CSG21 works with US Strike Group for first time in joint F-35 exercise

Fighter jets from both groups tested joint integration techniques, tactics, and procedures including mid-air refuelling.

The UK Carrier Strike Group (CSG21) has worked with the American Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group in a joint operability flight exercise – the first time the two have operated together.

It was the first training opportunity CSG21 had to engage with the F-35C model fighter jets, with the group's own F-35B Squadrons demonstrating their ability to work with other forces.

During the exercise, the aircraft involved took part in missions to test joint integration techniques, tactics, and procedures including mid-air refuelling.

Colonel Simon Doran, the US Senior National Representative to the UK Carrier Strike Group, said: "Integrating United Kingdom and US Marine Corps F-35Bs into a flight with US Navy F-35Cs continues to reinforce the tactical flexibility and interoperability of the F-35.

"Additionally, the mission further demonstrates the F-35s ability to support distributed maritime operations."

The flagship of CSG21, aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, will visit Japan this weekend in a "demonstration" of the "UK's commitment to maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region", according to the British Embassy in Tokyo.

In August, the Strike Group took part in multinational joint exercises with global allies, including the Japanese Self Defence Forces and will continue to work with the force in the coming weeks in a number of exercises.

Watch: Timelapse as HMS Queen Elizabeth receives live munitions replenishment.

Cover image: HMS Queen Elizabeth before leaving on her maiden deployment with Carrier Strike Group 21 (Picture: MOD).