Former Prime Minister Theresa May announced in June that HMS Queen Elizabeth will form part of NATO’s major ‘Readiness Initiative’ when she becomes operational.

HMS Queen Elizabeth will join the NATO rapid reaction force.

F-35B jets on HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Then Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“I’m pleased to announce that NATO will soon be able to call on the UK’s Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers and F-35 fighter jets to help tackle threats around the world.”

NATO’s ‘Readiness Initiative’ aims to improve the readiness of the alliance’s forces to deploy and move within Europe and across the Atlantic to safeguard international security. The UK will look to make its aircraft carrier a key part of those plans as the country continues to play a leading role in the alliance which has been the cornerstone of its defence for 70 years, say the MoD.

F-35Bs on HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Defence Secretary at the time, Penny Mordaunt, said:

“Be it projecting influence for peace, standing ready to fight, or delivering vital aid around the world, HMS Queen Elizabeth and her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, will fly the flag of a Global Britain. Nothing symbolises the leading role that we play in NATO more than our nation’s future flagship being ready to respond to any challenge that the Alliance may face.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth remains set to be deployed on global operations from 2021 and when HMS Prince of Wales joins her in the fleet in the near future, the UK will have one carrier available at very high readiness at all times.

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Daniele Mandelli

Does this also mean that NATO’s helicopters will use her as base when declared to NATO?

That’s some of the air group sorted!


All of the air group can already be sorted under present plans. We don’t need additional NATO aircraft to do that – welcome as their ops from the QE class will be if and when required

Daniele Mandelli

Morning Dave.

I know, my post was loaded with sarcasm as the QEC have nothing to fly off them apparently….


I think pretty much all high readiness ships are on this force! Nothing overly surprising here!


Makes a lot of sense to why the AH1s practicing on her deck then. Gives 16AAB another deployment option as well as 42 commando (Daniele will probably be able to correct me if I’m wrong)

Dan Liao

It has always been planned that the carriers will also operate as amphibious ships for the RM.


I know the Dan but last I checked RM didn’t fly Apaches. Hence me saying 16AAB as well as 42 commando. My comment about Daniele correcting me is because she is pretty hot on RM numbers and current taskings.

Dan Liao

I think when in support of the RM, the helicopters be they Army or jungly or whatever, would fall into a Joint Helicopter Command. Not saying this to be pedantic, just that we don’t know if this means 16AAB will operate from a QE or not. The Apaches will support anybody and everybody who is operating from QE, be they RM, Para, Gurkha or Rifles.

Daniele Mandelli

All helicopters are JHC with the exception of the FAAs Wildcats and Merlin HM2. The Dauphins of 658 are nominally JHC too but operationally under JSFAW within DSF.

I’m not aware of 16AA involvement with QEC myself. 42 Commando in a CSAR role is a possibility using Merlin as it has been discussed.

Daniele Mandelli

Lol. Hi Long Time.

You’re probably pretty new here. I’m male….that old chestnut has been covered here before.

As for Apache 4 Regiment AAC is tasked with supporting 16AA, 3 Cdo, or UKSF, with its high readiness Squadron. 3 Regiment AAC support 3 UK Division.



Gosh I was worried then for a minute, I though I’d missed a gender reassignment.


Daniele is a bloke

Chris H

“the country continues to play a leading role in the [NATO] alliance which has been the cornerstone of its defence for 70 years, say the MoD”

Blimey I thought it was the EU that had kept the peace since WWII. Well it must be so because David Lammy and Guy Verhofstadt say so …


Not trolling are you Chris?


Is the RN still planning on taking a squadron of USMC F-35Bs with them?

Daniele Mandelli

Hope so.


The thing that concerns me is that nothing in life is free and so what are we agreeing in order for the US to bail us out of a whole and top up our carrier. Right now it seems almost inevitable that the US will go to war with one of the following Iran/Syria/North Korea/Venezuela/Mexico (ok Mexico is a bit of a stretch but massive trade sanctions kinda push people into stupid things), all of which would be a disaster if they did (no question that the current governments could do with replacing but it has to be the people’s… Read more »


I think you will find that this was on the cards (USMC) way before the current US administration


Agreed, but its not the current adminstration that specifically concerns me in this case, its a return to the Blair version where the UK is just seen an another part of the US military. We have to be able to make decisions based on our own best interests, which might not always be aligned with our allies (think suez or falklands, where the US first reaction was to work against us, as it wasn’t aligned with their foreign policy). Or more current thinking, i keep reading that the QE gives the US the ability to free up assets and not… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

I agree with all of this.

Dan Liao

The cost is that UK and the US will work together closely on common interests, and IINM in the case of QE she is basically taking the place of an American carrier that would normally be tasked to the North Atlantic. Usually this would not mean doing anything the British Govt wouldn’t do anyway, such as bombing ISIS or facing off the Russkies.

Daniele Mandelli

Morning Steve I don’t think any of those hypothetical scenarios are a NATO situation so I would not expect QEC to be involved. North Korea has the Bomb, too late for sanctions or pressure from the international community. I would leave them alone and trade with them. They have it as they feel that is the best way to protect themselves. Funnily enough MAD works both ways. Iran is a difficult one due to their stated wish to wipe Israel off the map and the US foreign policy being linked to protecting Israel and vetoing everything that moves in the… Read more »


Mexico I agree, is currently very unlikely, but Venezuela not so much.

Multiple countries have already made a clear statement that they would not back a military intervention on Venezuela, which clearly indicates that there has been discussions on it in the background.

Mexico, we will see how things pan out, with talks of massive import taxes on Mexican goods unless they change their ways, it could put destroy Mexico economy (more so than it is currently) and considering the history of South America (or well the longer history of Europe) we know where that ultimate leads.


The stealthy conformal fuel tanks Israel are developing for their F35As will give them the combat range to reach Tehran.

I do see in the future that we will host other Nations besides the US, such as Japan and Italy on our QE and POW, perhaps even Australia. Both ships are massive assets that I’m sure will be doing lots of foreign port visits.

andy reeves


Simon m

What it doesn’t says is it is also marked for EU task group support and UK sovereign duties at the same time! I think announcement’s such as this are political BS and a waste of time! Just like when they announced the “new” European reaction force all assets were double if not triple earmarked then. Of course if NATO requires her we will deploy and it is good to work with NATO as part of a task group but if Falklands 2 ever kicked off none of our assets are likely to be available to NATO. Does mean east of… Read more »


Its just political spin, they want to be seen to have a ship in every country / sea/ocean in the world even if that means they are so spread out that they would be useless if a conflict happened.

Trevor G

Puts me in mind of a cartoon from back in the day, showing a bunch of rabbits jumping off the rear ramp of a Chinook in front of a group of senior officers, one of whom is shouting: “No No No! I said RAPID Reaction Force!!


global britain? who dreams this dribble up?