HMS Prince of Wales, the Royal Navy’s second Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier, has embarked her first F-35 jet.

The Royal Navy said in a statement:

“An F-35B Lightning aircraft has landed onboard the Royal Navy’s latest aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, for the first time.

Taking place off the south coast of England, the milestone marks a significant step towards the 65,000-tonne vessel reaching full operational capability.

Operating together as part of Sea Acceptance Trials, it is the first time a fixed wing aircraft has landed onboard HMS Prince of Wales. The trials test the ship’s capability to receive and launch aircraft whilst maintaining continuous air operations.”

HMS Prince of Wales was due to conduct these trials off the US coast last year but issues (more about that below) meant she couldn’t.

656 Squadron and their Apache attack helicopters also recently joined HMS Prince of Wales for her sea trials. This was the first time the ship worked with Apache helicopters.

The carrier also recently tested her three Phalanx guns as part of efforts to make the vessel operational.

After the much-publicised first encounter at sea with her big sister HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group and a brief stopover in portsmouth, sea trials have now resumed.

The aircraft carrier was previously alongside in Portsmouth for just over one year. In May 2020, HMS Prince of Wales experienced flooding which the Royal Navy described (at the time) as minor but this was followed by more significant flooding in October 2020 which caused damage to her electrical cabling. The now repaired damage was so bad that the ship was unable to sail to America for fixed-wing aircraft trials.

The Royal Navy say that the carrier will shortly head to the south west coast for an intensive period of trials and training, establishing her lethality and ability to sustain operations.

207 Squadron F-35B pilot and the first to land onboard HMS Prince of Wales, Squadron Leader Will said:

“It was a real honour to be the first pilot to land the F-35B onboard HMS Prince of Wales.

With all the training that we have previously undertaken with HMS Queen Elizabeth, we are now looking forward to using that experience and knowledge working with HMS Prince of Wales as she moves towards her full operational capability.”

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Springer
Springer
14 days ago

Nice one! So is that officially 2 x Carriers at sea with Jets onboard?

Pete
Pete
14 days ago

Great milestone….timing…QRA for Cornwall..

Julian1
Julian1
13 days ago
Reply to  Pete

Talk is off PoW somehow being used to guard the G7 summit. SAS team aboard with helicopters, Apache or even a flight of f35 for QRA?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  Julian1

Wouldn’t it be easier just to use Typhoon out of one of the regional stations where QRA facilities exist already? Those contingencies were put in after 9/11 in case of threat from the SW.

Why bother with trials if already there are full QRA sorties underway from POW!

I suspect a bit of rumour gone wild there regards POW. Might be wrong just my opinion.

Last edited 13 days ago by Daniele Mandelli
julian1
julian1
13 days ago

Danielle, think of the optics for Boris. It’s all about positioning and whose got the biggest Callejones at the G7

Of course Typhoon is better and easier…..

julian1
julian1
13 days ago
Reply to  julian1

JEEZmy spanish is bad….cajones…hombre!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  julian1

If you’ve got it….!

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
13 days ago
Reply to  Julian1

It would be right out of Boris’s textbook to have her cruise around there for a bit though more as a pr exercise and show piece I would suspect rather than any actual need but why not play such cards. Aah just seen the news and there she is cruising for Boris and Joe.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

😆

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
14 days ago

Good to see. Another 30 F35’s and I will be a very happy bunny..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

I think we’ll get there.

captain p wash
captain p wash
14 days ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

Making 39 in total for both carriers ! Yes It’s certainly better than 9 I guess ….. the other 99 would be a bonus though  😉 

Pacman27
Pacman27
14 days ago

are they testing the Bedford array on POW…

Ron5
Ron5
14 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

For the first landing? Heck no.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
14 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

I must admit I am somewhat puzzled what the Bedford array adds to the party as the flight rules are programmed into the F35B anyway.

I suspect it is more an if-the-digital-goes-wrong here is a visual fallback.

Unless the F35B is working like a Tesla and using cameras to pick up the array and adjust the rules dynamically that is……

Something totally outside of my area of expertise so just speculating.

Last edited 14 days ago by Supportive Bloke
Mike
Mike
14 days ago

What is the Bedford array?

geoff
geoff
14 days ago
Reply to  Mike

I thought it was a row of lorries🤔

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago
Reply to  geoff

😆

Dern
Dern
14 days ago
Reply to  geoff

 😅 

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
14 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

The Bedford array is used for Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landings. So if the first landing was a conventional vertical landing the aircraft would have flown ‘past’ the system before moving sideways over the flight deck.

The link below will take you to a description of the system.

https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=82970

Cheers CR

TrevorH
TrevorH
14 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

And as I understand the rolling landing is to enable them to land still carrying unused ordinance. I did not think it could do this without this array.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
13 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

You are right about the need the rolling landing to avoid dumping ordance and the array is vital to complete this safely in any kind of sea.

