What’s the problem with this claim? The F-35B is not yet cleared to land on HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Some defence commenators and even a pilot cast a little bit more than doubt on this claim.
I guarantee they wouldn’t land on the ship – there are no clearances yet. The first time the F-35s will land on the deck is in the autumn… https://t.co/R5XW5HqDje
— Paul Godfrey (@Godderstwit) June 3, 2018
Wouldn’t QE need to pass her first set of f35 flight trials before one could land on her?
— Dan (@BigDuke6__) June 3, 2018
The newspaper also quotes what it refers to as nn MoD source saying:
“Given that it is Trump, we thought that something a bit macho would be appropriate. But they are American planes, so the Red Arrows could come out to add a more patriotic – and independent – touch.”
Where to start? The MoD have been keen to stress the British aspect of the design and development of these aircraft in what has been one of the largest multinational defence projects to date so it seems unusual but we spoke to another MoD source who told us, anonymously of course:
“Ignore that other guy.”
Can’t get more official than that.
Recently, members of Flying Control and flight deck handlers from HMS Queen Elizabeth crossed the Atlantic to see live F-35B jets in action.
Their carrier is due to conduct flying trials with the state-of-the-art aircraft in the late summer/early autumn off the eastern seaboard of the USA. Preparations for that moment – nearly a decade after a Royal Navy warship last hosted a fast jet – have been taking place for months, even years, on both sides of the ocean say the Royal Navy. About 20 members of the HMS Queen Elizabeth team witnessed F-35B test aircraft BF-02 and BF-04 taxi, perform two vertical landings apiece, and conduct a couple short takeoffs.
The carrier’s Wings – Commander Air Cdr James Blackmore – said the few days at Pax proved invaluable for many of his team.
“It’s the first time they’ve ever seen the jet or been up and close to it as it’s performing its flight manoeuvres, so they got to feel the environment of what it’s like, the sort of noise, the heat, the sound and the pressure of the aircraft, so that when it comes to deck for the first time, it’s not a surprise.”
He flew the last Harrier to take off from HMS Ark Royal at the end of 2010 before both the jump jet and carrier passed into history.
Blackmore called the F-35B “a step change for the UK in how we’re going to conduct business” adding:
“The fact that’s it’s F-35 is pivotal, because you’re in the fifth-generation game now with aircraft, which brings stealth, sensor fusion, advanced weapons and the ability to project aviation and power ashore at your choosing,” he said.
The vessel sails for F-35B trials in a couple of months, long after the state visit.