A Russian plane coming from the Kola Peninsula flew near the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group reported on Twitter (X) on Friday.

The British F-35B took off from the deck of the aircraft carrier and flew to escort a Russian Il-38 maritime patrol aircraft jointly with the Norwegian F-35A and follow the Russian Naval Aviation aircraft out of the security zone of the group of ships.

British F-35s intercept
The aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Norwegian frigate Otto Sverdrup set sail off northern Norway.

The British carrier group has exercised for the past two weeks with Norway and several other NATO countries off the coast of northern Norway, including Germany, Belgium, France, the United States, plus the two newcomers Finland and (soon) Sweden.

 The exercise considered the largest by the RAF, has involved more than 50 aircraft from Canada, the United States, Italy, Norway, Australia and the United Kingdom working together to support a fictional country in conflict to recover sovereign territory. In particular, the F-35s were assigned SEAD (suppression of enemy air defenses) missions.

The Norwegian frigate Otto Sverdrup has led the carrier group while operating in Norwegian waters.

HMSQE left Portsmouth on 8 September and is currently operating in the Arctic region.

For security reasons, neither the Norwegians nor the British Navy are willing to reveal positions, but on Thursday, HMS Queen Elizabeth posted photos on Twitter (X) showing crew members performing the so-called Blue Nose Ceremony, an adventure that sailors organize when crossing the Arctic Circle.

Other photos were released on October 4, showing the steep slopes of the mountains along the coast of northern Norway.

The 280-meter-long Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier carries helicopters and a fleet of F-35B fighters. She has a crew of approximately 700 people, increasing to 1,600 when all plans are boarded.

Further north, in the Barents Sea, Russia has issued NOTAM military notices for expanded airspace in the maritime border areas with Norway from Saturday, October 7 to the 12th.

Thomas Nilsen