According to information released by the British Navy on May 1, 2021, the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has left Portsmouth as the British Carrier Strike Group prepares to join Allied forces for its largest and most demanding exercise to date.
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The British Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Portsmouth to participate in a naval exercise. (Image source British Navy)
Warships HMS Defender, HMS Diamond Type 45 Daring class air defense destroyers and HMS Kent Type 23 Duke class frigate have also left town while HMS Richmond, also a Type 23 frigate, is scheduled to depart from Plymouth. Meanwhile, Wildcat helicopters from 815 Naval Air Squadron left their base in Yeovilton to join the exercise.
Exercise Strike Warrior will involve more than 20 warships, three submarines and 150 aircraft from 11 countries and is a final test for the Carrier Strike Group before its first operational deployment in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Asia- Peaceful.
The two-week exercise will see the task group confront warships from NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 1 in the waters off the north-west of Scotland to prove it is capable of undertaking high intensity operations against the most demanding adversaries.
The climax of Strike Warrior will see the Carrier Strike Group certified as deployment ready, at which point operational command will shift from the Royal Navy Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd, to the Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key.
The British Carrier Strike Group Nacy consists of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, a Tide-class tanker, a Type 45 destroyer, a Type 23 frigate and an Astute-class submarine.
In the coming days, HMS Queen Elizabeth will once again embark 5th generation fighters, comprising 18 F-35 Lightning jets drawn from the British 617 Squadron, the Dambusters and the VMFA-211 of the US Marine Corps, better known as the Wake . Avengers of the Island.
The Carrier Air Wing also includes the largest concentration of helicopters in a Royal Navy task group in a decade, with three Merlin Mk4s from 845 NAS, four Wildcats from 815 NAS and seven Merlin Mk2s from 820 NAS.
HMS Queen Elizabeth will be accompanied by destroyers HMS Diamond and HMS Defender, frigates HMS Richmond and HMS Kent and the US Navy destroyer USS The Sullivans, which will form a steel ring around the 65,000 ton aircraft carrier.