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Royal Navy Carrier Strike Group put to the test

19 January 2017
Royal Navy warships have been learning how to work as part of a battlegroup with the nation’s new aircraft carriers.

The Commander UK Carrier Strike Group (COMUKCSG) battle staff has been conducting transatlantic exercises ahead of the arrival in Portsmouth later this year of HMS Queen Elizabeth.

RN personnel have been taking part in Fleet Synthetic Training exercises used to put US Navy carrier strike groups through their paces.

Working from the Maritime Composite Training System site at HMS Collingwood, US carrier strike groups, including the USS Harry S Truman, have worked with ops room personnel from HMS Dragon and HMS Richmond, both of which played the vital protection role for the carrier.

Regular and reserve personnel from across the Naval Service, as well as colleagues from the RAF and defence experts from the US have also been involved in the role-playing.

The latest exercise saw COMUKCSG tested in warfighting techniques involving HMS Queen Elizabeth and 36 F-35B strike fighter jets.

The exercise allowed me to experience at first hand how impressive carrier strike will be with all the cutting-edge technology in the ships and aircraft

Leading Writer Natalie Brady, of UK Carrier Strike Group

Leading Writer Natalie Brady, of CSG, said: “The exercise allowed me to experience at first hand how impressive carrier strike will be with all the cutting-edge technology in the ships and aircraft.”

Previous exercises have seen command and warfare teams from HMS St Albans, Richmond and Diamond take on the role of principal anti-submarine, anti-surface and air missile defence commanders working for CSG’s Information Warfare Commander Lieutenant Colonel Oli Coryton and Strike Warfare Commander Lieutenent Colonel Phil Kelly, both of whom were based in HMS Queen Elizabeth alongside Commodore Andrew Betton, Commander CSG.

The three vessels provided invaluable realism to the exercise, as Type 45 destroyers and Type 23 frigates will be escorts for both HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales when they deploy.

“Training in this way offers enormous benefit, not only in being more efficient and less expensive than live training, but also in allowing a highly-tailored training package, delivered in a short space of time, focussed on the specific training needs of the team,” said Commodore Betton.

The next major step for CSG will be Exercise Saxon Warrior this summer when Royal Navy battlestaff will embark in the USS George HW Bush for a multinational exercise around Britain.

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