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'Wake Island Avengers' arrive in UK ahead of CSG21 sailing

Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II combat aircraft of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 ‘The Wake Island Avengers’ arrived in the United Kingdom on 27 April, ahead of their upcoming deployment on Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21).

The US Marine Corps (USMC) jets landed at Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath ahead of training that will culminate in the unit joining UK F-35Bs aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth for the ship’s inaugural operational cruise in late May.

News of the arrival in the UK of VFMA-211 came days after the country’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed the composition of the air wing that is to sail on CSG21. As announced on 26 April, Queen Elizabeth’s air group will comprise eight F-35Bs from 617 Squadron, 10 F-35Bs from VFMA-211, seven Leonardo Merlin HM2 helicopters from 820 Naval Air Squadron (three configured with the Crowsnest airborne surveillance and control role fit), and three Merlin HC4 helicopters from 845 Naval Air Squadron. Four Leonardo Wildcat HMA2 maritime attack helicopters from 815 Naval Air Squadron will be parented by small ships flights around the force. In all, the air group will comprise 32 jets and helicopters.

When CSG21 departs Portsmouth in the coming weeks, it will sail via the Mediterranean Sea to the Asia-Pacific region, visiting more than 40 countries, including India, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.

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