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Britain’s flagship heads for the USA ahead of autumn on European operations

7 September 2022
Britain’s flagship leaves Portsmouth today bound for the United States – and ahead of an autumn on operations and exercises in European waters.

In the coming months, HMS Queen Elizabeth will be at the heart of a powerful task group made up of thousands of sailors, up to ten ships, F-35B Lightning jets, helicopter squadrons and Royal Marines Commandos which will operate across Europe this autumn.

But the aircraft carrier will first deploy to the east coast of the United States to undertake parts of HMS Prince of Wales’ deployment – as her sister ship undergoes repairs.

HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Commanding Officer, Captain Ian Feasey, said: “After a period of maintenance it is fantastic for the Fleet Flagship to be underway again to conduct operational activity with allies and partners.”

The Royal Navy task force will work closely with allies and partners across Europe – from the Baltic all the way south to the Balkans and Black Sea region – over the coming months.

The operations are part of galvanised NATO efforts in the face of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine to safeguard security, stability and prosperity across Europe.

HMS Queen Elizabeth will primarily be focused on operations in the Baltic and work closely with forces from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

Together, these nations form the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, which is designed to react to crises whenever and wherever they unfold.

Before the operational phase of the deployment, HMS Queen Elizabeth will be in New York to host the Atlantic Future Forum – a conference that brings together the brightest minds and most influential thinkers from defence and beyond to strengthen UK and US bonds.

Submarine hunting frigate HMS Richmond will accompany the aircraft carrier across the Atlantic.

AB Warfare Specialist Callum Rotherforth from HMS Richmond is on his first deployment. He said: “I’ve never been to the USA so I’m really looking forward to going to New York. I want a picture on top of the Empire State Building. It is so cool to be part of a task group sailing across the Atlantic.

“As a radar operator, I’m looking forward to working with our shipmates in HMS Queen Elizabeth.”

AB Sophie Profitt from HMS Queen Elizabeth is on her first deployment too.

She added: “I feel nervous but massively excited and grateful for the opportunity.

“I am looking forward to getting to know what it’s like on board at sea.”

At the same time, the Royal Navy’s Littoral Response Group is completing its final preparations before deploying to the Mediterranean to operate with NATO allies and partners in a region that is vital for European security.

The amphibious task group is made of more than a thousand sailors and Royal Marines and will be led by HMS Albion.

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