Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $11.6 million contract to support first of class flying trials and the release of the ‘military permit to fly’ for F-35 aircraft to operate from Queen Elizabeth class carriers.

According to a contract notice issued on the U.S. Department of Defense website:

“Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded $11,566,000 for cost-plus-fixed-fee undefinitized delivery order 0144 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-14-G-0020). 

This order provides support for the first of class flying trials and the release of the military permit to fly for F-35B aircraft to operate from Queen Elizabeth class carriers in support of the government of the United Kingdom. 

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (68 percent); Samlesbury, United Kingdom (26 percent); Orlando, Florida (3 percent); and Patuxent River, Maryland (3 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2018.  International partner funds in the amount of $5,783,000 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. 

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.”

In order to prepare for operating from HMS Queen Elizabeth, Royal Navy sailors have also trained alongside their US Navy counterparts on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp. According to a US Navy press release, the Royal Navy sent six Sailors to integrate into Wasp’s flight deck operations to prepare them for their upcoming Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

Royal Navy sailor Richard Clark said:

“Living with one another is good for integration, so when we work together, when we have your aircraft come to our flight decks, and vice versa, we’ll have a bit more awareness of how we each operate. It helps us work with you better on different platforms when we need to.

This is the first group of guys who are not 1st Classes. Some of them have never been on a ship before, so for the younger guys, it’s good for them to get experience.”

Recent F-35 trials aboard the USS Wasp weren’t just an operational test for the United States Marine Corps, with much of the data produced being used to inform the USMC’s declaration of initial operating capability but also for the United Kingdom.

UK personnel were fully embedded in the USS Wasp trials and will use the data gathered from this event, future trials and operational deployments to support the UK’s flying trials aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth off the US coast in Spring next year.

British F-35 pilots also recently embarked on the USS America for at-sea developmental testing phase 3 (known as DT), the last trial that paves the way for the US Marine Corps to deploy the jet operationally on amphibious assault ships.

BAE Systems test pilot Pete Wilson said about the upcoming trials on the HMS Queen Elizabeth:

“This will not be a DT phase. Testing on the Queen Elizabeth will be like DTs 1, 2 and 3 combined.

We don’t need to use fully instrumented aircraft; we already understand most of the loads on the aircraft systems, as we have tested that during earlier tests.”

29 COMMENTS

  1. The first UK owned F35b’s flying from the deck of a new British aircraft carrier is only a matter of months away ! Can’t wait.
    Meanwhile over the next few months there will be loads of lovely photo opportunities with Merlins, Wilcats, Apaches & Chinnooks on HMS Queen Elizabeth. Great.

  2. Cannot wait to see QE launching 5th generation fast jets. Awesome.
    just need to get enough of the F35Bs now.
    more than 48 in active service that is for sure.

  3. A massive waste of tax payers’ cash. Hopefully, what I read about the sale of HMS Ocean, Albion, Bulwark and other ships is to occur. I have again written to the Secretary of State reminding him that the opportunity to make huge savings will soon be with us.

    • TH – I am sure the SoS will find a suitable use for your paper if not what is written on it ….

      Why do you ‘Tax Payer Alliance’ people see such great joy and benefit in denigrating our country and its achievements and wanting our defences to be removed? Is there some odd hope the EU Military will look after us?

    • TH do you just target the military in your quest or do you go after other larger Government departments? I look forward to your response.

    • Why is it, that every time you touch a keyboard you waffle so much rubbish. We can all be grateful that you have no influence over the government. I realy think that you need to take your medication like the doctor has told you.

  4. I am all for a fully equipped and funded navy but we cant afford even our current navy. 25% of it is tied up in harbour unable to sail due to cutbacks. Some of the remainder is up for sale. I doubt we will ever see the agreed complement of F35s on the carriers. I even doubt we will be able to afford both carriers at sea at one time. All that may be a good thing given the track record to date of the F35 and recent Israeli incident when it seems highly likely an outdated and cheap Russian missile was able to strike it. All this and the development of hypersonic missiles and rail guns against which there is no current western defence means we have built 2 very large floating targets. I regret these are the playthings of admirals from the old school who failed to take account of emerging technologies even when these were commissioned.( more admirals and rear admirals than we have capital ships…how does that work ?) I would much rather we had 2 or 3 HMS Ocean replacements and a lot more destroyers and frigates which are of better use andvwhich we are more likely to be able to afford in future. Regretably these 2 big vessels are just an MOD pandering to the heid yins in the Navy. There will be more bad news to come I regret as we find we dont have the money to run the Navy as we would like.

  5. TH
    There are many government departments which waste far greater amounts of money, so why target the relatively small Defence budget – and specifically the Navy – for your poisonous vitriol? Are you really Jeremy Corbin? C’mon, confess!

      • Right then..direct your letters to the DHSS..they can start..reducing benefits to foreigners.
        ……and by the way…ever done any military service ?

  6. Exactly who else might have been awarded the contract? LM makes the F-35, so it’s hardly likely than any other company was even in the running for this contract. This is like saying the Royal Navy has been awarded some ships that float.

  7. Just let’s be happy we will soon have some capability in our carriers no Mikey mouse shit the F35 is a great platform for future operations just wish they would speed things up! How’s Europe going to do it’s obligatory problematic issues with out the Royal navy ?

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