A ROYAL Navy destroyer based in Portsmouth has joined a strike group to help HMS Queen Elizabeth through her latest deployment.
HMS Dragon, best known for her seven months of record-breaking drugs busts in the Middle East earlier this year, defended American aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower from aerial threats as she warmed up for operational training with the UK’s Carrier Strike Group.
HMS Dragon protected the air, learning how air defence operations are conducted within a US task group, and reaffirming bonds with the US Navy.
Having taken on board further experience with USS Eisenhower, the crew have returned to HMS Queen Elizabeth’s side, to continue the Westlant 19 operation.
READ MORE: What is Westlant 19?
Commanding officer of HMS Dragon, Commander Giles Palin, said: ‘We’re really honoured to be the first Type 45 operating with Queen Elizabeth.
‘It’s a really key responsibility because we’ve got to learn how the two ships work together in a task group.
‘We’re making sure communication works between the two ships and, indeed, the war fighting tactics.
‘This will allow us to deliver operations effectively in the future.’
As part of the operation, the F-35B Lightning stealth jets will be put through their paces.
Units from the US Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps will also be involved in Westlant 19, before HMS Queen Elizabeth officially goes into service in 2020.