The Royal Navy say that this is the most powerful task force assembled by any European Navy in almost 20 years.

The new HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group has assembled for the first time with the aircraft carrier leading a flotilla of destroyers and frigates from the UK, US and the Netherlands, together with two Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is sailing with HMS Defender, HMS Diamond, HMS Northumberland, HMS Kent, RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tideforce in addition to the USS The Sullivans and Dutch vessel HNLMS Evertsen.

Commander of the UK Carrier Strike Group,Commodore Steve Moorhouse, was quoted as saying that this represents “a comprehensive, cohesive Carrier Strike Group with a sovereign British core, but US & Dutch partners integrated throughout & additional capabilities as required. Ready to fight together on & under the sea, in the air, over the land & in cyberspace”.


Commodore Steve Moorhouse also said:

“The new UK Carrier Strike Group is the embodiment of British maritime power, and sits at the heart of a modernised and emboldened Royal Navy. Protected by a ring of advanced destroyers, frigates, helicopters and submarines, and equipped with fifth generation fighters, HMS Queen Elizabeth is able to strike from the sea at a time and place of our choosing; and with our NATO allies at our side, we will be ready to fight and win in the most demanding circumstances. Carrier Strike offers Britain choice and flexibility on the global stage; it reassures our friends and allies and presents a powerful deterrent to would-be adversaries.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Strike Group are currently exercising alongside allied nations in the North Sea, as part of NATO’s largest annual exercise, Joint Warrior.

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Levi Goldsteinberg

They’re right. Closest comparison would be the lone French CSG, but with the shortcomings the Rafale has vis-a-vis the F-35 as revealed in Red Flag, the general poor capabilities of Rubis class subs and the piss poor logistical capabilities of the Marine Nationale, there’s no question the QE CSG is more powerful than anything they could rustle together. Only advantage they have is in fixed wing AWACs

Dan Jordan

I am not going to play the envious French man in this very patriotic conversation but I just notice that the QE is just making circles in the North Sea. If I were you I would wait a little before taking jabs at other navies. The 5th generation jets have not been tested in any meaningful military operation. They can’t fly during a storm! I bant help bit notice that they are only 15 jets on that deck and there are more American jets than British ones. I appreciate your support in Mali (where we do the fighting). I thank… Read more »


Utter nonesense. – Rafale has never faced F35 in any red flag. In fact F35 was on same team as F35, Typhoon, F15, F22, AWACS etc.. vs older versions of F16 C and D models. In fact the kill ratios are not attributable to a specific aircraft (certainly not the F35 alone who does not even carry that many missiles) since they were all working as a team It is the F35 that has not lived to expectations, which is clear from GAO and DoT&E reports, the fact that USAF is modernizing and ordering new F15, the navy doing the… Read more »


Oh and i almost forget the abysmal operational rate of the Type 45 over the last 5 years as per a recent article on this site. T45 was launched over a decade ago and engines are still major problem. Meanwhile CDG has Fremm and Horizon class escort.

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken

You make some valid points however I’m afraid no nation has ever managed to have every single newly designed piece of hardware go from design to production to operational capability without any hitches or set backs the frenchies included. The lamentable issues involved with the CDG which was built with its flight deck 14 m too short and it’s main rudder falling to bits after only a few years are just 1 example of how not to do something. The F35 is undoubtedly going to be far superior to any gen 4.5 aircraft in production when fully up to speed… Read more »


What BS. The ramp was not too short, it was designed for Rafale. However at a later date France decided to get US Hawkeyes since it was deemed too expensive to develop a french alternative for so few planes and 0 export market. The Hawkeye needed a longer deck and this was done before the ship did sea trials. And the propeller broke during sea trials and before it was IOC. That was resolved ages ago. The QE also has had its mishaps, like pipe burst flooding multiple decks with 200 tons of water, smoke stacks spitting out chuncks on… Read more »

Levi Goldsteinberg



Whilst its impossible to compare the f35 to the Rafale, as they have never gone up against each other in a real conflict (even red flag events are not a good comparison as they have too many limitations imposed), i would guess the f35 with its stealth would have the edge considering the age of the dog fight is probably gone and beyond visual range is the plan. As such it comes down to who sees who first on radar. I am curious, what is the biggest french task force around its carrier in European waters, i would have thought… Read more »

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken

Nah man you completely missing my point which is defence programs do not go from paper to operation just like that. there are issue that usually take years to resolve. Raffle a 1980’s concept that began way back just like the Eurofighter and every other gen 4 fighter etc etc. So what you are spouting about the F35 is kinda premature and dare I say OTT negative . If it turns out to be half as good as the F16 which started its journey 40 years ago then it will be a winner👍🏻 The CDG issue was a result of… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Lol, I remember the advert as a kid.

“Iron Bru…..made in Scotland, by Girders! “

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken

Gen X my man Gen X 😃👍🏻 We are the last of the premier generations. Half wit city from here on in 🤪👊🏼🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🇬🇧

Meirion X

Block 4 has Not been delayed! Block 4 capabilities are being introduced right now, in increments of 6 monthly intervals. What has been delayed, is just the completion date.


Task force comprises:
HMS Queen Elizabeth: Queen Elizabeth class Aircraft carrier.
HMS Diamond: Type 45 class Destroyer
HMS Defender: Type 45 class Destroyer
HMS Northumberland: Type 23 class frigate
HMS Kent: Type 23 class frigate
USS The Sullivans:   Arleigh Burke-class Aegis guided missile destroyer.
HNLMS Evertsen: De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate
RFA Tideforce: Tide-class replenishment tanker
RFA FortVictoria: Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ship

Bloke down the pub

I think there’s an RN sub with them too. Suffice to say, I don’t expect to see any photos of QE taken from underwater as it wouldn’t fit with the vibe.

