US Navy USS Essex Conducts Flight Operations with Royal Navy HMS Queen Elizabeth
US Navy USS Essex Conducts Flight Operations with Royal Navy HMS Queen Elizabeth

US Navy USS Essex Conducts Flight Operations with Royal Navy HMS Queen Elizabeth

The amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) conducted bilateral interoperability training with the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R 08) and embarked Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 in the Gulf of Oman, Nov. 8. VMFA-211 cross-decked F-35B Lightning II’s from HMS Queen Elizabeth to Essex displaying the strategic advantage of the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group as well as the integration of the F-35Bs. VMFA-211’s F-35B Standard Take-off and Vertical Landing (SVOTL) capabilities make them uniquely qualified to support distributed maritime operations. In addition to the F-35Bs, the Royal Navy cross-decked Merlin MK4’s, attached to 845 Naval Air Squadron (NAS), accomplishing routine deck landings aboard Essex.

US Navy USS Essex Conducts Flight Operations with Royal Navy HMS Queen Elizabeth
U.S. Marines flying an MV-22B Osprey attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 165 (Reinforced), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, flies past HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Arabian Sea on November 8, 2021. Simultaneously, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 cross-decked F-35B Lightning II’s to the USS Essex (LHD 2). (Photo by 1st Lt. Zachary Bodner/3rd Marine Aircraft Wing)

Commodore Steve Moorhouse, commander of the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group, stated, “The force development work we have been undertaking with the U.S. Navy has been ground breaking. We are all comfortable with helicopters lilly-padding from one deck to another but doing it with fixed wing aircraft is a whole new game.”

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“We are privileged to have had this opportunity to train alongside a longstanding NATO ally in the Middle East. Our integrated aircraft training with HMS Queen Elizabeth has helped demonstrate our efficacy in the region and our commitment to maritime security and stability world-wide,” said Captain DeWayne Sanders, commodore of Amphibious Squadron One (CPR 1).

US Navy USS Essex Conducts Flight Operations with Royal Navy HMS Queen Elizabeth
U.S. Marines flying an AH-1Z Viper attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 165 (Reinforced), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit conduct carrier deck landings on HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Arabian Sea on November 8, 2021. (Photo by 1st Lt. Zachary Bodner/3rd Marine Aircraft Wing)

UH-1Y Venoms and MV-22B Ospreys, attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 165 (Reinforced), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conducted cross-deck landings on HMS Queen Elizabeth. Essex and the 11th MEU are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region. The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three chokepoints, critical to the free flow of global commerce.

US Navy USS Essex Conducts Flight Operations with Royal Navy HMS Queen Elizabeth
F-35B Lightning II attached to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211, deployed with the British Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) during an interoperability exercise with Queen Elizabeth, Nov. 8. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Wesley Richardson)
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