By Deirdre Tynan • 22 June 2021 • 15:19
F35B Lightning Jet launch from HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Stealth jets from the renowned 617 Squadron RAF, also known as The Dambusters, carried out operational sorties for the first time from HMS Queen Elizabeth in support of Operation Shader and US Operation Inherent Resolve in the Middle East.
The UK’s Carrier Strike Group had spent previous weeks in the Mediterranean working with NATO allies and partners.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said, “The ability to operate from the sea with the most advanced fighter jets ever created is a significant moment in our history, offering reassurance to our allies and demonstrating the UK’s formidable air power to our adversaries.
“The Carrier Strike Group is a physical embodiment of Global Britain and a show of international military strength that will deter anyone who seeks to undermine global security,” he added.
Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group, said, “HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first missions against Daesh will be remembered as a significant moment in the 50-year lifespan of this ship.
“It also marks a new phase of our current deployment. To date we have delivered diplomatic influence on behalf of the UK through a series of exercises and engagements with our partners, now we are ready to deliver the hard punch of maritime-based air power against a shared enemy.
“The involvement of HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Air Wing in this campaign also sends a wider message. It demonstrates the speed and agility with which a UK-led Carrier Strike Group can inject fifth generation combat power into any operation, anywhere in the world, thereby offering the British Government, and our allies, true military and political choice,” he added.
The mission is the largest concentration of maritime and air power to leave the UK in a generation and this is its first operational deployment, which is joint between the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.
It is also the first combat mission flown by US aircraft from a foreign carrier since HMS Victorious in the South Pacific in 1943.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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