F-35 jets landed aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth ahead of the carrier and her escorts deploying in northern European waters.
The aircraft carrier recently returned from the United States where it hosted a high-level UK-US security conference in New York, in place of her currently decommissioned sister ship.
HMS Queen Elizabeth has now sailed for the next phase of her autumn schedule, which will see her lead a powerful Carrier Striker Group of battleships, helicopters and F35B stealth aircraft in Operation Achillean.
– British Carrier Strike Group Commander (@COMUKCSG) November 12, 2022
According a statement from the Royal Navy:
“The Carrier Strike Group will work closely with NATO allies and the Joint Expeditionary Force as the United Kingdom underlines its commitment to preserving European security. The Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) is a ten-nation coalition like-minded people who are dedicated to keeping Northern Europe secure.This latest deployment builds on a series of operations and exercises with JEF allies this year for the Royal Navy, including maritime patrols in the Baltic Sea.
HMS Queen Elizabeth will be at the center of the carrier strike group, with British carrier strike group commander Commodore Angus Essenhigh and his staff commanding from the carrier. F-35B Lightning jets from 617 Squadron will conduct flight operations, while helicopters from 820, 845, 815 and 825 Naval Air Squadrons will conduct sorties from a bustling cockpit.
With a team of @OC617Sqn already on board the carrier, @Esc OC207 staff prepared and launched the aircraft piloted by @OC617Sqn pilots. Another great team effort from the Lightning Force staff. https://t.co/4EPEj7tbuO pic.twitter.com/pGfVgqReYE
– RAF Marham (@RAF_Marham) November 11, 2022
Commodore John Voyce, Commanding Officer of Portsmouth Naval Base, was quoted as saying:
“We wish HMS Queen Elizabeth and the entire Carrier Strike Group the best of luck on their upcoming deployment. Everyone at Portsmouth Naval Base takes pride in supporting the flagship of the Royal Navy and preparing it for Operation Achillean. We look forward to welcoming her home when she is finished.