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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HF
HF
1 year ago

I can guarantee Forces News…..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 year ago
Reply to  HF

Oh of course, I mean the likes of the BBC and ITV, where the ignorant masses of the UK population can see what their country is capable of.

farouk
farouk
1 year ago

Waiting for the BBC to knock out an article about how there are no transgender pilots and how the Military should be prosecuted for how how fighting trenches don’t have wheelchair access.

HF
HF
1 year ago
Reply to  farouk

Good joke.

John Clark
John Clark
1 year ago
Reply to  farouk

Spot on Farouk

HF
HF
1 year ago

I guessed that – I was joking. Both channels do quite a few programmes on the services, as do other channels. Still, I remember the late Prof Richard Holmes saying most people wouldn’t now wouldn’t know the difference between a Bombardier and a Brigadier.

dave12
dave12
1 year ago

Thats a bit of sweeping statement for you Daniele ,you are usually more diplomatic than that. ITV maybe, BBC is a bit of a stretch. From one who is part of the BBC ignorant masses ;).

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 year ago
Reply to  dave12

I know what you mean Dave. My impression of the BBC is more in line with Farouks if I’m honest, but I live in hope.

maurice10
maurice10
1 year ago

I share your concerns about the BBC the once trusted corporation whose political bias is so transparent, along with the reporters they employ. Defence will always get a rough ride with such people.

John Clark
John Clark
1 year ago
Reply to  maurice10

Absolutely, the once world renowned BBC is steadily sliding into left wing driven political correctness …. Very little to watch now, great to see my hard earned money being spent on programming like Canada’s drag race! …. Piss poor.

Make it subscription and let’s see who bothers staying with it.

julian1
julian1
1 year ago
Reply to  John Clark

show me a national TV channel which is better – anywhere. You go down the route of privately funded channels and they don’t even try to be impartial. It just turns into a PR machine for their political leanings – left or right. Why should the BBC provide excessive coverage of the military? Government/public sector is massive with lots of branches, most of them don’t get any coverage either. I don’t buy all this claptrap about “left wing BBC”. Perhaps the BBC hold the government to account and given we’ve had a tory government for so long that means the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 year ago
Reply to  julian1

https://www.bitebackpublishing.com/books/the-noble-liar

The Noble Liar. By Robin Aitken, BBC for 24 years and sick to the back teeth with it. Like many.

Maybe have a read.

As for a national TV channel which is better. I actually agree, most of their content is brilliant. It is the way news is portrayed I take issue with. But I do not bother watching the BBC for news.

John Clark
John Clark
1 year ago

In a very rare case of disagreement with you Daniele, I struggle to find much to watch on the BBC now. Some quality can can be found on BBC2, BBC4 and radio 4, but the majority of the programming seems to go through the woke filter, bland politically correct comedy and dumbed down current affairs. BBC news seldom covers anything in depth and the breakfast program is an unwatchable shallow lifestyle magazine show, covering all things Woke. A great example of the woke filter was seen this morning with the NHS Contact tracing feature on the news, we were treated… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 year ago
Reply to  John Clark

John.

You’re welcome, no worries.
I dislike all that stuff too, as you know. Sheer PC madness. I was thinking more along the lines of the historical and nature programmes, coast, Alison Roberts, Sport, Match of the Day, and Masterchef!
May I respectfully correct my “most” comment to “some”
I still agree with J1 that as a national channel it is better than most, as my often desperate viewings of the total crap on French and Italian TV round at my father’s show.

julian1
julian1
1 year ago
Reply to  John Clark

The BBC will claim their budgets are cut by central government and hence a decline in programming. They said this would happen at the time – and it did. Seems unfair to criticize them. On one hand many will, but on the other they are not willing to support funding via increased tax or cuts to other budgets. You must also consider the brilliant BBC website (how many languages?) and the expanding iplayer. The days of broadcast TV are almost gone yet that’s how most old geezer’s on this website judge them which is wrong. I think they still offer… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 year ago
Reply to  julian1

