The UK Royal Navy’s (RN) lead Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has set sail from Portsmouth to take part in Operation Achillean.

The aircraft carrier departed from Portsmouth on 10 November, marking the beginning of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s next phase of the autumn deployment programme.

Prior to this, the vessel completed a high-profile security conference in New York. This HMS Queen Elizabeth-hosted conference was held between the US and the UK.

Under the new deployment phase or Operation Achillean, the Queen Elizabeth-class vessel will lead a Carrier Striker Group (CSG) comprising several ships, helicopters and F-35B fighter jets from the 617 Squadron.

Portsmouth Naval Base commander commodore John Voyce said: “We wish HMS Queen Elizabeth and all the CSG the best of luck on their upcoming deployment.

“All at Portsmouth’s Naval Base are proud to support the RN’s flagship and prepare her for Operation Achillean.”

With HMS Queen Elizabeth at the centre, the RN’s CSG will work in close coordination with the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) and Nato allied and partner nations to reinforce the UK’s contribution towards maintaining European security.

The operation will see the participation of Merlin helicopters from Naval Air Squadrons 820, 845, 815 and 825, which will conduct sorties aboard the aircraft carrier’s flight deck.

Other members to take part in this operation include the UK CSG commander commodore Angus Essenhigh and his staff commanding from HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Furthermore, a task force led by the RN’s amphibious transport dock HMS Albion has also been deployed in the Mediterranean to take part in the operation.

Several RN vessels are operating separately from HMS Queen Elizabeth to serve the same objective of safeguarding Europe’s security.