The Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth-led Carrier Strike Group (CSG) has successfully conducted joint F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft missions.
It is the first time that the UK CSG worked closely with the F-35 ‘C’ jet model of the US Navy.
The two UK F-35B Lightning jet squadrons also worked with the US Marine Corps (USMC) F-35Bs.
In addition, the jet squadrons from Queen Elizabeth worked with five F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, two EA-18G Growlers, and a E-2D Advanced Hawkeye from the US Navy’s Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Carl Vinson.
UK CSG US Senior National Representative colonel Simon Doran said: “Integrating United Kingdom and US Marine Corps F-35Bs into a flight with US Navy F-35Cs continues to reinforce the tactical flexibility of the F-35.
“Additionally, the mission further demonstrates the F-35’s ability to support distributed maritime operations, refuelling fifth generation aircraft from Super Hornets allows the United States and our allies to operate stealth fighters inside contested areas where legacy platforms would be vulnerable.”
During the joint interoperability flights, the fighter jets validated joint integration techniques, tactics, and other procedures.
The UK Carrier Strike Group (CSG) also completed exercises with the Republic of Korean Navy.
CSG group, alongside HMS Queen Elizabeth, are currently sailing deep into the Indo-Pacific leg as part of their seven-month deployment with allies and partners in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and into the Pacific.
UK Carrier Strike Group commodore Steve Moorhouse said: “CSG21 has taken us from the Atlantic Ocean, through the Mediterranean, across the Indian Ocean and has brought us here to the Western Pacific for a series of exercises and engagements with regional partners, including the Republic of Korea.
“The UK, like the Republic of Korea, is an outward looking trading nation committed to contributing to the maritime security which underpins global prosperity.
“By sailing here, we make clear our determination to work with like-minded nations in support of an open and transparent system of international rules.”