I think its more a case of a very definite left wing bias by those in charge at the BBC, you only had to watch their BREXIT coverage to see an undeniable anti Brexit stance that came over loud and clear and damaged the BBC’s once unshakeable reputation for impartial media. I feel its time it was made subscription, perhaps a two speed approach, no adverts for subscribers and adverts for broadcast media. There’s never been more people not paying the licence and I will join the rapidly growing ranks as soon as its decriminalised. 10 years ago, I had… Read more »

julian1
julian1
1 year ago
Reply to  John Clark

anti-brexit is hardly left wing, since the (non-momentum) left-wing got Boris elected and his Brexit mandate through. Most warnings about brexit are being played out though aren’t they? Only chance of a US trade deal is Trump being re-elected. The Brexit right will have egg on their face!

John Clark
John Clark
1 year ago
Reply to  julian1

Lets not move onto that one Julian, suffice it to say that a massive un-democratic effort, to turn over the will of the majority, was rightly crushed by the last general election…

Whatever happens next, we are in charge of our own destiny, not controlled EU …. 100 days to full independence!

Julian1
Julian1
1 year ago
Reply to  John Clark

The EU will simply be swapped for whatever super-sized economy wants to give us a deal. Their terms….over a barrel…..back-door decimation of sovereignty anyway. As you say the electorate has made its choice…

John Clark
John Clark
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian1

We won’t see eye to eye on this one either Julian!
Trade deals aside, the main point is our elected sovereign parliament, will be fully in charge of our laws and we can get rid of the sitting tenants every five years!

Plus, just as important, our UK supreme court will rightly be the highest court once again.

It’s all about a fully UK accountable democracy and justice system, the two foundation stones of a truly Indipendant sovereign nation.

Have a great evening…

Tim
Tim
1 year ago
Reply to  julian1

And what are these brexit warnings that are being played out I’ve not seen super STIs yet or emergency budgets or hundreds of thousands of job loses just on the vote (not 3 years later due to COVID) I must have missed the city of London moving like they said would happen and a trade deal with the USA is nothing it’s not that important with or without trump trade with the USA will increase and trade with Europe will go down

Andy P
Andy P
1 year ago
Reply to  julian1

Hi Julian, while overall I think the BBC are pretty good, the style of news (not just at the BBC) irks me though. It does seem dumbed down with far too much ‘vox pop’ crap, “lets go to the streets of Doncaster to see what they have to say about X/Y or Z”. Half say good, half say bad and some glib reporter keeps a straight face, its all utter bollocks. That the interviewers seem to be given free reign to indulge their personal views and prejudices seems to be more of an issue than the institutions being biased. For… Read more »

julian1
julian1
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy P

Newsnight is an excellent program. BBC World News brings international news stories to you where ever you are in the world at any time. Perhaps BBC News at 6pm should not be confused with these programs. Nor should the extensive network of BBC News correspondents who are expert and in some cases risk their lives to get the story.

Perhaps just don’t watch the news bulletins on BBC1

Andy P
Andy P
1 year ago
Reply to  julian1

I do enjoy Andrew Neill dissecting folk who haven’t done their homework but I do get bored when the panelists stick to their party doctrines and no matter what, good or bad they are duty bound to say the ‘other lot’ are wrong. It does get tedious.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 year ago
Reply to  julian1

Is the BBC World service still around? That had a high reputation. And from a defence standpoint links to MI6.

julian1
julian1
1 year ago

yes it is, but I actually meant the BBC World TV channel for international audiences. Soft power and international news which can be hard to come by in some countries.

PBS – Public service broadcasting (free) – in the US shows alot of BBC programming. Paid for by charitable donations by those who appreciate UK program making over their own private drivel

barry white
barry white
1 year ago

Dan
What i will say (Though i agree about the biased Brexit thing)
The Beeb in general do some real good programs
From current affairs to some cracking dramas
And from a personal point of view when i was at sea there was no internet or smartphones or anything like that but you could always relie on the good old BBC World Service
In fact in 82 during the Falklands that was what i and most of us relied upon to find out what as happened as i think you back home knew more than what i did

Mark B
Mark B
1 year ago
Reply to  julian1

My personal view is that a national broadcaster such as the BBC should give a balanced view about all national assets and services. In the case of the military that is served by fly on the wall documentaries on a T45, Carrier, RAF training etc. it would also be helped by the news showing brief clips of certain milestones to give the public a basic understanding.

