VMFA-211 Leads First Bridge Aviation Mission in Modern Navy History> The Flagship of the United States Marine Corps> News View

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 conducted a one-of-a-kind operation that saw an F-35B aircraft launched from HMS Queen Elizabeth land on the amphibious assault ship USS America to load ammunition, refuel, and strike targets follow-up on August 20, 2021. The operation highlighted the interoperability of the F-35B and the strategic importance of the joint integration between the UK Carrier Strike Group and the US Navy Amphibious Ready Group / Marine Expeditionary Unit.

This mission was the first time in modern history that the United States had transverse aircraft for a mission using a foreign aircraft carrier, demonstrating naval partnerships in action.

“The evolution underscored our continued efforts to move from static and constructed aerodromes to distributed maritime operations.” Colonel Simon Doran, Senior National Representative of the United States to the UK CSG

“Doing so as part of the UK Carrier Strike Group 21 strengthens our alliances and partnerships through the development of interoperable capabilities, combined operations, theater security cooperation and capacity building efforts.” said Colonel Simon Doran, senior US national representative to the UK CSG.

The DMO calls on the US naval forces to operate in a less concentrated and more distributed fashion to complicate an adversary’s ability to find, track and target them while providing decisive combat power when needed. The multinational maritime aviation operation extends the range of the F-35, allowing the 5th generation aircraft to achieve objectives further, for extended periods and with increased ammunition capacity.

In planning guidelines communicated to the fleet, the Marine Corps commander emphasized that the Marine Corps is a naval expeditionary force capable of deterring malicious behavior and, if necessary, fighting inside sensors and the zone of engagement of the weapons of our adversaries to facilitate the refusal of the sea in support of the operations of the fleet and the horizontal escalation of the joint forces. The short take-off and vertical landing aircraft capabilities of the VMFA-211’s F-35B make them uniquely qualified to support distributed maritime operations and capable of operating from HMS Queen Elizabeth.

For U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Brian Kimmins, the executive officer of VMFA-211, this mission was not his first landing on the USS America.

“Having previously been deployed on amphibious assault ships while piloting the AV-8B Harrier, I looked forward to the opportunity to work with Marines and Sailors aboard the USS America from the cockpit of an F-35B, ”Kimmins said. “Being able to demonstrate the interoperable nature of the F-35B among partner nation ships highlights our flexibility and lethality as a combat organization.”

This phase of the deployment represents a crucial step in the development of UK Carrier Strike and our integration with partners in the INDO PACIFIC region. Said Royal Navy Captain James Blackmore, Air Wing Commander for the aircraft carrier. “Practicing with a range of allies, including the United States and Japan, provides an invaluable opportunity to gain additional experience operating the Lightning F-35B, Merlin and Wildcat helicopters from aircraft carriers. Queen Elizabeth Class alongside other nations, which will be critical to delivering Carrier Strike’s full operational capability by the end of 2023.

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 and USS The Sullivans, are humble and proud to continue the special relationship with the United Kingdom through the deployment of Carrier Strike Group 21. Their interoperability with the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and others International allies will preserve our collective military advantage and strengthen the rules-based international order. Forward-deployed US and UK forces stand ready to respond to global crises as a combined maritime force – “we stand together”.

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