The Netherlands became the first UK ally to announce it would send a warship to join the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth on her first operational deployment in 2021.
The announcement was made on October 24 during the visit of the King and Queen of the Netherlands to Downing Street.
The exact type of ship to join was not specified but the Royal Navy said the Dutch Navy ship would be part of the carrier strike group.
“The Netherlands is one of our closest allies, as our recent work tackling cyber security threats demonstrates,” UK prime minister Theresa May said. “As I welcome King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima today, I’m pleased to announce that the Dutch navy will be among the first nations to join the carrier strike group as a sign of our ongoing cooperation.”
During the royal visit, the Dutch King and Queen also witnessed a display of Dutch-UK naval capability from Royal Marines of both countries on the HMS Belfast and the HNLMS Zeeland.
The combined UK/NL Amphibious force exemplifies the close bond between our two countries’ navies and marine corps. As part of the #NetherlandsStateVisit we’ve been showcasing the impressive shared skills of @RoyalMarines and @kon_marine on the Thames. BZ to all involved. pic.twitter.com/GOw21YkbBy
— First Sea Lord (@AdmPhilipJones) October 24, 2018
HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently sailing off the US east coast conducting developmental flight trials for the F-35B Lightning II.
With the first phase of tests completed, the carrier is bound to start the second phase which will concentrate on external stores testing, minimum performance short-takeoffs and SRVLs, and night operations.
A third developmental test for First of Class Flight Trials (Fixed Wing), followed by operational testing, is scheduled for 2019. Together, the tests will help the UK defense ministry reach F-35B initial operational capability in 2020.