HMS Queen Elizabeth returned home to Portsmouth today after her maiden operational deployment to the Indo-Pacific and back.
News Release, Whitehall, 09 December 2021: Royal Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to Portsmouth today after her global seven month maiden operational deployment leading Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21). Sailors, aviators, ships and aircraft have returned to their home bases in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States of America.
HMS Queen Elizabeth’s crew are being welcomed back to their home base of Portsmouth after sailing 49,000 nautical miles to the Indo-Pacific and back. HMS Kent will join her tomorrow. 3,700 personnel from nine ships, a submarine, five air squadrons and a company of Royal Marines will arrive home in time for Christmas having departed the UK in early May.
Earlier this week, the Carrier Air Wing departed the group after clocking up 4,723 flying hours. The Air Wing consisted of UK F-35 jets from 617 (The Dambusters) Sqn based at RAF Marham, Wildcat helicopters from RNAS Yeovilton and Merlin helicopters from RNAS Culdrose.
US Marine Corps F-35 jets from VMFA-211 departed CSG21 in late November. United States’ Destroyer USS The Sullivans returned to her base port of Jacksonville, Florida in time for Thanksgiving last month and Dutch Frigate Evertsen recently returned to her home base of Den Helder.
Many families and friends greeted frigate HMS Richmond who arrived in Plymouth today, meanwhile HMS Defender and HMS Diamond returned to Portsmouth.
The Carrier Strike Group sailed across three oceans and five seas, cumulatively covering around 500,000 nautical miles. The group has engaged with 44 countries, strengthening partnerships with allies including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, Greece, Israel, India, Italy, Japan, Oman and the Republic of Korea.
The most significant peacetime deployment in a quarter of a century, Carrier Strike Group 21 has been more than just a military endeavour, bringing together elements of defence, diplomacy and prosperity and flying the flag for Global Britain.