In the afternoon of Saturday 30th May, 2021 the Aircraft carrier HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH R 08 left her home in Portsmouth ahead of her first operational deployment. She will lead the UK’s Carrier Strike Group, which is taking part in an exercise off Scotland before departing for a tour of the Indo-Pacific region.
Image by Royal Navy.
During the 28-week deployment, the group will visit India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore and the wider region, becoming the largest concentration of maritime and airpower to leave the UK in a generation. Offshore Patrol vessels HMS SPEY and TAMAR, the newest warships in the fleet, will meet up with the Carrier Strike Group in the Indo-Pacific region, after having crossed the Atlantic Ocean westwards transiting the Panama Canal.
Meanwhile, units from the group will visit more than 40 countries and undertake in excess of 70 engagements, including sailing alongside the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle in the Mediterranean.
On Tuesday 8th June the CSG passed Messina Straits and on Wednesday 9th June HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH R 08 entered Augusta, Sicily –
On Thursday 9th June the Italian aircraft carrier ITS CAVOUR C 550 joined HMS R 08 at the Augusta Commercial Port Area and on Friday 10th June the British Ambassador to Italy JILL MORRIS visited the ships.
From 18th to 22nd June both HNLMS EVERTSEN F 805 and HMS DEFENDER D 36 were in Odessa, Ukraine for a short port visit. While HMS DEFENDER was sailing around 12 miles off Crimea peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014 in a move that has not been recognised internationally, was shadowed by more than Russian Armed Forces aircraft with 2 coastguard ships of which Moscow’s defence ministry said a patrol ship fired warning shots and a jet dropped bombs in her path while the UK Government rejected Russia’s account of the incident and denied that any warning shots had been fired.
On Tuesday 29th June the Royal Navy Type 23 Class Frigate HMS RICHMOND F 239 was at Haifa, Israel for a port visit.
On Wednesday 30th June the United States Navy Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer USS THE SULLIVANS DDG 68 entered Limassol Port together with the aircraft carrier HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH R 08.
On Tuesday 6th July the CSG transited the Suez Canal and are now operating in the Red Sea. The entrance into the Red Sea marks the second phase of the deployment that began in May 22 and will take the carrier into the Western Pacific via the South China Sea.
Image by Royal Navy.
On June 22, 8 x F-35B Lightning from the Royal Air Force 617 Squadron, “The Dambusters” and The “Wake Island Avengers” of U.S. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 (10 aircraft) flew combat operations in support of U.K. anti-ISIS effort Operation Shader and U.S. Operation Inherent Resolve – marking the first aerial combat operations from a U.K. carrier since 2010. Wildcats, the latest generation of multi-role helicopters, are being flown by 815 Naval Air Squadron as part of the formation. 820 Naval Air Squadron, a dedicated helicopter squadron for HMS R 08 bring their Merlin Mk2s to the deployment, with 845 Naval Air Squadron, part of the Commando Helicopter Force, also joining with their Merlin Mk4s. 845 Naval Air Squadron supports 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines with hoists, load-carrying and passenger capacity, and can land almost anywhere and work from ships. Overall, the flight deck of the aircraft carrier is hosting both British and American F-35B Lightning jets, four Wildcat maritime attack helicopters, seven Merlin Mk2 anti-submarine and airborne early-warning helicopters and three Merlin Mk4 commando helicopters.
In total, 3,700 personnel are a part of the Carrier Strike Group, including personnel from 42 Commando, Royal Marines.
HMS DEFENDER and HNLMS EVERTSEN operated as part of the Sea Breeze series of exercises in the Black Sea. Both warships were reportedly harassed by Russian ships and aircraft.
Also on Tuesday 6th July the U.K.’s second carrier HMS PRINCE OF WALES R 09 (Posing as HMS DEFENDER on AIS while she was entering) made her first foreign port visit after pulling into Gibraltar for a logistics stop joining HMS ARTFUL S 121 and today Thursday 8th July HMS LANCASTER F 229 joined too.
HMS PRINCE OF WALES R 09 is embarked with Apache attack helicopters of the Army Air Corps’ 656 Squadron and Wildcat maritime attack helicopters of 825 Naval Air Squadron as part of her sea trial period.
Watermarked Photos are by Capt. Lawrence Dalli, Peter Szamosi in Israel and Ms. Amy Savage (Carrier Pics) . Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com
Published – Thursday 8th July ,2021