MP Hywel Plaid, with responsibilities within Plaid Cymru including defence, recently tweeted that the new aircraft carriers had no aircraft. When the UK Defence Journal pointed out he was wrong… his staff blocked the UK Defence Journal.

HMS Queen Elizabeth and her F-35 jets have been out to sea a few times now for trials and exercises so it’s hard to imagine people, especially a Member of Parliament specialising in defence, spreading the ‘carrier with no planes’ myth.

Part of what we do, for those unaware, is challenge myths like this that are repeated, unintentionally or otherwise, by members of all political parties and other organisations.

With the almost two years of imagery and videos showing British F-35B jets operating from the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth, you can imagine my surprise to read the following tweet from a Member of Parliament.

When we reached out to Hywel via e-mail, he responded, to his credit, with the following.

“Please accept my apologies I was not aware that you had been blocked. My twitter account is run by one of my staff. However I take full responsibility for anything that appears. I will arrange for you to be unblocked.

I stand corrected of course as to the current availability of aircraft on the Carrier and apologise to those who complained.

To explain, briefly,  the tweet referred to a large billboard which appeared some two years ago ( I think) in the Westminster tube station. It showed the aircraft carrier with machines taking of, this at a time when I understand the UK has no such aircraft. That is why it started in the past tense ‘had’. Further on I wrongly used the word ‘doesn’t’ whereas it should have read ‘didn’t’. I hope that this explains matters and that you will carry my apology in any further reporting.”

Hywel has apologised, that’s the matter over in my view.

The myth that the carriers have no aircraft often gets repeated by politicians from all parties, many of you will be aware of our Twitter campaign to correct this claim across the political spectrum.

The first jets touched down in 2018.

In 2023, the UK will have 42 F-35 aircraft, with 24 being front-line fighters and the remaining 18 will be used for training (at least 5 on the OCU), be in reserve or in maintenance.

F-35Bs on HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2018.

There are a number of myths surrounding HMS Queen Elizabeth and her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, you can read more about them here.

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Bloke down the pub

I was going to tweet the MP a link to this post, but then I noticed he says that HMS Queen Elizabeth was carrying American planes as ‘our Navy doesn’t have such aircraft’. If he wishes to be pedantic, he’s correct, the UK aircraft are from RAF 617 squadron, and RN 809 squadron will not form until April 2023.

Sean Crowley

What i dont get is the UK started with an need of 130 , and was meant to be a major partner in the program , but now with the way things are going Norway will be a bigger operator ! F-35 is not an lemon , it is potent beyond the constraints of the limited tactical foresight displayed by those that either do not know of its abilities or unable to deduce and extrapolate its full potential . Tranche 3 Typhoon you say , that Lemon will be capable of what an FA-18F can already do here and now… Read more »

John Clark

Hi Sean, not really following your line of thought here, are you saying the RAF should have bought Hornets? To me, the UK F35B is suffering from a new problem. Simply put, gen 5 has taken decades to get from the drawing board to squadron service. Generation 6 is promising to reach service far quicker, due to a number of factors… First, far better project management, second, technology has jumped ‘way’ ahead of the snails pace F35b. Rapid prototyping and full digital design, 3D printing etc means technology demonstrators for the Tempest programme can get wind under the wings years… Read more »

Last edited 4 days ago by John Clark
Peter S

I do hope your optimism about Tempest proves correct.I worry that an over ambitious plan will run out of money: if we want an aircraft with the same or better sensor fusion as F35, how do we avoid the mind blowing costs of developing it? The budget for F35 block 4 software alone has now risen to over $14b. One of the early stated aims of the project was affordability but that was the aim of the F35 plan too. Do BAE know something LM doesn’t?. In the meantime, we should keep improving Typhoon and buy some more. If, as… Read more »

Meirion X

The Typoon is No match for the F-35, Red Flag exercises have prove this fact.
So No point in buying more aircraft that are becoming obsolete against 5th gen.
This may not be an issue yet against present 4/4.5 gen aircraft.

