Royal Navy carries out simultaneous jet operations on HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales while thousands of miles apart and make history

TWO Royal Navy aircraft carriers have made history as they conducted a simultaneous operation from opposite sides of the world.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 1:15 pm

Despite being separated by 7,000 miles, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth have both been launching and recovering F-35B Lightning jets on round-the-clock sorties.

Never before have the two 65,000-tonne carriers launched the fighters from their flight decks at the same time.

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HMS Prince of Wales is at sea with embarked F35 Lightning jets from 207 Squadron. Picture: LPhot Ben Corbett

HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently in the Pacific, while HMS Prince of Wales is in the North Sea.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, first sea lord, said: ‘This is an extraordinary achievement for the Royal Navy and represents the true global reach we have in this current era.

‘It demonstrates the enduring strength of our alliances and partnerships and is the result of decades of work and dedication to achieve this feat with the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers.’

HMS Prince of Wales is exercising with the RAF’s 207 Squadron in waters close to the UK, while HMS Queen Elizabeth carries out flying operations over the Pacific with her jets from 617 Squadron and VMFA-211 of the US Marine Corps.

One of two newly qualified F35B Lightning Jet pilots takes off from HMS Queen Elizabeth. Picture: LPhot Unaisi Luke

Captain Steve Higham, commanding officer of Prince of Wales, said: ‘It’s brilliant to see F35s operating from our flight deck and to have our friends and colleagues from the RAF and the Army on board with us.

‘UK Carrier Strike is, at its heart, an inherently joint venture and one that is going fantastically well.

‘We already see 207 Squadron as part of the HMS Prince of Wales team and they have brought alive our latest training package by simultaneously conducting F-35 pilot qualifications.

‘HMS Prince of Wales is rapidly moving through the gears as the UK’s contingent strike carrier ahead of operations as the NATO command ship in 2022.’

Three UK F-35Bs from 207 Squadron are currently on board HMS Prince of Wales as she goes through the final stages of becoming fully operational.

Wing Commander Scott Williams, in command of 207 Squadron, added: ‘This embarkation marks the start of 207 Squadron’s affiliation with the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers for decades to come.

‘Developing our relationship with the ship’s company, who have been very welcoming, has enabled us to re-qualify our pilots in operations at sea ensuring that they can continue to train the next generation and grow the UK’s maritime strike capability.’

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