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HMS Queen Elizabeth trains with two US Navy task groups

HMS Queen Elizabeth meets up with the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group and USS Iwo Jima amphibious ready group for training in the Gulf of Aden. Picture: Seaman Gray Gibson/US Navy
13 July 2021
Britain’s flagship joined forces with two US Navy task groups for training and a demonstration of combined naval power in the Middle East.

HMS Queen Elizabeth – leading the Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group on a global mission – linked up with the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group and USS Iwo Jima amphibious ready group in the Gulf of Aden.

The two-day exercise saw the three navy task groups, comprising US, UK and Dutch ships, test their abilities in anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare tactics and techniques.

Each ship in the task groups has a specific role to help fight against a range of threats from above, on and below the waves from the F-35 Lightning stealth jets embarked on HMS Queen Elizabeth to the advanced radar on the navy’s Type 45 destroyers.

The crews practised manoeuvring in close formation, hunting simulated enemy submarines and defending against simulated adversaries in the air.

Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group, said: “The aircraft carrier is the ultimate expression of global maritime power. HMS Queen Elizabeth, USS Ronald Reagan and USS Iwo Jima symbolise the might of the US and UK partnership, and the ease with which our naval and air forces can combine here in the Gulf of Aden, or anywhere else in the world.

“Last month, the UK Carrier Strike Group exercised with NATO forces in Europe; this month we will be working with the United States and other coalition partners in the Middle East; and soon we will join a host of nations in the Indo-Pacific.

“Day-by-day, week-by-week CSG21 is demonstrating the breadth of the United Kingdom’s partnerships, and the strength of our commitment to freedom and security at sea.”

The aircraft carrier is the ultimate expression of global maritime power.

Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group

Rear Admiral Will Pennington, Commander of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and Task Force 50, added: “Our team was proud to operate alongside the UK Carrier Strike Group during this unique opportunity to hone the full scope of our mutual capabilities.

"By operating together at sea, we deepen our coalition partnerships and extend our global reach throughout the region's critical waterways."

The recent exercises marked the second time this year the Iwo Jima amphibious ready group has operated alongside the UK Carrier Strike Group, following an exercise off the coast of Scotland in May.

Captain Darren Nelson, Commodore Amphibious Squadron Four, said: “The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group remains in a high state of readiness to support our partners and allies as an effective amphibious force.

“Operating with the Ronald Reagan and UK carrier strike groups allows us to better address common threats to regional security.”

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