Last edited 4 days ago by Meirion X

And yet the US is investing heavily in updating gen 4 to gen 4.5. Surely there are three key considerations: 1. Typhoon loaded with METEOR and ASRAAM working alongside (or behind) F35 is a powerful combination. 2. The issue isn’t about Typhoon v F35. Its about Typhoon and f35 v the Russian or Chinese alternatives. 3. 5th + gen that can perform to its full performance spectrum (ie go supersonic as often as it reasonably wants to without fear of degrading its stealth coatings after a couple of minutes and with a healthy AAM load out in Stealth mode) has… Read more »


Typhoon can knock spots off Super Hornet before you even turn ground power on. Why we’d want the legendarily short ranged Hornet, especially the classic or even the mucked about one (which nearly got cancelled during development for aerodnyamic issues) is beyond me. We’d certainly not have afforded to run that many Hornets, as the Aussies found out at great expense when they wanted to put (better) european weapons on it and also when fatigue reared its head requiring expensive rebuilds of the aircraft to acheive flying hours tonka took in its stride. Amazingly poor design considering it was supposedly… Read more »


Yes but how much money would signing a cheque to Boeing put in the UKs workforce.

Think you will see at some point RAF will switch to drop the Bs once they have thrashed them to death and need maintenance and a rebuild.

not the sort of thing they have done before,

The UK has moved away from expensive short runs. but MPs fight this to support there local workforce.

as they have no idea


Hear what you say Bro but he is being beyond pedantic. The RAF F35’s are de facto Navy aircraft or at the very least British aircraft on the deck of the QE. The man is just a deliberate agitator and sorry to say that Plaid Cymru have that quality in common with the SNP. Nasty one trick ponies.

Chris Jones

As a Welshman, I can assure you, Plaid Cymru can only aspire to the levels of mendacious incompetence and nepotism demonstrated by the SNP. They are rank amateurs in comparison.


If it forms up at all after this afternoon’s announcements….

Tim Stone

One question, can a fully armed F35 land back on either of these carriers once it has taken off from them? I believe the answer is a NO…..too heavy!

George Royce

The SNP is the gift that keeps on giving.

John Clark

It never ceases to amaze me that people in elected positions spout total ill informed crap on social media…

Look what it did for Trump, there’s an abject lesson for all greasy poll climbers everywhere, on what happens when unplugging the brain to mouth ( or keyboard) sensor!

Andy P

I’m not sure Plaid Cyrmu have much interest in SCOTTISH independence George.

Douglas Newell

Plaid and the SNP are both cheeks from the same bottom, as is evidenced from they lies they love to tell their own supporters.

They trust their own supporters that much they have to lie to them to keep them onboard.

Andy P

Does that ‘logic’ even stack up in your own head Douglas ???

They’re the ‘baddies’ so just bunch them all together….

Out of curiosity, which political party(s) don’t tell their own supporters lies ????


Andy are you mad? Surely all our elected members of this great parliament (and Hollyrood) are straight, honest and have our best interests at heart…..with absolute no interest in self advancement and power!!!!! To say otherwise is surely treason.

Andy P

My bad, yeah, you’re right mate, I’m away to wash my mouth out with soap…..


Hand sanitizer works mate, I use it thrice per day, gets in those hard to reach places soap does not 😂


I’m not falling for that one mate….

Adrian Cockerill

This myth gets very boring, the facts, the UK has some aircraft but not enough to fully equip the 2 carriers and potentially never will – wait and see on that one. If the MP was more precise it could put the Mod on the spot.

Alba Airborne

It was a Welsh MP, but they are all as bad as each other as are the media.
Both Sky and BBC with Ben Wallace this morning = shocking in their ignorance


Arrogance as well as ignorance from the pen of Mr. Williams. George should really stay on his case and publish far and wide his banning of UKDJ. Here with have a Shadow Minister of Defence (of sorts) banning the opinions of arguably, the country’s most authoritative voice on matters defence!! You REALLY could not make this up!!
Also the mail Online has an article regarding HMS QE’s upcoming deployment with the usual cretins with their no planes stories but it is also nice to same many good comments in rebuff and ridicule in the thread.


