The airforces of the UK, the US and the Netherlands have participated in the Exercise Point Blank 20-04 over the North Sea.

Over 50 aircraft joined the exercise, including US Air Force (USAF) F-15s and KC-135s, Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-16s and F-35As, British Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoons, and USAF Global Strike Command B-52s.

Point Blank is conducted quarterly in the UK by the USAF and RAF. It is aimed to boost the combat readiness and tactical proficiency of the US, the UK and other Nato forces.

The multilateral exercise will help personnel hone the skills to deter potential foes and enhance interoperability.

The fourth and fifth-generation Defensive Counter Air integration focused exercise also saw the participation of the US Marine Corps (USMC) and RAF’s F-35Bs.

RAF Officer Commanding 617 Squadron commander Mark Sparrow RN said: “This has been a fantastic first step in 617 Squadron operations with the USMC’s VMFA 211 Squadron, as we prepare to embark on HMS Queen Elizabeth as a team.

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“The exercise provided excellent integration training for the F35B s with our US, Dutch and the Typhoon Force colleagues.

“This integration is key to Lightning operations and Exercise Point Blank is the first of the many important steps needed to create a fully integrated Carrier Strike Group ready to deploy next year operationally for the first-time on board HMS Queen Elizabeth.”

In March last year, personnel from the US and UK airforces participated in the latest iteration of exercise Point Blank in Yorkshire, UK.