The UK Ministry of Defence confirmed that the UK Carrier Strike Group, including the HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth, would again deploy in 2022.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed via Twitter in early December that the British Carrier Strike Group (CSG) would again deploy for 2022, working alongside Britain’s NATO and international allies.
The CSG's visit to the Indo-Pacific in 2021 was a critical element in Britain's recent global posturing.
However, the Strike Group's recent deployment wasn't without controversy. In November, the MoD confirmed reports that a F-35B Lightning II crashed in the Mediterranean Sea during “routine flying operations” by aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.
A British F-35 pilot ejected from the aircraft after experiencing technical issues immediately after take-off. According to the MoD, the pilot was safely returned to the ship, with sources suggesting that a rain cover may have caused the crash.
Sources have also suggested that Australian forces are likely to undergo joint training with their British colleagues in the CSG in the upcoming deployment.
“The British government intends to deploy the new carriers to the Indo-Pacific region from 2022. It is highly likely therefore their aircraft will work with Australian Air Force F-35As and P-8 Poseidons," the Royal Australian Air Force's The Runway outlined.
The CSG returned home to the UK earlier in the month.
Throughout the deployment, the CSG trialled new methods and procedures of undertaking replenishments at sea including vertically airdropping supplies via unmanned aerial vehicles.
"During the recent Carrier Strike Group deployment supporting HMS Queen Elizabeth’s mission to the Pacific and back, supply ship RFA Fort Victoria shipped nearly 900 loads to the carrier and other ships in the task group, encompassing food and drink, general stores, spare parts, medical supplies, mail and parts for F-35 stealth fighters and Merlin and Wildcat helicopters – over 354 tonnes of supplies in all – while tanker RFA Tidespring carried out 67 ‘vertical replenishments’ as they are known," the UK's Royal Navy confirmed.
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"While some loads are too heavy for current small-scale drones to transport, seven out of ten resupply missions involve the transfer of loads up to 100lbs/45kg, so the head of the RFA, Commodore David Eagles, wants to see if the work is ‘dronable’."
[Related: British F-35B crashes in Mediterranean Sea]