RAF F-35Bs work with Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2)

RAF Lockheed Martin F-35Bs from 617 Squadron operating from HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) have participated in a maritime partnership exercise with the US Navy (USN), Royal Australian Navy and Japan Maritime Self Defense force (JMSDF).

The partnership exercise focused on multiple objectives including naval cooperation, interoperability between multiple nations, and both regional security and stability in the Indo-Pacific. 

A Lockheed Martin F-35B takes off from HMS Queen Elizabeth during the mixed exercise. RAF photo

Joining the RAF F-35Bs were multiple aircraft from US Navy units assigned to Carrier Air Wing 2 (CVW-2), including: F-35C Lightning IIs from Strike Fighter Squadron 147 (VFA-147) 'Argonauts'; Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets from VFA-2 'Bounty Hunters'; VFA-113 'Stingers' and VFA-192 'Golden Dragons'; Boeing EA-18G Growlers from Electronic Attack Squadron 136 (VAQ-136) 'The Gauntlets' and Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes from Airborne Command & Control Squadron 113 (VAW-113) 'Black Eagles'.

The US Marine Corps (USMC) also participated in the event with F-35B Lightning IIs from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 (VMFA-211) 'Wake Island Avengers', which are embarked on HMS Queen Elizabeth alongside their British counterparts for the Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21) mission.

Carrier Air Wing Two and RAF F-35BS flyover the MSDF JS Kaga, the Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group leading vessel, HMS Queen Elizabeth and the USS Carl Vinson of the USN. US Navy Photo

In a display of power, during the exercise, the aircraft flew in formation over the JMSDF Izumo-class helicopter destroyer, JS Kaga, the Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group leading vessel, HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Nimitz class USS Carl Vinson of the USN.