United States Marine Corps fighter jets aboard a British aircraft carrier flew combat missions over the Middle East this week — the first time US warplanes have gone into combat from a foreign warship since World War II, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday.
The missions against ISIS also marked the first combat for Britain’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest ship the Royal Navy has ever put to sea, and the first combat action for a British aircraft carrier in a decade.
Capt. James Blackmore, commander of the air wing aboard the Queen Elizabeth, said the last time US planes flew combat missions from a foreign aircraft carrier was in 1943, when American planes deployed from Britain’s HMS Victorious in the South Pacific.
The US F-35B jets flying against ISIS were joined by similar British warplanes in support of the UK’s Operation Shader and US military’s Operation Inherent Resolve.
Crew members prepare an F-35B jet (right) for takeoff on the HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Mediterranean Sea on June 20, 2021.
A total of 18 US and UK F-35Bs are embarked aboard the 65,000-ton Queen Elizabeth, the largest number of the advanced warplanes ever deployed on one ship.