Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth will arrive home in Portsmouth today at 13:40.

Last month, F-35 Lightning jets left HMS Queen Elizabeth after eight weeks flying, helping to write the ‘operator manual’, say the Royal Navy.

“The success of the Westlant 18 deployment – which has also included a very high-profile visit to New York – allows the Portsmouth-based ship to move on to operational trials next year with British-owned F-35s flown by Naval and Air Force aviators based at RAF Marham. Two jets and four test pilots, based at the Integrated Test Force (ITF) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, joined the carrier in late September.”

The jets performed 200 short take-offs, 187 vertical landings, and 15 rolling landings and dropped 54 dummy bombs into the Atlantic.

This has been one of the most comprehensive flight trials at sea ever conducted,” said RAF Squadron Leader Andy Edgell, ITF chief test pilot in a news release.

“I am very proud to have professionally executed every aspect of this trial and deliver for the UK a capability that can be exploited for years to come.”

Naval aviator Nathan Gray – the first person to land a jet on HMS Queen Elizabeth – added:

It has been phenomenal to get through a high profile with such success. This is due to the skills of the designers of both the F-35 and the ship herself. It is beyond question that without the vision of the Royal Navy and the unfailing support of the ship’s company we would not have achieved what we have done today. I am proud to have delivered this future and enduring operational capability.”

The crew will now be able to spend Christmas with their families.


    • That Merlin was me! We landed around 1050 and launched again around 1105 and headed for St Catherine’s Point, the Needles and then back to Yeovilton.

  1. I like how she left with three MK4 Merlin but came back with four (if you’ve been following certain Twitter feeds). Same with the ASW Helos at Culdrose, though I think Tidespring took an extra airframe over with her. Reckon those Merlins are mating in their new hangar?

    Regardless, welcome back to her crew – and those aboard Monmouth and Tidespring. A job well done.

    I for one can’t wait to see QE meet up with POW in the near future. What a photo op that’ll make!

  2. It would appear the trials and exercising went extremely well, she outperformed all expectations and concluded the series of flight trials well ahead of schedule. It’s a shame that the UK press don’t find such news half as interesting or worthy of publishing, unlike a small gland leak which shipped as much water as a domestic fish tank. But hey ho, that’s the press for you.

    • Yes Basil, I’m with you on this. HMS Queen Elizabeth Is one of the finest examples of Concept, Design and Build anywhere In the World and We should all celebrate such an Outstanding Achievement. To be able to Put all that effort, hard work and Ingenuity together in one brand new Package and for It all to work so bloody Amazingly well, Is quite frankly a staggering achievement. Well done to everybody Involved.

      I’d love to see more of this in the News and less of some Celebrity winning some meaningless competition having swallowed a load of Kangaroo Testicles. Or what dress Megan Is wearing.

      • Sadly it’s not fashionable to celebrate our national or military successes these days. Or maybe it’s just Brexit everywhere so no spacefof anything else.

        Makes me wonder what would actually be on the news had the vote been Remain.


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