HMS Queen Elizabeth begins training ahead of a global rollout.

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The British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth commanded a carrier strike group for a two-week exercise in preparation for a 28-week deployment.

The drill, dubbed Exercise Strike Warrior, will have over 20 warships, three submarines, and 150 aircraft. Eleven NATO and allied nations will be present, according to a statement issued by the Royal Navy on Saturday.

The aircraft carrier will participate in simulated combat with “warships from NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 1 in waters off north-west Scotland to prove it is capable of undertaking high intensity operations against the most demanding adversaries,” according to a Royal Navy release.

British assets involved will include the ships HMS Defender, HMS Diamond, HMS Kent and HMS Richmond, as well as a squadron of helicopters.

The exercise is the UK Carrier Strike Group’s final test before embarking on a global deployment to the Mediterranean Sea, India, and the Asia-Pacific area.

Several NATO countries’ warships will participate in the tour, including the United States, whose guided missile destroyer USS The Sullivans will be part of the carrier strike force.

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In January, the USS Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group achieved initial operational readiness, or formal qualification for participation in the Royal Navy.

Marine Corps F-35B fighter planes began performing takeoffs and landings on the aircraft carrier in October 2020.

 

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