A British F-35B escorts an Il-38. (Image credit: UK Carrier Strike Group)The F-35Bs launched from HMS Queen Elizabeth and escorted a Russian Il-38 flying close to the UK Carrier Strike Group.
A Russian Il-38 maritime patrol aircraft came within proximity of the UK Carrier Strike Group operating off the coast of northern Norway. F-35B Lightning jets were scrambled from the deck of the HMS Queen Elizabeth to join RoNAF (Royal Norwegian Air Force) F-35As and shadow the Russian Naval Aviation aircraft.
The UK CSG’s official X account shared a photo of an F-35B belonging to the 617 Sqn from RAF Marham escorting the Il-38 four-engined turboprop. Considering that the image was probably taken from the aircraft carrier, it’s safe to believe the Russian MPA flew quite close to the Royal Navy’s flagship.
HMSQE left Portsmouth on Sept. 8 and is currently operating in the Arctic region.
The UK aircraft carrier’s Air Group took part in Ex. Cobra Warrior 23-2, RAF’s largest exercise, that involved more than 50 aircraft from Canada, U.S., Italy, Norway, Australia and the UK working together to support a fictional country in conflict to regain sovereign territory. In particular, the F-35s were tasked with SEAD (suppression of enemy air defenses) missions.
The F-35s of several air forces carry out QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) tasks both at home and abroad, under NATO command, to support the alliance’s air policing missions. For instance, the Italian F-35As are currently…