BOSSES on the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth have welcomed onboard the United States’ most senior marine, General David H Berger, to watch F-35 jets take off from its flight deck.
Gen Berger, the 38th commandant of the United States Marine Corps, visited the Portsmouth ship this week during its Westlant 19 deployment.
The mission off the east coast of the USA has seen HMS Queen Elizabeth and her crew carry out rigorous flight trials with F-35 jets.
It comes ahead of her first operational deployment in 2021, by which time her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, will have come to Portsmouth.
Sharing an image of Gen Berger appearing to walk through HMS Queen Elizabeth’s hangar, the ship's Twitter admins said: ‘We were proud to host the most senior @USMC Marine onboard this week, @CMC_MarineCorps.
‘Gen Berger and his staff watched their F-35s fly from our decks – a fantastic display of our interoperability and precursor to our first operational deployment in 2021. #WESTLANT19 #teamwork.’
The moment was hailed a vital step closer to Britain's naval ambition of being able to deploy to war zones across the globe.
HMS Prince of Wales, which is due to arrive in Portsmouth in December, will also be a part of that plan.
The 65,000-tonne warship has been undergoing sea trials and reached a top speed of 25 knots in October.
Bosses at Portsmouth Naval Base are awaiting her arrival after jetty upgrades at the site mean she and her sister ship can now berth side-by-side.
The completion of Victory Jetty means both ships now have their own second layer of jetty security, off-grid power sources and new walkways.