However, the array is not necessary for vertical landing indeed the array is probably not even visible to an aircraft moving sideways over the flight deck to complete a vertical landing.

Cheers CR

davetrousers
davetrousers
10 days ago
Reply to  TrevorH

I think you mean ordnance.

TrevorH
TrevorH
8 days ago
Reply to  davetrousers

probably

geoff
geoff
14 days ago

I see that since I pointed out the PoW ships badge was a version of the English Cross of St George, they have altered the badge as per above photo to show the Prince of Wales feathers only!!
God Bless the Prince of Wales. Meanwhile the Queen Elizabeth’s badge remains in the colours of, er..Wales!

Last edited 14 days ago by geoff
Lusty
Lusty
14 days ago
Reply to  geoff

The official badge is still the ‘correct’ one. They use the version in the photo for the funnel badge – it’s normal to have a slight variaton there. 😉

Agree about the timing though!

Nic
Nic
14 days ago

I still think that they should have equipped both carriers with cats and traps , It would have made the Carriers available to other NATO carrier based aircraft for joint ops.

Sean
Sean
14 days ago
Reply to  Nic

No it wouldn’t unless there was commonality in spares, weapons, operating procedures etc.

As it is the carriers are available to all other Allied nations that have the F35B, which outnumbers the number of nations with cat & trap capable aircraft.

davetrousers
davetrousers
14 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Good response Sean. The Cats and Traps comments are very tiresome. The Bs give inter-operability with the US Marines. What countries have more flat tops than the US Marines?

Sonik
Sonik
14 days ago
Reply to  davetrousers

Not only interoperability, it’s also being able to sustain the capability, keeping training current etc. VSTOL is much easier and enables the joint force with RAF, increasing the size of airgroup available for the carriers.

UK does not have the resources to operate CATOBAR on a sustainable basis. You only have to look at France to see where we would likely be if we tried.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
13 days ago
Reply to  Sonik

Common sense response. Whatever the other logic it’s about timing too. If we had gone that way we would have to have gone steam catapult route or have further delays to the ships entry to service and the horrendous budget issues. The US is only just about getting F35C aircraft onto their carriers despite all their extra budget and enormous efforts and experience, while the emals system and the electronic traps are still not free of serious problems. So where would that leave us? So either a system becoming rapidly obsolete or a system far from action ready which ironically… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Spyinthesky
Meirion X
Meirion X
13 days ago
Reply to  davetrousers

I agree, also!

Dern
Dern
14 days ago
Reply to  Nic

You mean like USMC, the Italian Navy, and the Spanish Navy?
And wider afield the Japanese MSDF, the Korean Navy, Singapore?

Meirion X
Meirion X
13 days ago
Reply to  Nic

F-35C would Not have been fully operational until 2023. So still carriers without aircraft! And No CSG2021!

Last edited 13 days ago by Meirion X
Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
13 days ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Precisely 6 year old carriers before they begin to become useful, not ideal.

Andrew D
Andrew D
14 days ago

Still along way to go but RN getting there 😎

Mark
Mark
13 days ago

How is the QE “big sister” if they are virtually identical?

Dern
Dern
12 days ago
Reply to  Mark

If I’m 5’11” and 18 years old, and my sister is 5’5″ and 21 years old, I still call her my big sister.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
13 days ago

Boeing have released a video of their unmanned refuelling drone in action with a successful fuel transfer.

Which makes even more sense of the RN/MOD enquiry for expressions of interested for limited catapult capabilities.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/us-navy-uses-drone-to-refuel-fighter-jet-in-mid-air-for-first-time-tdcslh06j

Frank62
Frank62
13 days ago

Excellent.

Klonkie
Klonkie
13 days ago

anyone know when the MOD will confirm the actual number of the recently announced F35 increase buy?

John Clark
John Clark
13 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

I wouldn’t expect a definitive number until SDSR 2025. By that stage Vixen and Mosquito UCAV’s will be well along the development path and Tempest (or alternative manned strike fighter) will be selected and ordered for post 2030 service introduction.

Only with the manned / unmanned mix, clearly defined, can the government work out the necessary F35B fleet.

Klonkie
Klonkie
13 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

thanks for the update John

julian1
julian1
13 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

I suspect they will continue with small batch orders. They are currently only committed to 2 front line squadrons, but by 2025 and draw down of batch 1 Typhoon, I think they will need to announce squadrons 3 and 4 within the next couple of years – the required surge of deliveries will be required

OOA
OOA
13 days ago

Remember when this was all just PowerPoint and CGI? Brilliant.

Nic
Nic
12 days ago

It seems that Prince of Wales is being deployed of the Cornwall coast for G7.
Good coverage of her on Tv News tonight with Apaches on deck but no F35s