For the first time ever, the 65,000-tonne ship hosts the UK Carrier Strike Group battle staff as she takes center stage in Exercise Steadfast Defender 2024. The aircraft carrier, crewed by up to 1600 personnel, is leading a multinational group of warships heading towards northern Europe.

International by design, the group is comprised of its flagship and namesake, the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Somerset, RFA Tidesurge, RFA Tidespring, USS Paul Ignatius, HMCS Charlottetown, HDMS Niels Juel, HDMS Hvidbjornen and ESP Cristóbal Colon.

This transfer of authority to STRIKFORNATO | Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO demonstrates the Alliance’s ability to integrate the high-end capabilities of a British Carrier, its strike group escorts, and embarked air wing during a series of meticulously planned maritime security activities and training perfectly aligned with the Deterrence and Defence family of Allied collective plans.

Through harsh weather and freezing conditions, HMS Prince of Wales has officially commenced her participation in Steadfast Defender 2024. For this, she has embarked more jets than ever before, presenting an unparalleled display of air and firepower capability. This deployment epitomizes the capacity STRIKFORNATO holds to seamlessly integrate the most powerful maritime forces on the planet into NATO operations.

STRIKFORNATO’s command of the UK Carrier Strike Group operating during an exercise spanning air, land, and maritime activity from the United States to the Eastern European flank speaks to the organization´s steadfast commitment to regional security and readiness to defend tonight if needed.
Routinely transferring authority of deployed Carrier Strike Groups to NATO enhances interoperability and improves defensive Allied capabilities. This practice nurtures the vital skills of each crew and ship-board commander, facilitating smooth operations within the NATO structure. Every serial strengthens the transatlantic bond and the collective power of nations working in lock step with one another in mutual support.

STRIKFORNATO, headquartered in Oeiras, Portugal, is Supreme Allied Commander Europe’s premier, rapidly deployable and flexible, maritime power projection Headquarters, capable of planning and executing full spectrum joint maritime operations.

By Editor