F-35B Lightning jets from the Royal Air Force and United States Marine Corps (USMC) have left RAF Marham to join the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, to take part in Exercise Joint Warrior off the west coast of Scotland.
An F-35B Lightning from RAF Marham.
The jets from 617 Squadron and USMC’s VMFA 211 Squadron have previously been carrying out training from RAF Marham. This exercise will see the jets embark onboard the aircraft carrier for the next stage of the Carrier Strike Group’s training programme prior to the carrier’s first operational deployment next year.
This exercise follows on from the recent Exercise Point Blank, which the jets took part in and marks a step up in complexity as the pilots and ground crew exercise from HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Commander Mark Sparrow RN, Officer Commanding 617 Squadron, said: “We are looking forward to joining HMS Queen Elizabeth for the next stage of our training and work up ready for our deployment next year.
“This follows the excellent work that both 617 and our colleagues from VMFA-211 Squadron have been doing over the last few weeks along with the invaluable support from 207 Squadron and wider station at RAF Marham to prepare us for this deployment.
“This exercise will see the personnel from the two squadrons integrate with the ship’s company and is the next important step to creating a fully integrated Carrier Strike Group ready to deploy next year operationally for the first-time onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth.”
Exercise Joint Warrior is a biannual exercise that is run off the west coast of Scotland and is used by NATO, partner nations and all three services as an opportunity to conduct large scale interoperability training.
This will be the first such exercise for HMS Queen Elizabeth.