In Pictures: F-35's First Combat Sorties From HMS Queen Elizabeth

The combat missions are the first flown from a Queen Elizabeth-class carrier by an F-35 aircraft.

F-35B Lightning jets have conducted their first missions from the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth – the Royal Navy's flagship.

They are among the first operational sorties flown from a Queen Elizabeth-class carrier and come as the UK Carrier Strike Group joins the fight against the so-called Islamic State group (IS) as part of Operation Shader.

Before HMS Queen Elizabeth departed from Portsmouth Naval Base for her maiden operational deployment in May, the Queen visited the flagship.

As the largest British peacetime deployment in a generation, the Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG 21) deployment to the Indo-Pacific region will see it visit 40 countries with more than 70 engagements.

After leaving for her maiden deployment, HMS Queen Elizabeth took part in NATO's Exercise Steadfast Defender – the alliance's biggest exercise this year.

Cover image: MOD.