World news – British Royal Navy declares IOC for Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group ahead of spring deployment – USNI News

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The HMS Queen Elizabeth R08 arrives in Portsmouth on July 2nd, 2020 after a period at sea and conducts operational sea training. UK Royal Navy Photo

The British Royal Navy’s first carrier strike group in 38 years has reached Initial Operating Capability (IOC) ahead of its first operational deployment later this year, the UK government announced today.

The IOC declaration means that all elements of the CSG – from the aircraft carrier itself to the air wing to the surface fighters and all their systems that are used in the air, surface and underwater – have been brought together and operated successfully.

« Both the air and naval elements of the CSG have reached this milestone. This includes qualified pilots and ground teams detained for short-term carrier-based operations and trained in weapon handling and equipment maintenance, » reads the Press release.
« Another success indicator at this stage is the ability to deploy anti-submarine capabilities such as frigates and destroyers, as well as fixed and rotary wing aircraft including Merlin helicopters, for use alongside the carrier. »

The strike group to which a squadron of U.S. Marines with F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, has already gone to sea to train and participate in NATO’s joint warrior exercises in October. During these training events, the Royal Navy operated along with 13 allies – Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States – and was also the most Aircraft has been known on a Royal Navy carrier since 1983 and most F-35B jets at sea in program history. « This is an extremely important milestone for HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy and the whole country, » said Secretary of Defense Jeremy Quin in the press release.
“This achievement is a testament to the determination of our service personnel and industry to produce this world-class military capability that only a handful of nations possess. I wish the entire Carrier Strike Group every success before their first operational deployment this year. “

Starting this spring, the Queen Elizabeth CSG will start a worldwide operation, which is expected to cover Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific. The Royal Navy expects the porters strike group to be fully operational by December 2023.

Megan Eckstein is the assistant editor for USNI News. She previously served as Associate Editor for Inside the Navy for Congress for Defense Daily and the US Surface Navy and US Amphibious Operations.

Ref: https://news.usni.org

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