HMS Queen Elizabeth joins two US Navy carrier groups in potent display of power in the Middle East
BRITAIN’S naval flagship has united with two US Navy task groups in one of the most potent displays of maritime power in a decade.
HMS Queen Elizabeth – leading the Royal Navy’s carrier strike group on its mission to the Far East and back – linked up with the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group and USS Iwo Jima amphibious ready group in the Gulf of Aden.
The two-day exercise in the Middle East saw the three navy task groups, comprising US, UK and Dutch ships, test their abilities in anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare tactics and techniques.
Each ship in the task groups has a specific role to help fight against a range of threats from above, on and below the waves from the F-35 Lightning stealth jets embarked on HMS Queen Elizabeth to the advanced radar on the navy’s Type 45 destroyers.
The crews practised manoeuvring in close formation, hunting simulated enemy submarines and defending against simulated adversaries in the air.
Commodore Steve Moorhouse, who is in charge of the UK carrier battle group, said: ‘The aircraft carrier is the ultimate expression of global maritime power. HMS Queen Elizabeth, USS Ronald Reagan and USS Iwo Jima symbolise the might of the US and UK partnership, and the ease with which our naval and air forces can combine here in the Gulf of Aden, or anywhere else in the world.
‘Last month, the UK carrier strike group exercised with Nato forces in Europe; this month we will be working with the United States and other coalition partners in the Middle East; and soon we will join a host of nations in the Indo-Pacific.
‘Day-by-day, week-by-week CSG21 is demonstrating the breadth of the United Kingdom’s partnerships, and the strength of our commitment to freedom and security at sea.’
Rear Admiral Will Pennington, Commander of the Ronald Reagan carrier strike group and Task Force 50, added: ‘Our team was proud to operate alongside the UK carrier strike group during this unique opportunity to hone the full scope of our mutual capabilities.
‘By operating together at sea, we deepen our coalition partnerships and extend our global reach throughout the region's critical waterways.’
The recent exercises marked the second time this year the Iwo Jima amphibious ready group has operated alongside the British task group, following an exercise off the coast of Scotland in May.