The Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group returned home on December 4 after three months in the USA.
Following HMS Dragon’s return to Portsmouth earlier this week, the aircraft carrier made her way into Portsmouth – where she was greeted by sister ship HMS Prince of Wales.
At the same time two of her escorts, HMS Northumberland and RFA Tideforce, returned to warm welcomes in Devonport. The ships’ flights made their way to their respective homes at RNAS Culdrose and Yeovilton.
The carrier strike group sailed from the UK in August to conduct operational tests with UK F-35 jets from the UK Lightning Force for the first time.
“Embarking UK F-35 Lightning jets for the first time and integrating them within the carrier strike group is a significant milestone and we are well set for an equally demanding 2020 and our first operational deployment in 2021,” the Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth, Captain Steve Moorhouse said.
Supporting the strike group units throughout were Merlin helicopters from 820 Naval Air Squadron based out of RNAS Culdrose, providing anti-submarine protection and search-and-rescue (SAR) capability.