United States Marine Corps F-35 jets from the Wake Island Avengers took flight from HMS Queen Elizabeth alongside embarked UK jets from 617 Sqn known as the Dambusters, to take part in Exercise Joint Warrior, the largest multinational exercise hosted by the UK.

The jets took part in air to air combat scenarios before taking a pit-stop with a Voyager to refuel. The ‘petrol-station in the sky’ provides support to the jets offering fuel and enabling them to stay in the air for longer.

Sgt Andy Emberton – Mission Systems Operator – was quoted as saying:

“The voyager is a very capable aircraft able to lift up to 109 tons of fuel and we’ve been up in Aberdeen along the east coast on air to air refuelling – this is the first time I’ve worked with jets coming off of the Queen Elizabeth Carrier.” 

Exercise Joint Warrior sees more than 6,000 soldiers, 81 air assets, 28 ships and 130 ground troops from 11 nations coming together to improve their ability to respond to emerging threats.

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George Royce

No matter how many times I look at it, the F-35 is one ugly bugger

Harry Bulpit

Really. I think their pretty lovely looking birds.

TrevorH

Yes. They look pretty mean.

Pete

Not as ugly as the Boeing alternative that had, if I recall, the big single air intake duct that made it look like a basking shark.

Liam

It’s not a particularly elegant aircraft and does not look like a natural flyer.

George Royce

Apparently, it’s not good at maneuvering. The induced drag upon turning is very high. Just look at it from the nose tip. It’s such a fat body.

Liam

Hopefully, it’s tech and stealth will mean it’s not going to get into dogfights int the first place.

George Royce

But I say my good man, the thinking that ‘dogfights are a thing of the past’ has been supported before, only for it to come to no avail. They took guns off jets only to find out F4Phantoms were getting shot down by MiG17s in knife fights. They thought that because post war jets fly at supersonic speeds, they wouldn’t need to train for dogfights and that too was proven wrong. Stealth doesn’t make one invisible, it just gives you more time. Heaven forbid that we get into a real fight with a 1st tier advisary and rely on ‘hoping’… Read more »

Liam

That’s why I used the word hopefully! Its range worries me most. It seems woefully short legged, as do most carrier jets. Oh for the F-14.

Ron5

Don’t be silly, on internal fuel the UK F-35’s have a longer range than Typhoons.

Liam

That’s not a big claim to make and there’s not much in it. I can see why the current range is not an issue for strike missions. My worry is F35s having to deal with threats to a carrier at range, that was the reason for the F14 and it strikes me that reason is back again.

spyintheskyuk

Out of interest what can the F14 do that the F/A18F can’t do? Seems strange that the USN were keen to replace the former with the latter and did so completely by 2006 if it was so great. Also I note that an F14 unit only won the yearly top strike unit award once in competition with strike squadrons using F18s and other aircraft. Would seem an odd conflict there if it were so superior to the plane that replaced it.

Liam

The F14 was intended to be a platform for the Phoenix missile. It was a long range interdiction aircraft with a powerful radar to support the AIM 54. The idea being it would intercept Russian bombers carrying long range missiles aimed at taking out a carrier. The strike mission, to me, reflects a post Cold War approach. It seems to me that long range threats from peer adversaries are back. Perhaps Aegis and T45s are enough to provide a shield. However that’s the thrust of my point.

Daveyb

It’s a shame the Phoenix missiles didn’t work. The concept was great, it was just the then technology letting them down. Today we have the Meteor that has pretty much the same range as Phoenix, but fired from a stealthy aircraft (ok in a few years time). So the essence of the F14/Phoenix mission is still going to be used, i.e. Hit them as far away from the carrier as possible!

dan

F-14B/D had longer legs than the Super Hornets, better thrust to weight and acceleration but wasn’t anywhere near as reliable and a maintenance headache. Doesn’t matter how good a fighter is if it’s down for maintenance.

dan

Stealth fighters have no drag from external stores, pylons, sensor pods and that helps extend their range.

Ron5

Seeing that Typhoon pilots are British they wouldn’t use the phrase “fat kid, with special pants” in a thousand years. All of your comments on this thread are absolute made up rubbish.

Mark B

Looks fine to me and it doesn’t have to be pretty just effective. We will get enough to sort out the carriers and keep the RAF happy for a while. In the meanwhile life will move on and technology will provide something better to invest in.

