The joint US-UK exercise Saxon Warrior, held in waters off Scotland, concluded on August 10 after ten days of drills.
Surface combatants from the UK, US and Norway joined the US Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush as the Royal Navy is preparing to revive its carrier strike capability.
At one point of the exercise, the international group was joined by the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth for a photo opportunity and a group sail, just days ahead of her commissioning in Portsmouth.
As the Royal Navy explained, the exercise in broad terms involved a notional conflict between neighboring countries, one of which is Pastonia, supported by a multinational naval force, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 315.01.
The CSG included Type 23 frigates HMS Westminster and Iron Duke, Norwegian frigate Helge Ingstad, United States ships USS Philippine Sea and Donald Cook, and the supercarrier George Bush (GHWB). Opposing this strike group was Task Force 606 of the Dragonian Navy composed of US destroyer USS Truxton and cruiser Leyte Gulf, led by the Norwegian frigate Otto Sverdrup.
There were also a large number of other elements to the exercise including supporting aircraft providing air raids, plus 29 Commando and Swedish tactical air controllers providing forward observation to ships and aircraft dropping ordnance onto Cape Wrath.
The air participants included Navy and RAF Hawk aircraft, RAF Typhoons, a large number of United States carrier borne aircraft which are mostly F18 Super Hornets, as well as British, American and German surveillance and refueling aircraft.
On-board GHWB were staff from the UK Carrier Strike Group brushing up their skills for the arrival of aircraft on-board our own supercarrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.
“Exercise Saxon Warrior is an incredibly important and exciting step in the regeneration of the UK’s Carrier Strike capability,” said JTEPS commander Captain Andrew Stacey RN.
“The generosity of the United States Navy in the provision of not only a Carrier Strike Group but also mentoring and exercise enablers has been crucial in ensuring that Royal Navy is on the right path to stand shoulder to shoulder with the USN with a shared Carrier Strike heritage.”