HMS Queen Elizabeth: Royal Navy flagship under Nato command for first time as she leads UK Carrier Strike Group
and live on Freeview channel 276
HMS Queen Elizabeth is leading the UK Carrier Strike Group (UKCSG) and will operate across a vast area of multiple seas. The task force also comprises of Type 23 frigate HMS Kent, Type 45 destroyers HMS Diamond, various aircraft including F-35B Lightning jets, Wildcat and Merlin helicopters and other support ships.
Nato’s aim was to create a potent task group which is able to operate across a large area, from the length and breadth of the Mediterranean and north to the Baltic Sea. HMS Queen Elizabeth’s crew have a full week of tasks ahead of them.
Commodore James Blackmore, Commander of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group, said: “Deterrence and defence of the Euro Atlantic is at the heart of NATO, and our enhanced vigilance activity with Neptune Strike is a clear demonstration of that. This is the first time a UK Carrier Strike Group has been commanded by NATO in my memory, so this is momentous for the UK and the alliance.
“I look forward to a full week of activity ahead, and much more in the future; we are stronger together.” Three aircraft carriers have been under NATO’s command, with the UKCSG deployed primarily in the North Sea.
The Italian ITS Cavour and Spanish ESP Juan Carlos have been stationed to the Mediterranean, allowing Nato to protect a vast area of airspace, waterways and territory. Warships from 21 nations are deployed on the activity– codenamed Neptune Strike.
They are being commanded by Nato’s Naval and Striking Support Forces, a battle staff under the Supreme Allied Commander Europe – which is tasked with rapidly planning and executing operations wherever needed. When Royal Navy assets are under Nato’s command, they carry out tasks of vital importance to the alliance for a set period of time.
The ships are returned for further tasking once the operation is complete, or when the UK is in need of the military forces. After setting sail from Portsmouth on November 3, after an unexpected return home, HMS Queen Elizabeth carried out an intense exercise alongside the Norwegian submarine HNoMS Utstein.