Here we have….


Ohh I must look that one up on the mail on line, I love reading the comments on these from all papers. It like self flagellation, but with no physical pain.


To be fair if we are only going to buy 48 aircraft ,training, maintenance, wear and tear, training accidents, mechanical failures and all the many different calls on the aircraft. Hell some may even.. wait for it get lost in combat.

With so few aircraft it would not be a stretch to say CARRIERS without aircraft.

Captain P Wash

it’s Groundhog Day !

simon richards

As count dankuala would say UK defence journal trolled this moron brilliantly 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Douglas Newell

Nationalist Politicians love to lie. The Scottish Nationalists love to tell lies and so it seems do their Welsh compatriots. Funny that.

Geoffrey Roach

Rhowch orffwys iddo Hywel…a sicrnan bod eich ffeithiau’n iawn

John Clark

Oh lord, Geoffrey had had a stroke!

Something different

Haha, it’s funny coz Welsh is different to English, haha…
And with reactions like that you wonder why the nationalists gain ground.


It’s called banter…..more people should try it and take a few man up pills and not take shit to seriously, and stop seeing offence where it isn’t.

John Clark

Oh dear, take the stick out of your arse lighten up……


Better response than mine……

Geoffrey Roach

John, Daniele….good morning.
Thank you for your concern. I was born in Wales, of Cornish parents with a bit of the Irish on my nan’s side so you would expect me to speak my mother tongue. The trouble is ..I can’t (well, a liitle bit) but as Hywel apparently doesn’t understand English I thought I would do a translation.

Daniele Mandelli

Brilliant stuff Geoffrey. It is important that these languages survive.

John Clark

Great stuff Geoffrey, I’ve got quite a lot of welsh relatives in the Liverpudlian enclave of Angelsey (just like Russia and the Crimea), its great they are keeping the Welsh language alive, especially when you consider 40 years ago it was on the edge of disappearing.

Daniele Mandelli


Geoffrey said the following "Give it a rest Hywel… and make sure your facts are right"  Worth remembering that a lot speak Welsh and that it was here long before English
Geoffrey Roach

Well done Mike

Daniele Mandelli

Thanks. I find Welsh and Gaelic fascinating.

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken

😂 these dimwitted politicians really are an embarrassment however the people get the politicians they deserve a universal law that doesn’t change .Just as many congenital idiots down in the Welsh assembly it seems as populate Hollywood.

On a positive note though great to see it only took a couple of replies before the Scottish nationalist party were mentioned 😂😂😂😂 .👍🏻👏🏻 it wouldn’t be the UKDJ without them getting a big shout every 5 seconds. 😜


The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken

Or Westminster for that matter as couldn’t be bothered to look up which legislative joint he resides 😜

I’m not sure the adage of getting the politicians we deserve stands up any more mate. The all seem a bunch of shits out for themselves, certainly the ones who make to the top. Speaking of the SNP, its a big week ahead mate, its gonna be an extra big box of popcorn on the go when the ‘Eckgate’ committee toss in their hand grenade. That Oirish fellah Hamilton who’s doing the other ‘investigation’ on Wee Jimmy might be publishing too but as she seems a bit more relaxed about that one so maybe had ‘the wink’ that it will… Read more »

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken

99% of them are nothing but weasel like rats from every political spectrum bunch of Kent’s they are.

but aye this week hopefully something interesting happens on that front.


Geoffrey Roach

Andy P/ The Artist etc.
Easy way to solve your problem with politicians. Put your time where your mouth is and stand yourself.

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken

Alas if only it were that simple much currency is required to get elected without a party machine behind you. However your right with your sentiments


Andy P

What’s the bones of it Paul, I don’t subscribe to the Telegraph (or any paper).


Sadly, neither do I. I’m on a googling mission.

Andy P


Andy P

Cheers Paul, appreciate you doing the leg work.


