Savannah – The United Kingdom’s Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) is apparently operating off of the South Carolina/Georgia Coast. Last month, I saw it at Naval Station Mayport, FL and shortly thereafter it went out for an exercise named WESTLANT 19. Since it went out, it has apparently been operating in areas beyond my listening range, but now it seems to be a bit closer. On both Saturday and Sunday, I caught STORM 5# flights heading out to the offshore warning areas, checking in with SEALORD to work with UK Ship/HMS Ship in the Charlie Row, which is more towards the eastern part of SEALORD’s area. On Sunday, some searching paid off when I caught a few frequencies that seemed to be aircraft working the HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The STORM flights are US Marine Corps F-35Bs from VMX-1 (Thanks to Jared Soergel for the assist in identifying them!) working out of MCAS Beaufort, SC. They’re apparently TDY there to work with the Queen Elizabeth and are using a combination of MAG-31 and VMFA(AW)-224 frequencies. In addition to the STORM flights, I also caught BLACK KNIGHT 11, which is a Royal Air Force 17 Sqn F-35B. On Saturday, one of the Queen Elizabeth’s helicopters, an 845 Sqn Merlin HC4 (Mode-S 43C1FA) using the callsign NAVY 801, flew into MCAS Beaufort from the south and then departed back to the south, probably from and back to Mayport or NAS Jacksonville.
292.125 – Beaufort Approach/Departure
363.200 – Jacksonville Center Savannah/Allendale Low
284.500 – SEALORD North Primary
313.700 – SEALORD North Secondary
376.900 – W-137/138 Discrete
243.550 – HMS Queen Elizabeth, Surface Approach
269.800 – HMS Queen Elizabeth, unknown
270.200 – HMS Queen Elizabeth, unknown
304.200 – MAG-31, VMX-1 Base
250.300 – MAG-31, VMX-1 Air-to-Air
336.225 – VMFA(AW)-224 Tac 3, VMX-1 Air-to-Air
BLACK KNIGHT (F-35B, 17 Sqn)
NAVY 801 (Merlin HC4, ZJ134, 845 NAS)
STORM (F-35B, VMX-1)
After I saw the HMS Queen Elizabeth when I visited northeastern Florida last month, I was hoping that I would get the opportunity to catch some of her activity while she was on this side of the Atlantic. Catching this activity definitely made my day!