Andy P

If there is a UK boat operating with them, it wouldn’t surprise me if there has been an ‘underwater look’.

Robert Blay

I bet the French are a tad envious.😆 And many with-in the USN would quite fancy a carrier designed from the keel up to operate the F35. A true 5th gen aircraft carrier, for a 5th gen aircraft. Fantastic 😃🇬🇧🇺🇲 And this is still only the very beginning of carrier strike, 10 years down the line, we will be doing things we have barely scratched the surface today, with this combination of vessel and aircraft and the rapid development both will undergo over the next few years.


Nice to see the Brits back in the power projection game.


The US already has two aircraft carriers in production designed from the keel up to operate the F-35 – USS Gerald Ford and USS John F Kennedy.

Meirion X

The RN have beaten the USN in that race! The USS Gerald Ford is not due to be operational until 2022. And USS John F Kennedy about 2024?


Read the statement I was responding to without a knee jerk response. FYI, the USS Carl Vinson is currently undergoing carrier qualifications for the F-35C. The Vinson was not designed from the keel up for the F-35 but was modified to handle it.

Robert Blay

That is true, but they cost about 4 times more than 2 QE class vessels.


And 20 times more lethal and 50 times more survivable.


20 times? Are you sure? And how exactly are they more survivable.


What a proud day! 10 years without carrier strike and now we are back!


Great sight. I am glad to see us working with the Dutch and Americans. However. I’d love to see some proper cooperation with the French one day.


This assertion cannot be true in light of the fact that the French nuclear carrier Charles Dr Gaulle regularly forms up with similar sized national and NATO escorts which sometimes includes USN escorts.

Daniele Mandelli

Maybe it’s equally the most powerful group then? I’m not knowledgeable enough on French vessel capabilities to comment much, and it depends how does one define powerful. I read our SSN is superior and the RN has greater numbers of high end AAW escorts, as well as the best ASW Frigates with the 2087 Merlin combination. We also have logistical reach they lack, and of course F35 stealth aircraft. The French have fixed wing AEW, and I assume their escorts are not short of ASM. Their carrier is nuclear, but they have but one, where’s we have two so we… Read more »


The French Carrier as far as I can ascertain never sails with less than 18 Rafale Fighter jets. I am almost certain that the carrier like the US Carriers who have nuclear weapons on board. So the strike power of the French carrier group would be greater than the Queen Elizabeth group because the Rafale carries a greater conventional ordinance load than the F35B plus the fact that it can also when called on deliver a nuclear load. Currently, I don’t believe the UK F35Bs are cleared to carry nuclear weapons and they certainly carry less of conventional ordinance, when… Read more »


Off course another way to look at the claim rather than in terms of Strike Power or number of vessels in the group that I have described above is in terms of tonnage. In the case then the claim of being the most powerful would probably be correct as the UK carrier is certainly much larger and heavier than the French carrier, with the asumption that the escorts of either group are about the same in tonnage (UK submarines are obvious larger and heavier than French boats but French FREEM frigates are larger and heavier than the T-23 frigates while… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

True that. At the moment F35 carries sod all really apart from P IV and AAM.

Robert Blay

Paveway 4 is a very capable weapon. And the Rafale has been in service a lot longer then F35. Spear 3 will be game changer once integrated in a few years time.

Robert Blay

Rafales don’t have the all Important first night of war capability. F35 brings that capability to the RAF/RN.

Steve Martin

It would be interesting to compare their expected sorties per day but I can’t find but on the CDG bar what she averaged in Afghanistan and Libya (I think it was 13-14 per day, but hardly air intense environments). Do I remember HMS QE’s being around 75 per day?


This is a truly impressive sight, and one that’s been long overdue! Its great to see us back in the carrier game, all we need to do now is get Crowsnest working correctly, increase our numbers of F35Bs and get our new Frigates built and in service with up to date weapns systems, and get a decent SSM on our existing escorts – from what I can see neitherbof the 45s or 23s have Harpoon fitted? I sincerely hope we are not going to send thatcgrouo into the South China Sea without any SSMs?


Just saw this ! A unmanned drone found in UK waters not far from nuclear sub base!

Daniele Mandelli



Yes! The article seems to suggest a Russian origin. I am no expert but this drone seems very small and i doubt how much spying it could actually do? probably trying to track the subs departure routes and maybe serve as a relay to other assets better equipped for surveillance in open waters?
Either way it is disturbing, since subs are critical to the nuclear deterrent. I guess this is nothing new to the Royal Navy. Such games happened during the Cold War so the Royal Navy takes appropriate precautions when launching a sub.

Daniele Mandelli

That is all secret, rightly. Whatever Russia may or may not be doing, the west ( usually RN/USN ) concerning submarine ops up north ) will be doing the same.

Christopher Allen

No, it doesn’t. It suggests a US origin but states it may be Russian simply because Russia had made their own sub and that being Russian could explain why it hasn’t been claimed yet.

It’s not like the US is innocent of spying on its allies


It’s 100 miles away to be fair



selfco 81

Brilliant to see the awsesome F35 going from strength to strength, by far the world’s most lethal 5th gen combat aircraft in existence, nothing else comes close.