Our people are standing by Britain’s armed forces and its allies to support the UK’s Carrier Strike Group, ready for the most ambitious global deployment in two decades.

What is Carrier Strike Group?

Composed of the right combination of ships, submarines, aircraft, and personnel, the Royal Navy will set sail from Portsmouth in Spring on its first operational Carrier Strike Group deployment in over 20 years. This modern Carrier Strike Group (CSG21) comprises aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth on her maiden deployment, multi-role F-35 aircraft providing formidable capability, with air defence provided by two Type 45 destroyers, and anti-submarine protection provided by Type 23 frigates and an Astute Class submarine. Demonstrating the group’s interoperability with NATO allies, the Royal Navy ships will be joined by Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen, American destroyer USS The Sullivans and US Marine Corps F-35 jets.

CSG21 deployment

Sir Andrew Pulford

Supporting Carrier Strike

During the 20,000 mile voyage over a number of months, visiting the Mediterranean, Middle East and Indo-Pacific, the Carrier Strike Group’s first operational deployment will mark the culmination of decades of teamwork, pride and industry collaboration.
Thousands of our employees across the country have worked on the development, production and integration of the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, Type 45 destroyers, Astute submarines and the Lightning Force that makes up the Carrier Strike Group. They also design and manufacture the radars, combat systems, torpedoes and small boats that feature on those ships. But the story doesn’t end there.
We continue to support our customers by delivering the most sophisticated training programmes in the world for the pilots and flight crews of those F-35s and the sailors on the ships; maintaining and upgrading the ships of the Carrier Strike Group at Portsmouth Naval Base, the home of the Royal Navy, as well as on deployment around the globe; preparing the base for the future by making it 65% greener over the last 15 years; and developing the next generation capabilities such as Type 26 frigates, autonomous boats and autonomous underwater weapons systems.
The importance of Carrier Strike Group to the nation was highlighted by the recent twinning of the Home of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Naval Base and the home of the UK Lighning Force at RAF Marham, and we are proud to remain the key partner to the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force in both those locations.
At BAE Systems, we always stand by our customers and will continue to provide the UK’s armed forces with the data, information advantage and warfighting capabilities they need to influence the battle space.

Our Contribution

HMS Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier

The Queen Elizabeth Class carriers are the Royal Navy’s largest and most sophisticated warships, are fitted with state-of-the-art equipment, and provide a global sovereign base for up to 40 aircraft. With a range of 10,000 nautical miles they can accommodate up to 1,600 sailors, aircrew and commandos. 
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F-35 Lightning

Our dedicated full motion simulator at Warton produces a high fidelity time-dependent ship airwake model and a synthetic training environment, used to train every carrier qualified F-35 pilot in advance of the deployment. Our role as team-mate on the F-35 programme is a truly global effort, with the advanced manufacture of the aft fuselage, horizontal and vertical tails delivered from our facilities in the UK and Australia, and advanced electronic warfare capability from our US business. With more than 625 jets now in service worldwide, hundreds of our engineers and sustainment specialists in the UK and US are supporting the availability and readiness of the global F-35 fleet through technical support, logistics and procurement services.

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Astute Class Submarines

The Astute class are the largest and most advanced attack submarines ever built for the Royal Navy. Four of the submarines have already left the historic shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness on the Cumbrian coast to enter service. The three remaining submarines are at different stages of construction. Measuring 97 metres in length the boats can circumnavigate the globe submerged, producing their own oxygen and drinking water.
Astutes lead the way with many technological 'firsts'; they are the first Royal Navy Submarine not to be fitted with optical periscopes (instead high specification video technology is used to scan the horizon) and the class are the quietest ever made.
The number currently employed delivering the Astute programme at BAE Systems Submarines (discounting ancillary functions serving more than one programme) is 1,675. The Astute seven boat whole programme cost is circa £11 billion.
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Combat Systems

As the sole supplier and integrator of Combat Management Systems for the UK Royal Navy's current surface and sub-surface fleet, we are proud our systems will play an integral role in the UK’s Carrier Strike Group. With over 800 Combat Systems engineers based in the UK as well as deployed off board and on board, we have a rich heritage of over 30 years in the design, development, integration and support of naval combat systems.
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Portsmouth Flotilla

In Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, 2,500 colleagues have been responsible for maintaining and improving the base for the Royal Navy’s fleet, and preparing it to support the QEC carriers, as well as maintaining the Portsmouth Flotilla itself. They also manufacture the small boats that sit on the deck of every large Royal Navy vessel and are used by the Royal Marine Commandos. The Flotilla of two aircraft carriers, six Type 45 destroyers, three Type 23 frigates, six Hunt class Minesweepers, eight Offshore Patrol Vessels and two fast patrol boats are also cared for by Maritime Services who are responsible for their planned and ongoing maintenance, upgrade and capability insertions.
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Maritime Services employees in Scotland, the Isle of Wight and Colchester deliver the UK’s sovereign capability in radar that will be the eyes and ears of the Carrier Strike Group. Together S1850M, Sampson and Artisan radar work in concert to provide persistent unrivalled awareness across all the Royal Navy’s fleet.
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RAF Marham

We lead the c150 strong industry team at RAF Marham in Norfolk, known as Lightning Team UK, where together we support the UK F-35 fleet alongside our Royal Navy and Royal Air Force colleagues. Working as part of a Whole Force team, we deliver Air Crew and Ground Crew training in a state of the art training facility, using advanced technology to deliver training capabilities both at home and abroad.
Our engineering team work side by side the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in the delivery of maintenance work on the Lightning fleet in a purpose built maintenance and finishing facility and we also ensure the aircraft have the latest upgrades to ensure the fleet is operationally ready. Not only do our team deliver support at RAF Marham, the home of the UK Lightning’s fleet, our team also have and continue to deploy on operational missions, working alongside the Lightning fleet, field engineers and instructor pilots to provide dedicated subject matter expertise and support, where it counts. 
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Spearfish Torpedo

Our technologists and engineers are responsible for the nation’s sovereign capability in torpedoes. From the Hilsea area of north Portsmouth, they design, upgrade and maintain Spearfish - the most advanced and fastest torpedo ever made – for the Astute Class submarine – and the Sting Ray light torpedo carried by the Type 23 frigate and Merlin helicopter.
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Type 45 Destroyers

We play a key role at the heart of the development and building the most advanced destroyers in the world, the Type 45, which will provide cutting edge air defence to the Carrier Strike Group. These two major projects created hundreds of jobs in Scotland and around the UK.
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Our Next Generation Capabilities

Our support to the deployment doesn’t stop at our manufacturing and engineering capabilities; we’re also delivering innovative and affordable technologies that allow each element of the Carrier Strike Group to operate together efficiently and effectively.

Energy efficiencies for a greener future

Highlighting our commitment to Net Zero, over the last 15 years we’ve reduced carbon emissions at Portsmouth Naval Base from c.100,000 tonnes/year to c.35,000 tonnes/year.
  • Over the past 10 years we helped the Royal Navy half their energy consumption. We have installed 500KW of Photo-voltaic roofing, 3MWh Battery storage, 13.5MW Combined Heat and Power generation alongside a number of targeted energy reduction projects and initiatives
  • On board too we are seeing changes which dramatically reduce energy consumption. By swapping out fluorescent lighting for 27,000 LED alternatives aboard Queen Elizabeth Carrier, we were able to save energy usage from more than just the bulbs; the resultant reduction in heat generated cut the air conditioning usage by a massive 10-15%
We’re one of the few companies capable of providing credible and relevant cross-domain expertise for the UK armed forces and its allies. The deployment will not only prove the UK’s cutting-edge military power, it will strengthen our diplomatic and prosperity links with allies and partners worldwide. Our engineers, manufacturing frontline, training and support specialists across our Maritime and Air sectors have formed a major part of this national endeavour and I’m sure our thousands of employees will be feeling proud seeing their contribution come to life, in support of international maritime security. Sir Andrew Pulford, Senior Military Adviser

Extraordinary people supporting an extraordinary mission

Contract Instructor Pilot at the (ITC) Integrated Training Center, on the Deployable Mission Rehearsal Trainer (DMRT).
Our role in CSG21 training
Senior Engineer for Naval Ships Combat Systems
Systems Engineer for Naval Ships Combat Systems