Speaking as a lay-man in this area. Can we not have enough F35’s to go in first and target enemy air defences and gain the situational awareness, and then follow them up with much cheaper gen 4 aircraft?


I could see that working for the RAF. However, the only 4th gen fixed-wing strike aircraft capable of operating from HMS QE are Harriers, and we aren’t going to build/buy more Harriers. So that would mean adapting the carrier for other 4th gen, probably with cats and traps. this was previously ruled out by cost. One idea is that new and cheaper unmanned aircraft (drones) would bulk out F-35 operations, but that is some time away. The cost of purchasing the F-35 is massively defrayed by the fact that around 15% by value of the aircraft is made by British… Read more »

Last edited 4 days ago by Jon

“Gambling on the 6th generation Tempest project being ready in less than 10 years is folly.” Quite a gamble I agree. But feasible depending on the scope of Tempest, which may be more of a system common to a family of unmanned and manned aircraft. A lot of the building block technologies are well understood by BAE. Having been involved as F-35 tier 1 partners and Typhoon BAE must have a good understanding of 5th gen stealth, sensor fusion and radars. Taranis drone was successfully trialled some time ago. The MOD have issues RFI for heavy, drone capable catapults, presumably… Read more »


It will take them 3 years just to specify the interim replacement they’ll need when the gamble fails, then 5 more years to buy it! It’s not just the tech, it’s MOD procurement.

As for the catapults, I’d say there’s a chance they’ll go on an LSS, RORO conversion.

Last edited 4 days ago by Jon

That’s the gamble we are taking though!

I think it’s preferred to more upgrades of Typhoon given that it’s core concept is decades old (as are it’s peers).


Very thorough reply, i had not understood the complexity involved, thank you.


That’s wrong, here is a pic of the new aircraft for the QEC 🤣

John Clark

And why not Delabatte, we’ll buy some Rafale from you and you can buy a decent carrier from us👍😉😃


British Rafale with Rolls Royce engine!


Well, you never know….😉

Mark B

Project collaboration between the Brits and the French have a habit of going wrong. Perhaps an agreement for us to buy your kit if you buy substantial amounts of our kit could work. It might save us having to build everything ourselves. Would you be allowed to do this by the EU though – having built our planes you might not be able to ship them out of the Country.


I guess the best way of cooperation is the sweden way with the Tempest: contribute to criticals techs but built their own aircraft at the end. The commons techs will decrease the cost of both project uk+ swe and each country will have a plane that will satisfy their need


Fair play he got back to you guys at the UKDJ and made a bit of an effort at explaining himself, but, still could not bring himself to admitting he knows sweet FA and was just trying to spout a bit of chuff. Most of our MPs are totally clueless about any person or organisation which won’t drag them up a few weak votes.


Well it would almost be a carrier without aircraft if it wasn’t for the addition of USMC F-35Bs. lol

Wasp snorter

Ian Hislop said the same thing on question time on Thursday, aircraft carriers with no aircraft.


To be fair there are not that many parliamentary politicians who come out with a an apology any more. I actually think a lot of the issues with our democracy stem from this new bizarre culture of I “can’t admit to a mistake and can’t apologise“ . The simple truth is human beings make mistakes all the time, sometimes pretty major ones, especially with really complex decision making ( our brains use heuristic decision making most of the time and that means mistakes are not just inevitable, they are a required part of learning). You can only learn and improve… Read more »


2nd Attempt to post With so few planes ordered to be split between 2 carriers, after the many factors involved in generating air frames for combat. Taking into account standard maintenance, training , mechanical faults and dare I say it for the second time, losses in combat and accidents in training. Such a low stock of available aircraft would indicate the comment “Aircraft carriers without aircraft” does have some merit. When you can fill both carriers with a war footing load backed up by spares . Then you have aircraft carriers. True A light load of 12 F35B’s coming over… Read more »


It showed the aircraft carrier with machines taking of’

I am fairly sure he should have said ‘off’ maybes its best he leaves the twitter account to a member of staff.

What budget exactly do MP’s receive to hire such staff members to look after social media?