The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has deployed 19 warships with accompanying fighter jets from 11 of it’s member nations in war games off Portugal as they practise deploying to the Black Sea.
Britain’s state of the art Navy carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth led other Warships from the US, Germany, France, Canada, Turkey, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands in a display of maritime strength just days ahead of Russian president, Vladimir Putin’s meeting with US president, Joe Biden.
HMS Queen Elizabeth, costing £3 billion, led the other battleships in the war game titled ‘operation Steadfast Defender’, which started off the coast of Portugal over the weekend and will conclude with ground exercises in the Black Sea region later this month.
The armada included submarines, destroyers and frigates, with aerial support from the Royal AirForce’s brand new F-35B Lightning stealth fighters, Portuguese F-16 Fighting Falcons and Spanish F-18 Hornets, as well as the US anti-submarine Poseidon and Orion warplanes.
Nato chiefs insist the military exercises, involving 9,000 troops, are not aimed at Russia specifically, but they focus on the Black Sea region where Moscow deployed thousands of troops ahead of military drills throughout mid-April.
More photos below.