The Carrier Strike Group (CSG21) spearheaded by the Royal Navy's Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier was the UK's largest fleet of Royal Navy warships to deploy internationally since the 1982 Falklands conflict. From May through to December 2021, the group travelled over 25,000 nautical miles and visited over 40 countries as a symbol of the UK's contribution to global defence, diplomacy and prosperity.
After taking part in NATO exercises off the coast of Scotland with her sister ship the HMS Prince of Wales, the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier joined the rest of the UK Royal Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG) – comprising 9 ships, 32 helicopters and jet aircraft and some 3,700 sailors, aviators and marines – to set sail from Portsmouth late on Saturday 24 May.
Leonardo was proud to support the CSG through its role as strategic partner to the UK MOD and one of the UK's leading equipment suppliers to the UK armed forces.
Leonardo’s AW159 Wildcat and AW101 Merlin Mk2 helicopters kept watch over the carrier group and the surrounding seas, ensuring the ships and their crews were well protected from enemy submarines, surface ships, aircraft and missiles. The AW101 Merlin Mk4s also provided Royal Marine Commandos on-board intra-theatre lift and amphibious air manoeuvre for littoral operations.
The Wildcat and Merlin are designed and built to operate in hostile and extreme conditions, providing class-leading defensive and offensive capability at sea, utilising state-of-the-art mission systems for long-range detection such as Leonardo’s radars and Electronic Warfare equipment.
The aircraft and equipment developed by Leonardo and which supported the CSG on its journey across the world, represents the best of UK engineering ingenuity and defence capability – capability that is helping secure the UK’s status as a science and technology superpower, and enabling our armed forces to take a leading role in global defence and security, tackling climate change and health risks, conflict resolution and poverty reduction.