US warplanes have flown their first combat missions off a foreign aircraft carrier since World War II, as Marine Corps fighter jets launched from the UK’s HMS Queen Elizabeth for operations against ISIS.
Ten F-35Bs from the Marines’ Fighter Attack Squadron 211 are aboard the Royal Navy’s new flagship, joining eight RAF F35B jets from the Royal Air Force’s 617 Squadron.
It is the most 35Bs ever deployed together on one ship, and air operations over the Middle East began on June 18.
US planes haven’t flown combat missions from a foreign warship since 1943, when they took off from Britain’s HMS Victorious in the South Pacific during World War II.
The combat missions against ISIS are part of the United States’ Operation Inherent Resolve, as well as the UK’s Operation Shader. Military officials did not specify the location or target of the combat strikes.
Britain’s Capt. James Blackmore, who commands the air wing aboard the Queen Elizabeth, celebrated the partnership between the US and UK.
‘The level of integration between Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and US Marine Corps is truly seamless, and testament to how close we’ve become,’ Blackmore stated.
Marine Corps Colonel Simon Doran, the US representative to the UK Carrier Strike Group said: ‘U.S. Marine Corps aircraft supporting Operation Inherent Resolve from a Royal Navy aircraft carrier demonstrates how effectively interoperable our combined naval forces are.’