HMS Queen Elizabeth has completed the second phase of flying trials (DT-2) with F-35B jets.

The goal was to test the aircraft in more challenging wind conditions and to practice the ship in handling and loading of the aircraft with weapons.

The test team—comprising nearly 175 ITF members aboard the ship— already completed several needed parameters during DT-1, including day and night short-takeoffs and vertical landings with minimal deck motion, in varying wind conditions and with and without internal stores.

“I’m very proud of the test accomplishments by the combined team of the 1,500 personnel comprised of the ITF, the carrier strike group and the crew of HMS Queen Elizabeth with her embarked 820 and 845 squadrons,” said Andrew Maack, the F-35 Pax River ITF’s chief test engineer.

“It was impressive to see the excellent teamwork at all levels of the organisations.”

During DT-1—which were performed within the same flight envelope as will be used in the first operational test phase—the ITF also conducted about half of the testing that fell under the DT-2 threshold, or the flight envelope needed to reach initial operational capability (maritime), speeding up the now completed second phase. The second phase concentrated on external stores testing, minimum performance short-takeoffs and SRVLs, and night operations.

A third developmental test (DT-3), followed by operational testing, is scheduled for 2019. Together, the tests will help the Ministry of Defence reach F-35B initial operating capability (maritime) in 2020.

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We really must be proud of this achievement. Such a vast project being delivered so smoothly. Not many nations seem to deliver major projects so professionally and without issue. There is a lot being done right these days and with limited funds. We should remember this before berating ourselves over small mistakes.


I agree, we are a lot better than most of us think we are.

Mr Bell

Agree a small uptick in defence expenditure and we will be back to a full spectrum military. For me the next strategic defence review needs to resolve a few vital issues- in total requiring to my calculations £4-5.5 billion a year more going into defence (taking us to 2.5% GDP to defence ratio) Type 45 destroyers- fitted with strike length mk41 silos- tomahawk, asroc and LRASM/NSM fitted. 4-5 more type 26’s optimised for general purpose duties- eg far east deployments and freedom of navigation- alongside our allies – I would just copy and paste the new Australian Hunter class but… Read more »


Two things.
That’s a lot of stuff needing a lot more people to get for your proposed budget.
The UK military’s main problem is not kit but people. Until the forces find a way that works to attract and retain young people, particularly technologically skilled young people, increased amounts of equipment will sit rusting for lack of crew.
Solve the people problem first then stock up on kit.


Much needs to be done on that front. The problem is how to do it. Unemployment is at an all time low and kids these days are promised the earth on a plate through uni. I think the forces – particularly the Navy and RAF, should promote their skilled trades a lot more. Uni costs a absolute bomb now (I work at Bath uni and the kids pay a fortune! Not just in tuition fees but also cost of living) and graduates aren’t guaranteed good jobs like they were 20-30 years ago as it’s a saturated graduate market. The forces… Read more »


Agree Steve I work with some exceptional people who served, well trained and have a grip on reality, they know what it takes to deliver.


“The forces could sell themselves as an alternative – learn a trade, engineering etc, without having to pay a penny!” That would be one of the main recruitment strategies of the US Military. The issue the MOD has with recruitment is the outsourcing of the job to Capita. Currently serving personnel or local vets are always going to be the best recruiters. After all they know why they joined and heard why others joined while in service. Many of them are also talking to what is in terms of life experience a younger version of themselves. They can make a… Read more »


I disagree with national service because I think it produces bad soldiers. I’d rather professionals who chose to join up and want to be there. Make much better soldiers IMO.

But I fully agree with you regarding Capita. This government’s obsession with outsourcing everything to the private sector has screwed up recruitment.

I say staff AFCOs with ex forces. Those who, as you said, know the people who are applying and know the realities of service life. Outsourcing is a load of rubbish. Has it ever worked once with this government?

David E Flandry

There was no real problem getting people until the 2010 defense review by the
insufficiently damned Cameron and Osborne. That affected retention rates, promotion opportunities, extra pay for certain duty such as submarines, cutbacks in compensation for parachute drops, on and on.

On National Service, a top general said, ” National Service may have been great for the country but it damn near ruined the Army.”


Mr Bell. When you say about T45 destroyers do you mean build more of them or simply arm them up with more?
Regarding the 64 F35s, is that in addition to the 138 already on order or simply hurrying those up? My preference for F35 would be a total of 5-6 active frontline squadrons between the RN and RAF. 60-72 frontline aircraft, probably 160 total airframes including OCU, test & evaluation, and spares.

I’d also include, in your wishlist, increase the Royal Marines up to around 10,000 total. Focus on projecting naval lower, we shouldn’t forget them.


The RM is already ramping up along with the USMC for what’s coming next. This is a GREAT idea IMO to pit them against the USMC as aggressors in high end combat training. It’s a huge win for both sides.


Gavin Gordon

I believe that the RN is endeavouring to do just what is presctibed above. Witness their commitment to Portsmouth UTC, for instance. Regards,