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Royal Navy and US task groups gather in impressive show of naval power

Fifteen allied ships from five NATO nations gathered in the North Atlantic in one of the most impressive showings of naval strength in recent memory.

Two Royal Navy task groups, the Carrier Strike Group and the Littoral Response Group (North) sailed in tandem with the US Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group off the Scottish coastline.

The impressive line-up included HMS Queen Elizabeth, USS Iwo Jima, USS San Antonio, RFA Tidespring, HMS Albion, USS Arleigh Burke, USS Ross, USS The Sullivans (DDG-68), HMS Defender, HMS Diamond, FS Normandie , HDMS Esbern Snare, HMoMS Fridtjof Nansen, HMS Lancaster and 
RFA Mounts Bay.

Aboard the ships of the multinational task groups are more than 7,000 personnel from five NATO countries – UK, USA, Norway, France and Denmark.

For the Royal Navy, it is a significant moment as the Carrier Strike Group – centred on aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth – prepares to head off on its global deployment, while the Littoral Response Group (North), with HMS Albion at its heart, heads for missions in Northern European waters. 

Captain Angus Essenhigh, Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth, said:  “The fact that the Royal Navy is able to deploy a Littoral Response Group and a Carrier Strike Group simultaneously is also significant. 

“Very few other navies can do this, and it underscores the United Kingdom’s substantial and enduring commitment to the security of Europe and the North Atlantic”.

Captain Simon Kelly, Commanding Officer of HMS Albion, added: “The Royal Navy continues to demonstrate its reach and versatility with both the Carrier Strike Group and Littoral Response Group (North) deployed. 

“Additionally, our strength alongside our NATO allies was demonstrated by coordinating 15 ships in close proximity off the Scottish coast. This marks the beginning of an active year for the 21st-Century Royal Navy.”

Albion, Mounts Bay and HMS Lancaster form the Littoral Response Group (North) alongside 3 Commando Brigade and have been working with the US Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, which includes the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), in Norway on a week-long amphibious exercise. 

The UK's Carrier Strike Group, spearheaded by aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, departed on its maiden deployment at the beginning of May and is working closely with NATO allies. 

“HMS Queen Elizabeth and the USS Iwo Jima represent a substantial concentration of maritime-based air power. With the involvement of warships from four NATO members, including HMS Albion, our rendezvous in the North Sea demonstrates the collective strength of the Alliance,” Captain Essenhigh added.

The UK Carrier Strike Group is due to depart on its global deployment to the Indo-Pacific region in a few days’ time, while the Littoral Response Task Group moves into Northern Europe and the Baltic for further operations with NATO and regional partners.

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