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The British aircraft carrier left on August 30, its home port Portsmouth to again - as a year ago - in collaboration with the US Navy and the US Marine Corps to test the deck landing operations of the F-35B further or consolidate. This time, including our own, einzuschiffender after arrival at the US East Coast carrier aircraft.

During the three-month mission, which is called "Westlant 2019", the "QE", as the carrier is often called the Type 45 destroyer "HMS Dragon," the Type 23 frigate "HMS Northumberland" and the tanker " RFA Tideforce accompanied ". Seven British F-35B, flown by Royal NAVY and Royal Air Force pilots will be tracked for five weeks of joint exercises before ostamerikanischen coast.

The Jets and the staff are from the Royal Air Force Base Marham. flying on the (hunting knives) side are involved: the use Squadron 617 Squadron (Marham), retraining Association 207 Squadron (Marham) and the Royal Navy Royal Air Force joint test and Erprobungs Squadron 17 Squadron based Edwards Air Force Base, California, United States. It is expected that the British F-35B are in mid-October ready for use on site to, then from aboard the carrier, the exercises in the sea area between Norfolk (Virginia) and Mayport (in Jacksonville, Florida) to accommodate. The US Marine Corps complements the British jets with up to four additional F-35B to allow a slow cautious approach to the operation of a full-board based Fliegergruppe that the Royal Navy provides for 24 aircraft.

The association also feature with bleeding 9 rotorcraft of the types Merlin Mk2 and Mk4 (Agusta Westland AW 101, also known as EH 101;) and to Wildcat (Agusta Westland AW 139 / improved Sea Lynx). With the exception of the aging Pumas all British military helicopters are now certified to operate from aircraft carriers Queen Elizabeth class.

Furthermore, a contingent of Royal Marines 42 Commando, the Lima Company, specializing in combat search and rescue, embarked.

On the way to full readiness

Legten die ersten Starts und Landungen (damals noch von US Flugzeugen) im September 2018 (s. ESuT 2/2019, S. 69) den Grundstein für Flugdeckoperationen des britischen Trägers, werden nun die weiteren Schritte zur Herstellung seiner vollen Operationsfähigkeit unternommen. Trotz Rückschlägen (im Juni Wassereinbruch) und noch nicht abgeschlossener Komplettausrüstung (so sind zum Beispiel noch nicht alle Phalanx-Flugkörperabwehrsysteme eingerüstet), werden die Meilensteine zum Erreichen der vollen Einsatzfähigkeit angegangen bzw. abgearbeitet. Ein größerer liegt im Dezember 2020 bzw. im frühen 2021 mit der ‚Initial Operational Capability‘ (IOC) – hier gehen die Angaben ein wenig auseinander. Dem folgt der erste operative Einsatz im Jahr 2021 (CSG21), der nach jetzigem Kenntnisstand in den östlichen Mittelmeerraum, den Nahen Osten und den Pazifik gehen wird. CSG21 wird mit Abstand die größte und mächtigste Task Group sein, die die Royal Navy für einige Zeit zusammengestellt hat. Die „HMS Queen Elizabeth“ soll von zwei  Zerstörern Typ 45, zwei Fregatten Typ 23, einem Jagd-Uboot, einem Tanker der Tide-Klasse und der „RFA Fort Victoria“ begleitet. Die F-35B der 617-Staffel und eine USMC-Staffel sollen eingeschifft werden. Angesichts dieses Umfangs wirft man bereits heute Fragen nach der Verfügbarkeit von Einheiten auf – insbesondere unter dem Gesichtspunkt Landesverteidigung und des Aufrechterhaltens anderer Aufgaben im Vereinigten Königreich.

First CAP inserts

The systematic processing of the important training units expected "HMS Queen Elizabeth" during this mission not only to work with surface vessels of the US Navy and an American submarine hunting. Aircraft of the US Navy, US Marine Corps and the US Air Force will assist in the training of pilots and other flight ladder operators of the ship. Apart from qualifying Royal NAVY and Royal Air Force pilots for carrier operations tactics are tested and simulated missions with bombs and missiles. 617 Squadron will also exert Combat Air Patrol (CAP). An important event for the Royal Navy. Because since 2006, with the phasing out of the Sea Harrier, it no longer has this capability.

The full operational capability ( 'Full Operational Capability'- FOC) of the "QE" with British jets is provided for the 2023rd

Diplomacy on the water

Of course, the three-month mission also to show the largest warship Europe's partners serve. In addition to working visits to Norfolk and Mayport the stake will include an official visit to the Canadian port of Halifax. The Royal Canadian Navy is an important partner not only since the recent decision of the Type 26 frigate. In November, the "QE" Annapolis makes a waiting (headquarters of the US Naval Academy) to align another meeting of the Atlantic Future Forum. Similar to last year, when the ship visited New York. At this year's agenda is to learn that it is the changing nature of warfare and faced by both allies at home and abroad common threats go.

The "HMS Queen Elizabeth" is expected back in early December. Perhaps her break-falls parallel to be held in London on 3 and 4 December NATO anniversary summit. That they'll eventually ausfahrendes just his first voyages sister ship "HMS Prince of Wales" meets her in return, could also be part of the script.