Pacific Crown Exercise Highlights Engagement of Largest F-35 Carrier

By Defense Info Media Team

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest F-35 carrier ever built.

It has been operating in the Pacific with allies and partners with the F-35 element being a large part of the combat integration being exercised.

A July 19, 2021 press release by the UK Ministry of Defence highlighted the coming of the new carrier to the Pacific.

On a visit to US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) in Hawaii, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace met with the Commander Admiral John C Aquilino and announced that the UK Carrier Strike Group will undertake a series of multinational exercises with global allies in the Philippine Sea this August.

Operating alongside Naval and Air Forces from the United States, Australia, France, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea, the UK Carrier Strike Group will undertake a number of integration exercises designed to build interoperability between like-minded international partners in this globally significant region of the world. The HMS Queen Elizabeth led Strike Group will operate with a US Carrier Strike Group, which combined, will be the largest concentration of F-35 jets anywhere in the world.

Complex exercises like these will enable 617 Squadron to develop F-35 Lightning interoperability with partner nations, building a core of valuable Royal Air Force and Royal Navy experience in operating this cutting-edge technology. These air exercises will build upon the capability development that 617 Squadron achieved through the combat missions mounted from the Carrier in the East Mediterranean, during a dedicated period in support of Operation Shader, the UK mission to defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

The Carrier Strike Group will also undertake Anti-Submarine exercises with US Pacific Fleet with allied submarines, helicopters and P8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

Overall these events represent a crucial milestone in the regeneration of the UK Carrier Strike capability that will contribute to collective defence and security for decades to come. Carrier Strike Group 21 embodies the Prime Minister’s vision for the UK as an outward facing, modern and responsible international actor who also takes its global defence and security responsibilities seriously and invests in them accordingly.

Part of that engagement has been with the Japanese and recently completed in an exercise called Pacific Crown.

As the Japanese Ministry of Defence highlighted in an August 27, 2021 press release:

The JMSDF conducted a multilateral exercise with the Royal Navy, U.S. Navy and Royal Netherlands Navy in order to strengthen cooperation to realize a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”


(1) To improve JMSDF’s tactical capabilities

(2) To strengthen cooperation between Japan and other participating navies

Period August 25 – 26 3.

Exercise Area South of Okinawa

Participating units



The video below credited to the UK Ministry of Defence highlighted the exercise: