Four F-35B pilots are completing final training in the US ahead of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s arrival next month. 

They’re flying two ‘orange wired’ F-35 test aircraft operated by the Integrated Test Force (ITF). The Royal Navy named the pilots as ‘Mr Wilson from BAE, the RN’s Cdr Nathan Gray, Sqn Ldr Andy Edgell and a US Marine Corps aviator’.

The UK Defence Journal previously confirmed that Commander Nathan Gray will be the first pilot to land an F-35 on HMS Queen Elizabeth. Squadron Leader Andy Edgell will them conduct the first take off. This is pencilled in for the last week of September. BAE text pilot Mr Wilson and the USMC pilot will likely be embarked via Merlin helicopter.

Over the course of the following weeks, the four pilots will conduct around 500 take offs and landings. The Royal Navy also confirmed that 200 engineers and experts from the F-35 Integrated Test Force based at Pax River will embark HMS Queen Elixabeth to monitor the F-35 trails, including how it performs in varying sea states.

The original Royal Navy release can be found here.


  1. 21.08.18
    “Lockheed Martin has received a multi-million dollar contract for work on a firewall that will allow F-35 Joint Strike Fighter operators to prevent the transfer of potentially sensitive information that the jet’s sensors and computer brain scoop up and send back to the United States via a cloud-based network. The development comes as foreign partners in the project become increasingly worried about the data that the aircraft is collecting and storing, but concerns could remain about security breaches or if the links to the system gets cut altogether, especially in the middle of a crisis”.

  2. Many interesting posts on this forum, just scroll down!


    The much-anticipated A-10 vs. F-35 close-air support fly-off has wrapped up before many people even realized the tests were happening, but a government watchdog group claims the tests were rigged in favor the Lightning II, a fifth-generation multirole fighter.

    The Project On Government Oversight revealed Tuesday that the tests were underway at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California. According to a testing schedule POGO reviewed, the one-week fly-off began July 5 and concluded Thursday.

    Citing sources “closely associated with the fly-off,” POGO reported that large-scale Army and Marine ground units did not participate in the fly-off. Given those services’ significant stake in receiving effective close-air support, their absence was conspicuous.

    “A close-air support test should involve large numbers of ground troops in a highly fluid combat simulation in varied terrain, across many days,” wrote POGO’s Dan Grazier. “It should test the pilot’s ability to spot targets from the air in a chaotic and ever-changing situation. The test should also include a means of testing the program’s ability to fly several sorties a day, because combat doesn’t pause to wait for airplanes to become available.”


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