Five Allied aircraft carriers – including Britain’s flagship – are currently operating in Atlantic and Mediterranean waters in a demonstration of NATO unity.
From the cold grey expanses of the North Atlantic and northern waters to the warmer confines of the Adriatic and azure Mediterranean, five of the most powerful warships in the alliance – plus their supporting carrier strike groups – are deployed, training or exercising as part of their regularly scheduled activities.
Although each nation’s forces are operating in support of their own mission objectives, the advanced cooperation is part of a demonstration of NATO unity and the collective defence of the Alliance.
The five carriers are
• HMS Queen Elizabeth – currently in the North Sea ahead of NATO/Joint Expeditionary Force exercises/training in northern European waters
• USS George H W Bush – on operations in the Adriatic
• USS Gerald R Ford – at anchor in Stokes Bay, Gosport, on a short visit to Portsmouth
• France’s FS Charles de Gaulle and Italy’s ITS Cavour – both in the Mediterranean
In addition, it’s continuing to operate its four core task groups – Standing Mine Countermeasures Groups 1 and 2, Standing Maritime Groups 1 and 2 – with the latter recently working with HMS Albion’s Littoral Response Group (North) in the Adriatic.
HMS Queen Elizabeth left Portsmouth last week and at present is off the east coast of the UK conducting fast jet training by day and night with her F-35 stealth fighters from RAF 617 Squadron ahead of working with our northern European allies as the UK underscores its commitment to safeguarding the continent’s security.
“NATO routinely demonstrates its cohesion, coordinating with multiple international maritime assets at once,” said Vice Admiral Keith Blount, Commander of NATO’s Allied Maritime Command.
“This opportunity demonstrates our ironclad commitment to the stability and security of the Euro-Atlantic Area and the strength of our collective capability.
“Five carriers within our operating area presents a further opportunity to consolidate our approach to air defence, cross-domain cooperation, and maritime-land integration.”