TrevorH

Read my earlier post. How can a stealthy dogfighter still have a big internal weapons bay full of missiles, including large ones?

Andy

That’s true in Vietnam wasn’t it

Alan Reid

Hi George, Dogfights have always been relatively rare – historically, four out of five pilots shot-down never see the guy who did it!
The secret is to creep up on your opponent unseen – and shot him in the back. Or those days – with a missile from long-range in the face. Arguably, having better situational awareness than your opponent is the key to air-combat success – not manoeuvring. Detect, close, kill – disengage.
On that basis, I think the F-35B will be an outstanding
air-defence fighter for the fleet.

Robert Blay

F35 has a very capable Helmet mounted sight, ASRAAM Is also a world beater. Very good performance, Exellent APG81 radar, Outstanding Situational awareness, adds up to a very capable platform in the air air role. All RAF fast jet pilots are trained to a very high standard in BFM. But not one wants to do it. You want to kill the bad guy from 30 miles away, and live to fight another day.

geoff

At the age of about 9 years building Airfix models of among others Westland Lysanders,I am old enough to remember Duncan Sandys saying that the dogfighter had had its day and missiles were the future!!

Alan Reid

Hi Geoff, I think he might have said in 1957 that “manned aircraft” would soon be obsolete – so TSR2 was going to be the last RAF bomber, and therefore loaded-up with too ambitious a specification – with resultant huge cost
over-runs. Conversely, the Lightning was supposedly the last manned RAF fighter – always on the cusp of retirement, and never developed to its full potential.
Despite being Churchill’s son-in-law, Sandys has a lot to answer for!

Harry Bulpit

F35 is much more akin to a bomber then a fighter. Even the F18 has shown probablem in the fighter role. Nothing beats a dedicated fighter like Typhoon in the air to air role. Fortunately those types of aircraft are becoming a thing of the past.

Ron5

Nothing beats a Typhoon? I’d check the results at Red Flag if I were you.

ETH

Red Flag is and will stay a training exercise, not a realistic simulation.

Harry Bulpit

I should have clarified that I meant in close air to air combat.

Alan Reid

Hi Harry, As a “bomber” – it’s certainly no slouch!
I think being able to pull 7g, plus utilise high-alpha manoeuvring, if needed – and with a sparkling acceleration, means the Lightning B has many characteristics of an outstanding air-combat fighter.
On paper, the Sea Harrier was pretty mediocre – but its opponents soon learned different!
But air combat is really all about situational awareness – and I think we too much emphasise the manoeuvring element of the dog-fight. Dogfights are very rare.

Ron5

Bull, the F-35 is extremely maneuverable as proven in exercises.

TrevorH

Given that stealth fighters are designed to have a large internal weapons bay, then I suggest such shapes will continue… weather you like the aesthetics or not.

dan

Stealth pilots have said, even Raptor pilots with it’s super maneuverability that if you get into a close in fight then the stealth pilot has done something wrong.

dan

Is what happens when you design one aircraft to fill both the conventional and STOVL roles.

geoff

If ‘looks’ are the criteria then for me, the F16 and Typhoon are my joint favourites with the Bae Lightning coming out tops in the bulldog stakes. The f 35 is sort of neutral-girl next door.

700 Glengarried Men

Will be interesting to hear if the US pilots provide favourable comment on the efficiency of the UK carriers compared to their own

TopBoy

And feedback on our refuelling procedures???

Ian

Topboy…. I thought out Voyager planes could not refuel the F35

Paul T

They can the ‘B’ and ‘C’ versions,just not the ‘A’.

Ron5

See the US Marine pilots won’t have flown off US carriers, how could they make that comparison?

700 Glengarried Men

Appols see the marines have helicopter carriers only looking at them i thought they would be used similar to what Japan is trying

ETH

They have operated harriers off of helicopter carriers like the Wasp class for decades.

Andy

Don’t marines fly mixed with naval pilots on there carriers?

Daveyb

Yes, they deploy their F18s to carriers to maintain qualifications. But are generally land based. They have also used their Harriers from the big carriers. They use rolling take-offs as the Harriers nose wheel isn’t built for assisted catapult launches.

geoff

On another subject, I notice all the comments bar one have disappeared from the article on shore bombardment from a few days ago. Anyone know why this has happened? Also the CMS has vanished- have they shut up shop or is it just my PC?

OOA

F35s remind me of a bird I once went out with: Expensive, late, a bit chubby but somehow all my mates were still secretly envious.