Documentaries have proved popular on the health service, police etc. expanding on that into all areas is I think the duty of any public broadcaster

julian1
julian1
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark B

The BBC prefer to focus on “historic” military rather than current. I mean: BoB coverage last week, WW1 etc. They look at it through the lens of history rather than hobby or power projection.

Robert1
Robert1
1 year ago

Have to be honest in that my mind if the BBC are doing an equally good job of annoying Brexit voters who perceive them as pro-remain, and annoying remainders through employing the likes of Laura Kuensberg who are perceived as too chummy supportive of the Tories, in my mind they’re doing a good job of both sides so may be relatively impartial. In terms of positive portrayal of the RN and QE Class, think their documentary gives far more high profile and useful coverage than a here today gone tomorrow article about the task force (as significant as that task… Read more »

Nicholas
Nicholas
1 year ago

Exactly what negativity from the BBC and ITV are you referring to? This is definitely a massive step forward and a sight to behold. But it must be remembered that the CSG is still a work in progress and as it stands not as potent as it’s combined assets suggest. For example a fight between this group of ships and a peer navy might not be easy given the current lack of modern anti-ship missiles. The key, in my view, is not to see this as having great visuals and as a job done and then further reduce funding. What… Read more »

Andy
Andy
1 year ago

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
Daniele Mandelli
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy

Absolutely!

John Clark
John Clark
1 year ago

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
Andrew
1 year ago
Reply to  John Clark

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

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
1 year ago

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
Spyinthesky
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

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

Steve R
Steve R
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

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
Geoffrey Roach
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve R

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

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

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

Harry
Harry
1 year ago

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
Steve R
1 year ago
Reply to  Harry

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

Pacman27
Pacman27
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve R

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

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 year ago
Reply to  Pacman27

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
ETH
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

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
Robert Blay
1 year ago
Reply to  ETH

Happy day’s ?

farouk
farouk
1 year ago

“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
Andrew dyson
1 year ago
Reply to  farouk

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
BushidoUK
1 year ago

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

Rob
Rob
1 year ago

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
farouk
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob

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
Jason Holmes
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob

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
Spyinthesky
1 year ago
Reply to  Jason Holmes

Wonder where that will operate from in the South China Sea

Jason Holmes
Jason Holmes
1 year ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Exactly !

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
1 year ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Brunei I’d imagine

peter french
peter french
1 year ago
Reply to  Jason Holmes

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

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 year ago
Reply to  peter french

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
NickC
1 year ago

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

David Flandry
David Flandry
1 year ago
Reply to  peter french

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

Paul42
Paul42
1 year ago
Reply to  Jason Holmes

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
Glass Half Full
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul42

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
Malcolm Young
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul42

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
Paul42
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Young

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
Robert Blay
1 year ago
Reply to  Jason Holmes

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
Cdickinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob

Not to mention in air refueling.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob

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
Daniele Mandelli
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

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
Nigel Collins
1 year ago

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
Robert Blay
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob

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

Pacman27
Pacman27
1 year ago

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
Damo
1 year ago
Reply to  Pacman27

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

dan
dan
1 year ago

Agreed! Just trolls that have no knowledge of military operations.

Andy P
Andy P
1 year ago
Reply to  dan

Dan, just because you’re not interested in the military doesn’t make you a troll. Its easy to lose sight of on a forum that is full of guys who like this stuff but there are plenty out there who would rather the money was spent on schools and hospitals, you can’t really blame them for having a different set of priorities.

