Cross-decking: What is it and why is it done?

Cross-decking is when aircraft from a foreign military land on a ship often for the purpose of refuelling or sharing resources.

During Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21), cross-decking exercises have seen US and UK aircraft landing on the flight decks of each other's vessels.

In August 2021, for the first time in recent history, the US cross-decked jets for a mission using a foreign aircraft carrier.

F-35B fighter jets from the Royal Navy's HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is leading the CSG21 mission, landed on amphibious assault ship USS America to load ordnance and refuel.

The landings also allowed UK and US personnel to practise working together and improve their interoperability.

F-35Bs from the RAF's 617 Squadron and the US Marine Corps' VMFA-211 squadron have been embarked on the Royal Navy flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth throughout the duration of the CSG21 deployment.

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