The Royal Navy’s Flagship, one of the world’s most advanced warships, has been operating off the North East coast.
HMS Queen Elizabeth, one of the UK’s two aircraft carriers, is leading a powerful Carrier Strike Group of warships, helicopters and F35B stealth jets as part of Operation Achillean.
Last week the ships were off the North East and Yorkshire coast for several days, with the carrier sailing just off the Hartlepool and Saltburn coastline.
F35-B jets of 617 Squadron continue Carrier Qualifications on board HMS Queen Elizabeth
During the deployment, F-35B Lightning jets, the world’s most advanced stealth fighter-bombers, carried out flying operations. Its helicopters from 820, 845, 815 and 825 Naval Air Squadrons undertook sorties from its bustling flight deck. Its large grey Merlin helicopters were seen flying at many locations over the region and even called for a fuel top-up at Teesside Airport and RAF Leeming.
A Merlin Helicopter from HMS Queen Elizabeth flying over North Yorkshire Picture: PHILIP SEDGWICK
At the weekend the carrier upped anchor and headed for Norway where it visited Oslo last Monday. During the planned deployment, the Carrier Strike Group will work closely with NATO and Joint Expeditionary Force allies as the UK underscores its commitment to safeguarding European security.
At 65,000 tons, HMS Queen Elizabeth can accommodate up to 1,600 crew. It is 280 metres in length and 70 metres, wide making its flight deck equal to three football pitches. It carries 45 days’ worth of food and can serve a meal to its normal operating crew of 679 in 90 minutes or 45 minutes during action stations.
Vice Admiral Keith Blount, Commander of NATO’s Allied Maritime Command, said: “NATO routinely demonstrates its cohesion, coordinating with multiple international maritime assets at once.”