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HMS Queen Elizabeth cross-decks with the Italian Navy

An Italian F-35B Lightning jet lands on HMS Queen Elizabeth
An Italian F-35B Lightning jet is launched from Queen Elizabeth. A US Marine Corps F-35 in the foreground – both ill. UK MOD Crown copyright 2021©

History was made on 22 November when HMS Queen Elizabeth exchanged F- 35B jets from the US Marine Corps VFMA-211 squadron with the Italian Navy and Italian Air Force.

The VFMA-211 US Marine Corps jets departed HMS Queen Elizabeth and landed on the Italian carrier Cavour. Two F35B Lightning jets from the Italian Navy and Italian Air Force landed, refuelled, and relaunched from Queen Elizabeth.

Italy is the third nation that has landed jets on the British carrier. On completion of the refuelling Queen Elizabeth launched an Italian Navy F-35, Italian Air Force F-35, US Marine Corps F-35 and finally an F-35B from 617 Squadron, Royal Air Force. The jets then operated in the skies above the two carriers developing their interoperability and mutual understanding of procedures.