Royal Navy flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth has been taking part in “cat and mouse” war games with its counterpart in the French navy.
The aircraft carrier met up with the FS Charles de Gaulle in the western Mediterranean as it continues its first operational deployment with the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) heading to the Indo-Pacific region.
The UK and US F35B Lightning stealth jets embarked aboard the Queen Elizabeth have been taking part in exercises with the French carrier and its Rafale aircraft.
A Royal Navy spokesman said: “The first phase of Exercise Gallic Strike saw Queen Elizabeth and Charles de Gaulle take part in a cat-and-mouse style war game, with both task groups testing the others’ abilities to protect and defend against threats.
“Next, it was the turn of the jets with UK F-35s of 617 Squadron RAF, the Dambusters, and US Marine Corps VMFA-211 conducting simulated strike missions with the French’s Rafale twin-jet combat aircraft.”
The Royal Navy’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, the US Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Michael Gilday and the French Navy’s Chef d’état-major, Admiral Pierre Vandier, also had the chance to visit both ships and discuss future partnerships.
Adm Radakin said: “Today’s trilateral meeting between the Marine Nationale, the United States Navy and Royal Navy; the three NATO nuclear nations, and three carrier navies in the alliance, highlights our shared commitment to NATO, and our bold steps towards ever greater interoperability and interchangeability.
“The Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group 21 deployment is a clear demonstration of this: a Royal Navy carrier, which will become the NATO carrier, supported by allied fighter jets, frigates and destroyers, working as one.”