10 F-35Bs fly to Britain for exercise with HMS Queen Elizabeth

A U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II assigned to the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, flies over Afghanistan, Sept. 27, 2018. Photo by Corey Hook/U.S. Air Force

Sept. 11 (UPI) — Britain’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has departed Portsmouth, England for a short cruise in anticipation of training drills with 10 F-35Bs from the United States.

According to the Royal Navy, the fighter jets arrived at RAF Marham in Norfolk Thursday after being deployed from the U.S. Marine Corps base in Yuma, Ariz.

Their flight included one step at Beaufort, S.C.

“Flying that far required an immense amount of skill from the maintainers who prepared the aircraft and the pilots who conducted mission planning, aerial refueling and vertical landings after a nine-hour flight. Realistic training is essential to maintaining our combat readiness,” Bodner said.

The F-35Bs will participate in the Group Exercise for several weeks beginning later this month.

“GroupEx will establish selective interoperability to address gaps and mitigate risks within the U.S. and U.K.’s respective individual forces,” 1st Lt. Zachary Bodner, a spokesman for VMFA-211, told USNI News.


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