HMS Queen Elizabeth will embark two F-35 Squadrons and a full rotary wing group.
A US Marine Corps F-35B squadron will join a squadron of UK jets on-board.
These flight deck BBQ's have really taken a toll 🔥#NoJets
Or could it be the sign of an operational flight deck.#StrikeCarrier🇬🇧
📸 Andy Amor pic.twitter.com/SwdJsrhkF7
— HMS Queen Elizabeth🇬🇧 (@HMSQNLZ) September 2, 2020
This is in preparation for next year when 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.
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.”
Air Marshal Knighton added:
“The escorts that go with the carrier will depend on the circumstances. The work-up for carrier strike group 21 will be with British ships, because we need to demonstrate and prove that we can do that, but we are already engaged with international partners to understand how we will integrate an Arleigh Burke destroyer from the US or a Dutch destroyer into that package.”
A different #F35Friday as our flight deck crews practice how to move and operate aircraft on a busy deck.
— HMS Queen Elizabeth🇬🇧 (@HMSQNLZ) July 17, 2020
The vessel will sail later this month.