Navy

HMS Queen Elizabeth Departs Portsmouth For Exercise Joint Warrior

The Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier will join the exercise off the coast of Scotland.

HMS Queen Elizabeth has set sail from Portsmouth to continue her training.

The Royal Navy aircraft carrier will join Exercise Joint Warrior off the coast of Scotland, before continuing with further exercises.

The exercise is a chance to develop the crew's ability to work with personnel from other nations.

Queen Elizabeth will be with F-35B fighter jets from RAF Marham's 617 Squadron, plus American Lightning aircraft, which landed in the UK earlier this month.

It will be the largest group of aircraft on a Royal Navy aircraft carrier since HMS Hermes was in service.

Ten F-35Bs from the American Marine Fighter Attack (VMFA) Squadron 211 are training before joining the ship, alongside those from 617 Squadron. 

The British and American F-35s will conduct carrier qualification training from HMS Queen Elizabeth, to prepare pilots for day and night operations, as well as weapons training.

US F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jets arriving at RAF Marham at the start of September (Picture: Ministry of Defence).

Earlier this month, a "small amount" of personnel on board HMS Queen Elizabeth tested positive for coronavirus during a second round of tests on the ship.

Those told they had COVID-19 were taken off the ship, with a small group of people who had been in contact with them self-isolating on board.

The entire ship's company was retested following positive coronavirus cases found earlier this month while in Portsmouth.

The Queen Elizabeth-class carrier's departure from the city's naval base was delayed by several days following the diagnoses, with her eventually setting sail last Wednesday.

She then returned to Portsmouth at the weekend, as planned.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to be fully operational with strike carrier capability later this year and it is hoped she will be deployed for the first time in early 2021.