Jets on deck – HMS Queen Elizabeth embarks the largest number of F-35s at sea so far
Yesterday two squadrons of F-35B jets took off from RAF Marham and joined HMS QueenElizabeth in the North Sea at the start of the multi-national Carrier Strike Group exercise.
With a total of 14 jets and 8 Merlin helicopters, this is the largest concentration of jets to operate from an RN carrier since 1998 when HMS Invincible embarked 16 Harriers for deployment in the Gulf. This is also the largest air group of fifth-generation fighters to operate from a carrier anywhere in the world until now.
During the forthcoming GROUPEX, HMS Queen Elizabeth will be joined by a British SSN, HMS Defender, HMS Diamond, HMS Northumberland, HMS Kent, RFA Tideforce and RFA Fort Victoria plus other supporting units, to form a fully sovereign Carrier Strike Group.