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‘Large Scale Global Exercise 21' showcases F-35B interoperability for US, UK forces

‘Large Scale Global Exercise (LSGE) 21' underscored the potential Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft interoperability for US and UK forces, according to Rear Admiral Chris Engdahl, commander Expeditionary Strike Group 7.

With that interoperability and “interchangeability, US and UK forces were able to extend the range of the 5th generation”, Rear Adm Engdahl said on 24 August during a media roundtable about the exercise.

“We have a US warship as an integral part of a UK strike group and 5th gen aircraft flying back and forth in a seamless link,” he said.

UK Carrier Strike Group (CSG 21) and USS America Expeditionary Strike Group (AMA ESG) with embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, began multinational advanced aviation operations in support of ‘LSGE 21' on 20 August.

The exercise is a global command-and-control exercise, with regional focus, to enhance integration of the US and its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific, US Navy officials said.

“We stressed all the ways we could command-and-control with marines on the ground controlling aircraft, ships controlling F-35s [and], F-35s supporting the maritime picture, it was a great opportunity to have a laboratory and learn,” Rear Adm Engdahl said.

“The ability for the United States and the United Kingdom to be ‘interoperable' and operate their fifth-generation jets from the same deck at the same time is testament to the special relationship between our two countries,” Commodore Steve Moorhouse, commander of the UK's Carrier Strike Group, said in a statement.

F-35s have “sophisticated capability beyond what you get from a traditional fixed wing fighter aircraft”, Cdre Moorhouse said during the media roundtable.

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