” which he explained as encapsulating one of the milestones of the work up of UK carrier strike being the goal of being able to field 24 UK aircraft on a carrier by 2024. Now admittedly “24 by 23” doesn’t sound as snappy… Read more »

Ron5

Where is this 24 in 2023 coming from? The RN has been clear the aspiration is 24 in 2024.

Julian1

The delivery has indeed slipped. We should have had aircraft delivered by now for 2020 but it hasn’t happened

Steve

I thought we only had 1 on order for the 2020 batch?

Julian1

I thought 3 for delivery. Not sure whether that means to cherry point for ferry or to Marham. Either way, I think it’s slipped

Ron

I wonder what the USMC air componant thinks about the QE and her capabilities. It would be intresting to find out especially as the QE is designed for 5th Gen aircraft.

Robert Blay

I think the Americans think it’s the bees knees. And they can have a 🍻😄

Marius

Finally! Just need some new ASM and finally we got back the Royal Navy!

Lazarus

Anglo-American seapower in action!

ChariotRider

There is video of a USMC F-35B taking off from QE on Save the Royal Navy. I wonder if the marines are going to adopt the Shipborne Rolling Verticle Landing technique whilst deployed with the RN?

Cheers CR

Mr Bell

Chariot. I think so. Especially as the RN learnt the technique from the USMC. We might even trial “hot refuelling” to speed up sortie generation rates. As per USMC

Pacman27

I don’t think its fitted yet, I read somewhere that POW will be the first carrier to test and cerftify SRVL using the New Bedford array.

does anyone have an update on this?

Meirion X

Because PoW was built quicker then QE, and IOC not until 2023, so there should be more time to test new quipment on her.

Paul T

Wasn’t it the case,as shown in the TV Documentary that the SRVL has already been performed on HMS QE ,but that it needs some refining if thats the right word ?.Peter ‘wizzer’ Wilson being the Pilot.

Paul T
Ron5

The RN most definitely did not learn SRVL from the US Marines. Whoever told you that is full of it.

Peter Telford

A very positive message for the Free World. Good luck to my friends on RFA. We are now practising what we preach.

Nathan

Will this all be put in jeopardy if Biden wins and feels like we need to give away some other cultural artefact to a.n.other or if Britain decides to prioritise Northern Ireland at the inconvenience to the Republic or the EU or if he decided to push some other cultural-political ideology he wants on us?

Biden and sadly the current crop of Democrats are not Britain’s friends – we need to be wary about who wins in November.

Herodotus

Oh really, and Trump is….! The USA does not have friends, only interests! Special relationship…..in a pig’s backside! Ask them if they are going to repatriate Ms Sacoolas to face trial for manslaughter. Meanwhile they have the cheek to petition for Assange’s extradition. Lets stop playing Festus to the US’ Matt Dillon….it’s sickening!

Daniele Mandelli

I think one can say, and maybe you agree, that the SR is on various levels, all varying in the level of fairness and what the nations get out of it. On the level of intelligence for example the link is vital to the UK, in the raw data we access. To the US maybe not so much, except for what they get regards access to bases world wide, which they needed from our remnants of empire. Also the UKs cryptographic skills, which are often ahead of NSA. One often hears the saying, that they have the money, we have… Read more »

Herodotus

Yes, it isn’t that far off from Russia’s response to the Salisbury poisonings….Okay, so what are you going to do about it….nice friends! Whilst I accept that there are some clear advantages to cooperation, I think that the French have the right idea. Brexit, supposedly was all about national sovereignty….well, let’s bloody-well see some.

Nathan

My statement didn’t imply that. But, yes Trump puts America and its citizens first that is his raison d’etre. That being said he does also seem to be an Anglophile, is an Aberdonian business man and has supported us in our attempts to leave the EU. Obama, Pelosi and Biden all made threats against us regarding trade, made it clear they thought we shouldn’t leave the EU and seem to have sided with them in our negotiations appertaining the Republic of Ireland. So you may be right that we do not have a real friendship with the US but at… Read more »

MattG

Finally!

Herodotus

Will the Marine Corps pilots be allowed a beer after ops?

Ian M

Is it still 12 hours between bottle and throttle?

Herodotus

I used to work on an RN hydrographic vessel in the 1970s. When the budgie pilot had had a particularly exhausting day he would enter the wardroom walking on his hands…carefully negotiating the bulkhead at the main door. On the occasion that I witnessed, he did a circuit of the wardroom, where off duty staff were enjoying a drink and catching up with the papers, farted very loudly and left through the same door on his hands. Nobody said a word or even made the slightest acknowledgement of his presence! Dear old Andrew…..they are bloody mad….the lot of them!

