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F-35 stealth jets in first combat missions from HMS Queen Elizabeth

F35B Lightning Jet launching from HMS Queen Elizabeth for its first combat mission. (Photo by LPhot Unaisi Luke)


F-35 stealth jets in first combat missions from HMS Queen Elizabeth


According to information released by the Royal Navy on June 22, 2021, the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group has entered the battle against Daesh, with F-35 fighter aircraft flying their first combat flights from HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The 28-week journey will take Queen Elizabeth and her carrier strike group to the Far East and back, making it the biggest fleet of warships to depart the UK since the Falklands War in 1982.

Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, stated:

“The ability to operate from the sea with the most advanced fighter jets ever created is a significant moment in our history, offering reassurance to our allies and demonstrating the UK’s formidable air power to our adversaries.”

“The Carrier Strike Group is a physical embodiment of Global Britain and a show of international military strength that will deter anyone who seeks to undermine global security.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth is equipped with F-35 Lightning jets, with 18 from the United Kingdom and the United States. The aircraft is a multi-role combat aircraft of the future generation, outfitted with sophisticated sensors, mission systems, and stealth technologies.


Cdre Moorhouse, speaking on the flight deck of the Portsmouth-based carrier, said: “HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first missions against Daesh will be remembered as a significant moment in the 50-year lifespan of this ship.”

‘It also marks a new phase of our current deployment. To date we have delivered diplomatic influence on behalf of the UK through a series of exercises and engagements with our partners – now we are ready to deliver the hard punch of maritime-based air power against a shared enemy.

‘The involvement of HMS Queen Elizabeth and her air wing in this campaign also sends a wider message. It demonstrates the speed and agility with which a UK-led carrier strike group can inject fifth generation combat power into any operation, anywhere in the world, thereby offering the British government, and our allies, true military and political choice.’

CSG21, commanded by HMS Queen Elizabeth, is the greatest concentration of maritime and air power to leave the UK in a generation, and this is the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force’s first operational deployment.

Number 617 Squadron is a Royal Air Force aircraft squadron located in Norfolk, initially at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire and now at RAF Marham in Norfolk. It is well known as the “Dambusters” because to its activities during Operation Chastise against German dams during WWII.

‘The Lightning Force is once again in action against Daesh, this time flying from an aircraft carrier at sea, which marks the Royal Navy’s return to maritime strike operations for the first time since the Libya campaign a decade ago,’ said Captain James Blackmore, commander of the carrier air wing.

‘With its fifth generation capabilities, including outstanding situational awareness, the F-35B is the ideal aircraft to deliver precision strikes, which is exactly the kind of mission that 617 Squadron has been training for day-after-day, night-after-night, for these past few months.’

“This is also notable as the first combat mission flown by US aircraft from a foreign carrier since HMS Victorious in the South Pacific in 1943. The level of integration between Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and US Marine Corps is truly seamless, and testament to how close we’ve become since we first embarked together last October.”

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