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.


  1. 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.

  2. 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 ÂŁ4-5.5 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 fit British weapons- Aster 15/30 and Sea Ceptor instead of standard SM2/3 SAMs
    Firm commitment to at least another 64 F35Bs being ordered and put into service in the next 7-8 years.
    10 Type 31 light frigates (which could be the baseline hull for a mine counter measures/ ASW vessel deploying drones)
    A follow on batch of 4-5 more Poseidon MPA aircraft
    24 more merlin ASW helos
    Norwegian anti ship missile
    3-4 more astute batch 2’s to be built alongside the dreadnought class
    Challenger 3 MBT- the era of the MBT is not dead- the MBT still has a huge role to play in fighting prowess and standing power on the battlefields of tomorrow.
    18-24 more Apache helos
    Uplift in manpower by 5000 RN, 3000 Army
    Yes I know very navy orientated list but we are a maritime nation and if anyone checks history whenever the RN is strong the UK is strong and safe, whenever we are weak from a navy perspective we suffer defeat. A wish list yes- but exactly what I have written to the defence secretary twice and asked him to lobby for as well as my own MP twice. I love living in a democracy.

    • 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 could sell themselves as an alternative – learn a trade, engineering etc, without having to pay a penny!

        • 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 convincing argument for how honorable service helped their lives. While someone from a place like Capita has no idea what they are talking about and has in all to many cases nothing in common with the people they are recruiting. Servicemen can better tell when one argument isn’t going to work because they know the types of people they met while serving. After an education use that argument? Join the Military learn a trade. After a way out of whatever council house/tenement/slum you find yourself in? Join the Military and see the world and meet interesting people. Feel like you don’t belong to anything? That no one would genuinely care for a solid minute if you dropped dead tomorrow? That no one ever taught you how to act like a real man. Join the Army and have all the brothers you will every need and both a written and unwritten code of conduct and honor to order your life by.
          See different messages for different recruits. The only thing you have to remember is when talking to people about joining the Navy is don’t tell them “seeing the world” is mostly water, gray paint, and back to port.
          Of course then again this could all be made moot by just bringing back National Service (politically impossible but still the simplest solution).

          • 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?

      • 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.

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


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