As part of its maiden voyage, the UK’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is in the eastern Mediterranean, where it will join the US-led coalition in the fight against ISIS in Iraq. A UK naval commander said the carrier will be conducting the “lion’s share” of operations against ISIS in Iraq for the next few weeks.
“At the moment, we’re taking on the lion’s share of that operation over Iraq, which is a fantastic, say, feather in our cap. But an achievement that ‘A,’ we’re trusted and ‘B,’ that we’re able to do that,” Commodore Stephen Moorhouse, the commander of the Queen Elizabeth’s strike group, said on Sunday.
UK military officials told USNI that US and UK F-35bs have already conducted anti-ISIS airstrikes from aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth this week. The strikes mark the first time a British aircraft carrier sent planes into combat in over two decades.
A US Navy destroyer has also joined the British carrier’s strike group, which is the largest UK Navy flotilla that has been deployed since the 1982 Falklands War.
The HMS Queen Elizabeth will be in the Mediterranean for about two to three weeks. After that, it will head through the Suez Canal towards Asia, where it is expected to sail through the South China Sea to stoke tensions with China. In Asia, the ship will visit India, Japan, and South Korea.