US F-35s to embark on maiden deployment of British Queen Elizabeth carrier

U.S. Marines’ F35B short take-off vertical landing jets will join the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth on board when she sets sail for her maiden deployment which is planned for 2021.

This was confirmed by the UK MoD Secretary Michael Fallon following a meeting between him and the U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in London.

“I can welcome the commitment of the United States to deploying F-35s on the first operational deployment of Queen Elizabeth — the HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2021,” Fallon said at a press conference after the meeting.

Praising the defense forces interoperability between the two nations, Fallon added that he expects, “in the fullness of time”, British F-35s to be welcome on the American carriers.

Another field in which the two countries are deepening their military cooperation is cyber warfare. Carter said that they concluded a “first of a kind” memorandum of understanding to share more information and carry out vital research and development together to advance the two countries’ offensive and defensive cyber capabilities.

Carter further stressed the fact the Brexit would not change the relationship between the two countries when it comes to military, political or economic cooperation.

“The United States respects the decision of the British people on Brexit. And we’re committed to continuing and building upon our broad-ranging military, political and economic cooperation. That’s because Brexit does not change at all all that our countries have to do together,” Carter said.

The U.S. Defense Secretary also praised Britain for its efforts in strengthening the deterrence against Russia, and for keeping its pledge to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense.