Views from the Fleet Flagship

Posted on Thursday 13 May 2021

The UK’s Carrier Strike Group 2021, spearheaded by aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, has embarked on its maiden deployment. The group will visit India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore, becoming the largest concentration of maritime and airpower to leave the UK in a generation.

It will travel more than 26,000 nautical miles during the 28-week deployment, from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, from the Gulf of Aden to the Arabian Sea, and from the Indian Ocean to the Philippine Sea.

“One of the things which makes our carrier strike capability so special is our ability to operate anywhere in the world.”

Commander Steve Harman, HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Commander Logistics

ARNO Matters will feature regular and exclusive news updates, Views from the Fleet Flagship, from our Trustee onboard, Lieutenant Samuel Williams.

“For the first ARNO Matters Views from the Fleet Flagship we ask Common Fleet Time Young Officers SLt Coghlan and SLt Hammond, both ARNO members, what HMS Queen Elizabeth has been up to in her first fortnight at sea in her first operational deployment and what their period onboard has been like.

SLt Malachy Coghlan (left in photo) was awarded the ARNO President’s Prize at BRNC. SLt Coghlan and Hammond’s Common Fleet Time on HMS Queen Elizabeth marks their first time onboard one of Her Majesty’s Warships as Naval Officers.”

What are your roles onboard?

We are SLt Coghlan and SLt Hammond, two aspiring Warfare Officers onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, enjoying all of the delights that Common Fleet Time has to offer. Our day to day often consists of a variety of Young Officer designated jobs; ranging from submerged submarine lookout, to shifting lubricants and stores impressive distances. Important jobs aside, CFT has been more than charging luminescent floor lighting with a torch, it is a period of training that aims to develop and broaden YOs knowledge of the Navy outside of Dartmouth. Our time onboard thus far has been orientated around shadowing, supporting and working with the various departments that make up HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH. We have been documenting our time on board in our task books to prepare for our Fleet Boards with Heads of Department and The Commander. This is to facilitate a greater appreciation for all branches in the Royal Navy, so that in the future we can forge a mutual respect and understanding of their roles at sea.

What has the Ship been up to in the last fortnight?

The past few weeks onboard have seen the ship, along with American, Danish and Dutch warships, taking part in EX STRIKE WARRIOR off the Coast of Scotland. This exercise is the Carrier Strike Group’s chance to test and practice the capabilities which we will use throughout CSG 21 and our transit from UK waters to the Indo-Pacific Region.

[SLt Hammond] Without stating the obvious embarkation of the F35s, my key highlight was the opportunity to throw Ruth (Man Overboard Dummy) overboard. I was fortunate enough to observe first hand, the intense work rate of the Sea Specs closing up, readying the port sea boat and retrieving the ’man overboard’. Not to mention the prospect of belting out an LVA in the hangar.

[SLt Coghlan] My highlight onboard has certainly been having a bridge watch whilst the first F35s embarked 617 Squadron (Dambusters) and VMFA-211 USMC (Wake Island Avengers). Having previously only spent time on an OPV for my Initial Sea Time, this was a noticeable step change and was tremendously impressive to watch.

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