August 22, 2021 – United Kingdom (U.K.) Carrier Strike Group (CSG 21) and USS America Expeditionary Strike Group (AMA ESG) with embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, begin multinational advanced aviation operations in support of Large Scale Global Exercise (LSGE) 21, August 20.
“These events allow us to work with an unmatched network of partners and allies in a complex environment, supporting the common goal of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Chris Engdahl, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7. “Continued and combined operations in this region allow us to improve shared understanding, trust, and interoperability on challenges that have global impacts.”
LSGE 21 is global command and control exercise, with a regional focus, to enhance integration of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific. With many operations, activities, and investments nested under the LSGE 21 umbrella, these operations are part of the larger initiative.
While sailing together, the strike groups will conduct large-formation steaming maneuvers, anti-submarine and surface warfare exercises, and aviation integration events to enhance their capability and proficiency throughout all domains.
“The ability for the United States and the United Kingdom to be ‘interoperable’ and operate their fifth generation jets from the same deck at the same time is testament to the special relationship between our two countries,” said Commodore Steve Moorhouse, OBE, Commander of the U.K.’s Carrier Strike Group.
HMS Queen Elizabeth leads the U.K.’s Carrier Strike Group and is operating a mixed air group of F-35Bs, with a squadron of U.K. jets and a squadron from the U.S. Marine Corps. Additionally, USS The Sullivans from the U.S. Navy as well as several other Royal Navy ships comprise the U.K.’s Carrier Strike Group.
“The U.K. Carrier Strike Group offers the largest fifth generation air wing afloat today and working with our close allies to develop operating procedures and capabilities while concurrently showcasing the agility of land and carrier-based aviation in the Indo-Pacific demonstrates our commitment to the region,” added Moorhouse.
Integrating Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211’s F-35Bs into the carrier air wing provides the opportunity to share experiences, tactics, and procedures, highlighting common interests and strong bilateral relationship, between the U.S. and the U.K.
The Lightning (F-35B) is a next generation multi-role combat aircraft equipped with advanced sensors, mission systems and stealth technology employed from both the AMA ESG and the CSG 21.
Together, the forward-deployed ships of ESG 7 and elements of the 31st MEU are operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to enhance interoperability with allies and partners, and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.