HMS Queen Elizabeth and her F-35 jets have been out to sea a few times now for trials and exercises so it’s hard to imagine people, especially a Member of Parliament, spreading the ‘carrier with no planes’ myth.
With the almost two years of imagery and videos showing British F-35B jets operating from the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth, you can imagine my surprise this morning to read the following tweet from a Member of Parliament.
We did have an aircraft carrier with no planes and a ferry company commissioned that had no ferries under this lot of course.
— Mike Amesbury MP (@MikeAmesburyMP) July 13, 2020
This one even gets repeated by politicians from all parties, many of you will be aware of our Twitter campaign to correct this claim across the political spectrum.
The context of the tweet is that it's mentioned as a procurement failure when in reality it's perfectly routine in the process of commissioning an aircraft carrier. The U.S Navy also went over a year before putting aircraft onboard their latest carrier and they have thousands…
— UK Defence Journal (@UKDefJournal) July 14, 2020
Claims the carrier do not have any aircraft are simply incorrect, the ships were built and aircraft were ordered with both entering service at roughly the same time.
The first jets touched down in 2018.
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) September 28, 2018
In 2023, the UK will have 42 F-35 aircraft, with 24 being front-line fighters and the remaining 18 will be used for training (at least 5 on the OCU), be in reserve or in maintenance.
There are a number of myths surrounding HMS Queen Elizabeth and her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, you can read more about them here.