Navy Legends USS Iwo Jima and HMS Queen Elisabeth Meet During NATO Exercises

USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) is accompanied by a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter and an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter 4 photos
Photo: Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Larry Darnell Lockett Jr.
Ships participating in the North Atlantic Ocean exercisesHMS Queen Elisabeth in PortsmouthUSS Iwo Jima with A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter and an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter
The North Atlantic Ocean is where not just one but two complex military exercises have unfolded over the past weeks, culminating with their convergence. Some of the most powerful U.S Navy ships came face to face with equally impressive Royal Navy ships.
Over the course of these past weeks, NATO demonstrated that it could successfully coordinate two major, separate operations at the same time. Royal Navy’s Strike Warrior exercise and U.S. exercise Ragnar Viking involved a total of 15 ships from four NATO states. According to a U.S. Navy statement, around 9,000 military members from the participating countries came together in the final stage of the operations on May 17, which demonstrates the coordination abilities of NATO Allies.

USS Iwo Jima and HMS Queen Elisabeth took center stage, as they were the leading ships for each exercise, respectively. The first one, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, is the flagship of the U.S. IWO Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) participating in Ragnar Viking, while aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elisabeth is, according to the Royal Navy, the largest of its vessels and the most powerful one.

Ragnar Viking is a U.S.-led multilateral operational exercise unfolding in the Norwegian, North, and Baltic Seas. Some of this year’s operations included long-range strike demonstrations, amphibious landings, and anti-submarine warfare. The main U.S. participants were the IWO Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), together with other U.S. Navy ships and Air Force aircraft. HMS Lancaster and HMS Albion represented the Royal Navy, and other participants included ships from the Norwegian Navy and the French one.

Royal Navy’s Strike Warrior brought together over 84 aircraft, 20 ships and three submarines from multiple nations. The UK Carrier Strike Group, centered around HMS Queen Elisabeth, participated in its final test and was certified as ready for deployment during this year’s Strike Warrior exercise.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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