British F-35B jets have landed on HMS Queen Elizabeth in British waters.
HMS Queen Elizabeth recently left Portsmouth to conduct training with UK F-35 Lightning jets in home waters. Specifically, the ship is sailing to conduct Carrier Qualifications as well as Landing Signal Officer qualifications with 207 Squadron, the UK’s F-35 Lightning training squadron.
— HMS Queen Elizabeth (@HMSQNLZ) January 28, 2020
HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Commanding Officer, Captain Angus Essenhigh, said:
“It is a real honour for me to be taking HMS Queen Elizabeth to sea for the first time as her new Commanding Officer. This period at sea will build on the successes of the Westlant 19 deployment, providing a fantastic opportunity for the ship to further its generation towards carrier strike, and will train and qualify UK F-35 pilots in UK waters for the very first time.”
207 Squadron will be flying aircraft to and from the decks, day and night from their base at RAF Marham. Six pilots, both Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, will carry out their aircraft carrier qualification in that time.
Our rotary wing elements are duty 24/7 whilst we are at sea.
As their tasking is flexible and often time critical, they have to be savvy in keeping aircraft sustainable.
— HMS Queen Elizabeth (@HMSQNLZ) January 29, 2020
HMS Queen Elizabeth and 207 Squadron will continue to train together throughout the year ahead of their first operational deployment together, along with a squadron of F-35B Lightnings from the US Marine Corps, to the Far East in 2021.
I guarantee that this article will attract people proclaiming ‘But these aren’t British jets, they’re American in origin!’, people that will purposefully ignore that ‘British’ in this context is being used to highlight that these F-35Bs are British owned and operated. Leave them to it.