Earlier in the deployment Russian jets were being intercepted almost every day and now that the Strike Group is back in the Mediterranean Sea it’s happening again.
In fact, it was reported that F-35 jets from HMS Queen Elizabeth intercepted Russian jets in the eastern Mediterranean more than 30 times as part of the Carrier Strike Group. Now that the vessels have returned to the region after sailing to the Pacific and back it appears Russian interest has been renewed.
Speaking to Deborah Haynes of Sky News, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that Russia had shown a renewed interest in HMS Queen Elizabeth and its F-35 jets as they headed home through the Mediterranean.
“It is not a secret the Russians have been very interested in the carrier group both on the way out from the United Kingdom – as she’s sailed and her group towards the Pacific – and now she is back in the Mediterranean,” Mr Wallace said.
You can read more from Sky News here.
HMS Queen Elizabeth recently made history for the first time that three nations have flown jets from the same aircraft carrier with British, American and Italian F-35B jets taking off from the ship.
F-35B Lightning jets from the Italian carrier Cavour have landed, refuelled, and relaunched from HMS Queen Elizabeth.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently in the Mediterranean following months in the Indo-Pacific region as part of her global deployment. As she heads west back to the UK, the ship has continued her busy programme of working with allied nations and partners, say the Royal Navy.
The Royal Navy say that this is the third nation that has landed jets on the carrier.
“On completion of the refuelling, HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH launched an Italian Navy F-35, Italian Air Force F-35, USMC F-35 and finally an F-35B from the UK 617 squadron. The jets then operated in the skies above the two carriers developing their interoperability and mutual understanding of procedures. HMS Queen Elizabeth is the deployed flagship for Carrier Strike Group 21(CSG21). CSG21 will see the ship along with the Strike Group work with over 40 countries from around the world. The Strike Group will operate and exercise with other Countries Navies and Air Forces during the 7-month deployment.”