HMS Queen Elizabeth conducts flight operations with America-class USS America


According to information published by the U.S. Navy on August 31, 2021, USS America (LHA 6), the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, participated in cyclic flight operations with HMS Queen Elizabeth (R 08) in the Philippine Sea.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Sailors assigned to the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) conduct routine maintenance on an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter from the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25. (Picture source: U.S. Department of Defense)


The two ships conducted continuous flight operations for 48 hours, flexing dual-carrier – and triple-F-35 squadron – capability, as the ships feature three total F-35B Lightning II detachments.

America operates with a detachment of F-35s from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121, which reinforce rotary-wing and tiltrotor aircraft from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). America also fields a detachment of MH-60S Sea Hawks from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25. Queen Elizabeth deployed with F-35s from U.S. Marine VMFA-211 and Royal Air Force No. 617 Squadron.

The America Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) and the Queen Elizabeth Strike Group (CSG-21) have been operating together in the Philippine Sea this month as part of Large Scale Global Exercise (LSGE) 21 and Noble Union.

The MH-60S known as the "Knighthawk" is manufactured by the American company Sikorsky Aircraft, which is now part of Lockheed Martin. This helicopter is based on the UH-60L and has many naval SH-60 features.

The MH-60S is used by the U.S. Navy to conduct missions such as vertical replenishment, combat search and rescue, special warfare support and airborne mine countermeasures.

The Mh-60S is armed with door-mounted machine guns such as the M60D, M240D, or GAU-17/A. A "batwing" Armed Helo Kit based on the Army's UH-60L was developed to accommodate Hellfire missiles, Hydra 70 2.75 inch rockets, or larger guns. In combat search and rescue configuration, an additional pylon can be mounted on the helicopter that can carry Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and mk54 digital torpedo.


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