Steve

Im pretty surprised the US has allowed their planes be on board without a US destroyer as escort.

Ron5

Grow up.

Steve

It’s got nothing to with growing up. The US made a public statement that they would not trust UK to guard its forces again after the camp attack in Iraq/Afgan (can’t remember which).

Daniele Mandelli

Thought there was a US Destroyer?

Steve

That’s what i thought, but didn’t see mention of it.

Robert Blay

Maybe it will join later in the exercise. Escorts often disappear and do there own thing as part of work up’s to big exercises.

Dern

The only incident I can think of was the raid on bastion in afghan, ironically enough one of the Squadrons involved in that raid was VMA-211.
Though I don’t recall the public statement to that effect, which would’ve been pretty unjustified since the USMC was also guarding the permiter and the poor state of the perimiter defence the USMC had resulted in the fireing of two US generals.

Robert Blay

Hi Steve. This is an exercise off Scotland, not hardcore war fighting in some far off ocean. RN T45’s have provided air defence cover to USN Nitmitz class carriers in the gulf before, and on high profile exercises. We have done the same for the French. So they very much trust the RN escort fleet.

Steve

The t45 provided air defense along side the US cruiser and AB that were also in the task force. They were not relying on the t45, and in that case i wouldn’t’ blame them not doing so considering the reliability issues.

Robert Blay

US carriers always deploy with more than one escort. So that’s a none starter. And US ships can and do brake down occasionally too. It has nothing to do with reliability, capability, or reputation. Very much the opposite in fact. T45 is one of the most capable destroyers in the world, and the USN would be more than happy to use it’s capabilities.

Meirion X

Very much agree Robert!

Meirion X

Do you think the US does Not trust the UK commenders with its aircraft?

Steve

For sure they don’t. I suspect the military guys might do, but its political like everything else when it comes to military deployments. Just like it is embarrassing for us to be seen to need US jets to get us out of the hole of ordering carriers with insufficient jets, it also applies the same way for the USMC, i suspect they won’t want the optics of them needing to use a foreign carrier / escorts.

Watcherzero

My quick maths on the previous story seeing that no US carrier had sailed with more than 13 F-35 onboard and QE was sailing with more was right. Wonder if someone at the RN press office read my post 😛

Mark

I see it is 617 Sqn. Are they all RAF pilots, or are some Fleet Air Arm ?

NickC

Mark. 617 is a mixed squadron, RAF with both dark blue and light blue pilots, and the current CO is an RN Commander, which really is a first. The next squadron to stand up will I think be 809, which will be nominally FAA, but again with a mix of pilots. I don’t know about the maintainers.

Bob

The whole Sqn is roughly a 52/48% mix RAF/FAA

BigH1979

Great sight 👍👍. A couple of quezzies from an ex army bod….

Do the USMC F-35s have a different mission to ours? Ie CAS rather than Strike and Fleet Defence? With a different weapons fit?

I’m guessing this is the biggest deck the USMC jockeys have been on? Or do they interact with the CVN’s?

ETH

USMC F35s will be under British command when stationed on a QE carrier but any ops can be veto’d by a US officer on board.

The USMC also has Super Hornet and F35C squadrons which operate off of the Nimitz class (and soon to be Fords) so not quite the biggest carriers they’ve been on but certainly close (4 acres to 4.5)

Dern

Correction: The USMC does not currently have F35C squadrons. Those are slated to replace their Superhornets eventually.

Andrew

The USS Wasp and USS America-class amphibious assault ships can both carry between 16 and 20 F-35Bs

NickC

I think that the Wasp has carried 13, sometime last year. Whether it was an operational deployment or just training I’m not sure.

Watcherzero

They have carried 13 during a surge capacity validation exercise, their nominal max capacity is 20.

geoff

Been out of town with no comms so have just returned to see this wonderful rebirth of RN Carrier power. QE’s decks do look remarkably empty but that must be a huge plus for air ops, general handling and turn around times!

Frank62

Great to see at last. We need that 3rd Phalanx & a decent SAM system too before she’s really fit for depolyment.,

Harold

Royal Navy facing ‘big problems’ with its carrier strike plan as MPs urge MoD to ‘crack on’ and tackle delays

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, deputy chairman of the committee, who was on the tour, had ‘no doubts there would be cuts to the armed forces’ but felt the carrier programme would be spared.

https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/defence/royal-navy-facing-big-problems-its-carrier-strike-plan-mps-urge-mod-crack-and-tackle-delays-2984070