The Future of the U.K. Carrier Strike Group

3 min Source: US Naval Institute

BLUF

The Royal Navy's new STOVL aircraft carriers will return a fixed wing strike capability to the Service and feature interoperability with allies and partners.

Summary

The CO of the new HMS Queen Elizabeth (QE), the largest ship in the navy's 1000 year history, outlines the Royal Navy's (RN) transformational and trans-organisational aircraft carrier capabilities. With an air wing comprising thirty-six F-35B STOVL (short take-off vertical landing) Joint Strike Fighters there are plans to also embark with US Marine Corps F-35Bs on the ship. Allied interoperability is increasingly important where big deck carriers and amphibious ships are hosting allied and partner forces on board. The Australian Navy's two Landing Helicopter Deck (LDH) vessels are Australia's amphibious adaptation. The British Government intends to deploy the new carriers to the Indo-Pacific region from 2022. It is highly likely therefore their aircraft will work with Australian Air Force F-35As and P-8 Poseidons. Although Australia's LHDs would need modifications to accept F-35Bs from allied forces, how would you see them operating with our Air Force's F-35As in combined regional military contingencies?