The deployment ‘WESTLANT 19’, will see HMS Queen Elizabeth and her crew conduct vital deck and warfare trials with British F-35 jets.

It is understood that 617 Squadron will embark on HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time for this deployment.

The jets will conduct Operational Tests, alongside 17 Test and Evaluation Squadron, onboard the carrier in the USA during the WESTLANT 19 deployment, proving their capability at sea.

The MoD say that this is vital step on the path to the first Carrier Strike Deployment planned for 2021.

Admiral Tony Radakin CB ADC, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said:

“Our aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth will return to the East Coast of the United States to conduct Operational Trials with our Lightning Force, taking this 5th generation capability to the next level as they prove their ability to operate from the sea.

For decades to come, this exciting new combination of aircraft carriers and F35B Lightnings will provide a potent, globally deployable carrier strike capability, a powerful conventional deterrent and the centrepiece of our country’s expeditionary forces.”

Recently, the 18th F-35B for the UK was delivered. Numbers right now are exactly where they’re expected to be and inline with the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

2 F-35B in LRIP run 3, 1 F-35B in LRIP run 4, 1 F-35B in LRIP run 7, 4 F-35B in LRIP run 8, 6 F-35B in LRIP run 9, 3 F-35B in LRIP run 10, 2 F-35B in LRIP run 11, 2 F-35B in LRIP run 12, 6 F-35B in LRIP run 13, 8 F-35B in LRIP run 14 and 7 F-35B in LRIP run 15. This brings us to 42 in 2023. The next run brings us to the total of the first batch of aircraft, 48.

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Could HMS QE be fitted easily with a small arestor wire for drones? STOBAR, then if so could we launch drones such as predator or even watchkeeper and maybe even Taranis in future. Arestor wire surely would be easy to install and would give our carriers powerful drones. Anyone know if we will have large drones embarked in future?


From the Twitter photo, it looks as if the only drone joining QE will be @piersmorgan!



Gavin Gordon

Rather hoping for Chris Terrill

Gavin Gordon

But likely to get Chris Terrell!


Hey Cam.
I believe it will happen. As the world deploys more drones and as confidence in them grows, we’ll probably see ‘marine’ versions of existing systems being developed for the QE class.
This *might include some developments into recovery equipment too. This is an area that should get some focus for our engineers leaving university.
Really interested to see how the QE class develops over the years
[email protected]


Hi Matt, yeah it’s going to be very interesting and actually exciting to see how the new carriers develop and what new capabilities they will get in future. We should feel proud and quite frankly lucky we have two huge carriers to promote the UK worldwide and to help protect us and they sure make me feel proud, most nations would love to have these assets and I don’t understand all the online Brits who hate these carriers and think they are a waste of money and are white elephants! They couldn’t be more wrong! Our carriers are huge conventional… Read more »


Cam and Matt – there’s no reason why the QE couldn’t have VTOL drones. There are some interesting VTOL light aircraft under development now, like this one from the US:


Cheers Dan

The Big Man

Here here!

The Big Man

Hear hear


The Royal Navy and the US Navy with their carrier strike forces, will be called upon to project military power around the world and especially in the South China Sea.


I can’t see in in the South China Sea that much, it’s rather outside our sphere of influence…



Odd then that they have been bandying about the idea of a RN Naval base in the Far East… Singapore and Brunei have been mentioned as there is already an existing UK military presence there.

Then there’s the first operational QNLZ mission being a voyage to the Pacific…


There’s already is some cracking photos of QE, Tideforce and FS La Motte-Picquet heading out to sea. Looking forward to hearing more about this at it develops.


What’s piers and Suzana got to do with it?? Anyone know


The clue is in the tweet, last line before the picture… “We are live on @GMB #TheWorldIsWatching” It’s a QE tweet so “We” = the carrier and “GMB” = the ITV “Good Morning Britain” breakfast TV show which I believe Piers & Suzana host. I don’t watch it so no idea when it is/was on and how much time it got/is-getting. By the way, when I was Googling to try and find the answer before I read the tweet all the way through I came across a marvellous (sarcasm) graphic of QE in this ITV article… Apparently our carriers… Read more »


Aft is just short hand for After like bosun is for botswain etc


Hahahah that was funny Julian, clearly they have a defence expert sorting out defence matters… I hate when so called experts don’t know jack, and for eg calling HMS echo a warship really annoyed me recently, She has GPMGs, That’s it Or maybe two mini guns aswell if she’s lucky..


The experts who don’t know Jack?
Echo is definitely a warship.


She is a warship. Also, the Echo class both carry two 20mm cannon.


I would imagine that Susanna would be extremely popular on QE…for any reason!

Daniele Mandelli

Sussana Reid….now we’re talking!


Which is what the majority of the ship’s company thought!


Even the RN females, they are butcher than a butchers butcher.


Of course, it’s all part of our wonderful modern world. Where men are men and women are women and the ships cat is, well who knows?


So, do officers still “come in through the hawsehole”.