Damo
Damo
1 year ago

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

Jim
Jim
1 year ago

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
RobW
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

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

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 year ago
Reply to  RobW

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
Ron5
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

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
Nigel Collins
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron5

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
Glass Half Full
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

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

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 year ago

That’s what I’m guessing.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

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
Robert Blay
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

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
RichardB
1 year ago

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
Ron5
1 year ago
Reply to  RichardB

I’d like to see that photoshop too.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 year ago

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
Glass Half Full
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

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
ChariotRider
1 year ago

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
Glass Half Full
1 year ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

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
ChariotRider
1 year ago

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
Glass Half Full
1 year ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

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
Nigel Collins
1 year ago

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

Ron5
Ron5
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

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
Ron5
1 year ago
Reply to  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
Ron5
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron5

There is more information about LANCA on the RAF site

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

BB85
BB85
1 year ago

No need for porn hub tonight.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 year ago
Reply to  BB85

? ?

Nathan
Nathan
1 year ago
Reply to  BB85

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
RichardB
1 year ago

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
Meirion X
1 year ago
Reply to  RichardB

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

Ron5
Ron5
1 year ago
Reply to  Meirion X

No. 10.

Ron5
Ron5
1 year ago
Reply to  RichardB

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

Ron5
Ron5
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron5

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

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 year ago

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
Robert Blay
1 year ago

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
Daniele Mandelli
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Bravo.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 year ago

???

Steve
Steve
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

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
Robert Blay
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve

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
Ron5
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

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

Paul42
Paul42
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

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
Robert Blay
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul42

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

Paul42
Paul42
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

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

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul42

I don’t know to be honest mate.

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

“36 will come one day”

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

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 year ago

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
Julian
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

“… 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
Ron5
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian

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

Julian1
Julian1
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian

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

Steve
Steve
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian1

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

Julian1
Julian1
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve

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
Ron
1 year ago

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
Robert Blay
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron

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

Marius
Marius
1 year ago

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

Lazarus
Lazarus
1 year ago

Anglo-American seapower in action!

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 year ago

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
Mr Bell
1 year ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

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
Pacman27
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

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
Meirion X
1 year ago
Reply to  Pacman27

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
Paul T
1 year ago
Reply to  Pacman27

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.

Ron5
Ron5
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

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

Peter Telford
Peter Telford
1 year ago

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

Nathan
Nathan
1 year ago

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
Herodotus
1 year ago
Reply to  Nathan

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
Daniele Mandelli
1 year ago
Reply to  Herodotus

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
Herodotus
1 year ago

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
Nathan
1 year ago
Reply to  Herodotus

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 »

George
George
1 year ago

Yes agree Daniele! Hi folks hope are all well. This is great news and good pics too. Yes I was wondering how the media is going to report this if at all? We may be surprised. Fantastic to both UK and US alongside each other, the media will no doupt will be negative about this saying the UK does not have many 35b’s not factoring the matter that interoperation has always been the intention from the concept of the carrier’s opperarion if required. Wonder what the reaction of Rusia and China is? Please correct me if I’m wrong, is this… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 year ago
Reply to  George

Afternoon George.

I think so? I’d hope for a bigger contribution of RAF jets, at least to 50-50 with the USMC.

MattG
MattG
1 year ago

Finally!

Herodotus
Herodotus
1 year ago

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

Ian M
Ian M
1 year ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Is it still 12 hours between bottle and throttle?

Herodotus
Herodotus
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M

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
Steve
1 year ago

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

Ron5
Ron5
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve

Grow up.

Steve
Steve
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron5

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
Daniele Mandelli
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve

Thought there was a US Destroyer?

Steve
Steve
1 year ago

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

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 year ago

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
Dern
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve

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
Robert Blay
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve

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
Steve
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

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
Robert Blay
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve

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
Meirion X
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Very much agree Robert!

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve

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

Steve
Steve
1 year ago
Reply to  Meirion X

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
Watcherzero
1 year ago

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
Mark
1 year ago

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

NickC
NickC
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark

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
Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  NickC

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

BigH1979
BigH1979
1 year ago

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
ETH
1 year ago
Reply to  BigH1979

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
Dern
1 year ago
Reply to  ETH

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

Andrew
Andrew
1 year ago

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

NickC
NickC
1 year ago
Reply to  George Allison

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
Watcherzero
1 year ago
Reply to  George Allison

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

geoff
geoff
1 year ago

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
Frank62
1 year ago

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