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Home > UK Operations > F-35B Lightnings Aboard CSG21 To Deploy On Op SHADER

F-35B Lightnings Aboard CSG21 To Deploy On Op SHADER

The first of eight F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from No. 617 Squadron landed on Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth on Sunday 2 May 2021 ahead of Exercise STRIKE WARRIOR [Crown Copyright: LPhot Unaisi Luke]

F-35B Lightning jets are to join Operation SHADER, the fight against Da’esh, from the UK’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG21) when it next deploys.

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UK MoD Press Release, Whitehall, 03 May 2021: UK F-35B fighter jets operating from HMS Queen Elizabeth will join Operation SHADER in the fight against Da’esh.

F-35B Lightning fast jets will be the cutting edge of the Carrier Strike Group’s (CSG21) formidable power in the air. These are next generation multi-role combat aircraft equipped with advanced sensors, mission systems and stealth technology, enabling them to carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance tasks.

This will be first time UK fighter aircraft are embarked on an operational aircraft carrier deployment since 2010 and will be the largest number of F-35Bs ever to sail to seas. The renowned 617 Squadron RAF (‘The Dambusters’) will operate the jets to provide tangible and impactful support to counter-Da’esh operations in Iraq and Syria.

The first of eight F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from No. 617 Squadron landed on Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth on Sunday 2 May 2021 ahead of Exercise STRIKE WARRIOR
[Crown Copyright: LPhot Unaisi Luke]

Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey MP said:“The F-35B Lightning jets will pack a potent punch against Da’esh and help prevent them from regaining a foothold in Iraq.

“This is a prime example of the UK Armed Forces stepping forward with our allies to confront persistent threats around the world. It is Global Britain in action.”

CSG21, led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, is the largest concentration of maritime and air power to leave the UK in a generation and will set sail next month on its first operational deployment. This is a joint Royal Air Force and Royal Navy deployment which is committed to confronting persistent threats around the world and make a meaningful contribution to global security. The F-35B Lightning jets, which will operate from HMS Queen Elizabeth throughout the deployment, will make a significant contribution in degrading Da’esh.

Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key said: “This deployment represents the embodiment of the UK’s Joint Expeditionary Capability and utilising the F-35Bs in the fight against Da’esh will further demonstrate our commitment to securing their global defeat.”

The first of eight F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from No. 617 Squadron landed on Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth on Sunday 2 May 2021 ahead of Exercise STRIKE WARRIOR
[Crown Copyright: LPhot Unaisi Luke]

March 2021 saw the second anniversary of Da’esh’s final and total loss of territory in Syria. However, there remain significant numbers of Da’esh terrorists in Iraq and Syria. The UK remains committed to defeating Da’esh and enhancing security in the region, alongside the Iraqi Security Forces and our NATO allies.

Operation SHADER is the UK’s contribution to the Global Coalition against Da’esh.

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