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UK, US F-35Bs joining Royal Navy carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth for Joint Warrior drill

US Marine Corps F-35B in the UK
Royal Air Force photo of a US Marine Corps F-35B taking off from RAF Marham

F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) fighter jets from the Royal Air Force and United States Marine Corps (USMC) have left RAF Marham to join the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth for exercise Joint Warrior off the west coast of Scotland.

The jets from 617 Squadron and USMC’s VMFA 211 Squadron have previously been carrying out training from RAF Marham. This exercise will see the jets embark onboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier for the next stage of the Carrier Strike Group’s training program prior to the ship’s first operational deployment next year.

This exercise follows on from the recent exercise Point Blank, which the jets took part in and marks a step up in complexity as the pilots and ground crew exercise from HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Exercise Joint Warrior is a biannual exercise that is run off the west coast of Scotland and is used by NATO, partner nations and all three services as an opportunity to conduct large scale inter-operability training. This will be the first such exercise for HMS Queen Elizabeth.

“We are looking forward to joining HMS Queen Elizabeth for the next stage of our training and work up ready for our deployment next year,” Royal Navy Commander Mark Sparrow, the commanding officer of 617 Squadron.

“This exercise will see the personnel from the two squadrons integrate with the ship’s company and is the next important step to creating a fully integrated Carrier Strike Group ready to deploy next year operationally for the first-time onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth.”