HMS Queen Elizabeth has received a ‘flying visit’ from a US Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey aircraft.

The MV-22B variant is an assault transport for troops, equipment and supplies, capable of operating from ships or expeditionary airfields ashore. It replaced the US Marine Corps CH-46E and CH-53D fleets.

Late last month, F-35 jets landed on aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time. The event marked the first time an F-35 has ever landed on a non-American vessel and it helps bring an end to the eight-year hiatus since a British aircraft carrier last operated a fast jet from its deck.

On the 25th of September Royal Navy Commander Nathan Gray made history by being the first to land an F-35B on HMS Queen Elizabeth.

He was followed by Squadron Leader Andy Edgell, RAF, both of whom are test pilots, operating with the Integrated Test Force (ITF) based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

Shortly afterwards, once a deck inspection has been conducted and the all-clear given, Cdr Gray became the first pilot to take off using the ship’s ski-ramp.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“The largest warship in British history is joining forces with the most advanced fighter jets on the planet. This marks a rebirth of our power to strike decisively from the seas anywhere in the world. The historic first landing on the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth is a monumental moment in our country’s proud military history. It is also a statement of Britain’s determination to promote peace and prevent war.”

The landings mark the start of more than 500 take-offs and touch-downs set to take place from the mammoth warship during the next 11-weeks, with the jets being put through their paces in a range of weather conditions.

Commanding Officer, Capt Jerry Kyd, who was also the captain of HMS Ark Royal when the last Harrier took off from a carrier, said:

“I am quite emotional to be here in HMS Queen Elizabeth seeing the return of fixed wing aviation, having been the captain of the aircraft carrier which launched the last Harrier at sea nearly eight years ago.

The regeneration of big deck carriers able to operate globally, as we are proving here on this deployment, is a major step forward for the United Kingdom’s defence and our ability to match the increasing pace of our adversaries. The first touch-downs of these impressive stealth jets shows how the United Kingdom will continue to be world leaders at sea for generations to come.”

Commander UK Carrier Strike Group, Cdre Andrew Betton added:

“The Queen Elizabeth Class carriers have been specifically designed and built to operate the F-35 Lightning, offering an immensely flexible and potent combination to deliver military effect around the world.

Conducting these trials is a critical and exciting step on this journey and I applaud the many thousands of civilian and military personnel who have played a part in bringing the strategic ambition to reality.”

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Bit of a demo to the MOD perhaps? Oh look what we can fly from our new shiny carriers!


Probably just a ‘flying’ visit – a Sea Stallion visited Queen Elizabeth the other day, and I don’t think the MOD have any plans to buy them!

I think alot of people would like to see the Osprey in service with the RN, but personally, I’d like to see the Merlins in storage upgraded.


Validation, you do a test landing and sign off each model as compatible for landing, if there are any issues they can be addressed so that in future if theres a logistical/combat need you have no worries.


I have to admit (although it will never happen) they do look awfully smart on QE’s deck!

Would be nice to see the RN get a dedicated compliment of 6-8 of these to allow simultaneous landing of a company sized detachment in the event of QE/POW being used in the Amphibious role as planned!

I know RAF/Chinook will do the job just as well, but don’t they look fancy!

Even better in the AAR role… We can all dream!


The main benefit of them is in the replenishment role. We could fly parts and personnel to the carriers much easier due to the much bigger range than the chinooks. But they are pretty expensive at almost twice the cost.


(Chris H) Lee1 – FSS will have 2 of the Rolls Royce developed Heavy Replenishment at Sea (HRAS) systems capable of lifting 5 ton lumps (like F35 engines) reducing the need for a heavier lift helo / Osprey. Having said that I know people on here are making the case for Ospreys but they are very expensive to buy and maintain and I am not convinced they are the right tool for the jobs mentioned elsewhere. I think we need to define the problem first and then create the solution. If pushed I would suggest the Agusta Westland AW609 in… Read more »

R Cummings



(Chris H) E Cummings – Can I ask what the ‘For Fuck Sake’ was for?

Glass Half Full

Presuming you meant to question FSS then its short for Fleet Solid Support ships, the 2-3 new replacements for Fort Austin and Fort Rosalie RFA ships due to go out of service in 2023/4


The Chinooks are very capable, but the Osprey does the job much faster & at longer ranges, which is a big plus. Ospreys or the next tilt rotor development would also be great COD, aerial tankers & AEW platforms for our carriers.


With you on the AAR role. Plus perhaps ASW, controlled by Merlins, dropping torpedoes.

Daniele Mandelli

What gets cut to pay for them if MoD ordered half a dozen for a small RNAS for QEC?

Luxury item surely given its cost.

David Steeper

Spot on.


The RAF Regiment.
According to 2012 figures its running costs alone are £120milion per year. Its job can be and frequently is done by the Army. Redistribute that much needed wasted cash to the Army and RN to pay for the Osprey and extra Engineers.
A fleet of RN operated MV22 would transform the carriers into truly capable power projection assets. They are adaptable though expensive per flying hour the possiblity of Crowsnest and tanker transport practically kicks the chinook off the deck.
A true Gannet replacement.

Daniele Mandelli

Not being in the military I have none of the anti RAF Regiment bias I often read from army types.

But I have often wondered myself how the RAF Reg survives, and whether an army infantry battalion could not be allocated into the air support role on a permanent basis.

We have plenty of them with no discernable role after all.


Problem being twofold, the RAF reg are justified in the RAF core budget as they state they are “air minded” and understand the air force concept of operations, and that if they are binned then the Army will be tasked to take on the role. Correct Daniele that there are a number of light role in Battalions with no obvious discernable role, but a large number of these Battalions are already back filling any units which are training for, or are on ops. The Army does not want to tie in another commitment by stagging on Air Fields etc, but… Read more »


P Company may not exist in the RAF Regt but Pre-Para does (or perhaps Did now!). I know, I commanded the course for two years at RAF Catterick. The three week pre-requisite course for the Parachute Sqn. may not have been as intensive as P Company but it certainly fulfilled the criteria for being a “Para”.

Daniele Mandelli

Which begs the question Airborne if those Infantry battalions are being used as backfill for other units that’s not only a dreadful state if affairs but why are they being maintained as separate identities? Is this the “Cap Badge Mafia” again? In A2020 and A2020 Refine the RS, RA, RE, REME, RLC have all been hit and those enablers are needed. Well it is the Joint SFSG so at least they are represented! Mainly from 2 Squadron I believe, the para trained outfit? There is no way anyone can seriously compare the RAF Reg to the Corps of RM or… Read more »


To be fair the RAF Regiment do a specialist role that the army would have to fill if they were disbanded. It would mean the Army residing on RAF Bases etc and would either take from the Army numbers or would mean the army simply having to take on the same number of people to fulfil the role. You might as well keep the Regiment…

They also provide the specialist CBRN

Daniele Mandelli

Hi Lee1.

They provide CBRN through the CBRN Wing because JMG stupidly cut the Joint CNRN Regiment in 2010. Patyvofcthst was 27 Squadron RAF Reg.

I understand it’s days are numbered and the army will assume the role again.

BV Buster

Oh I missed a good old RAF Reg rant, it’s not too late to post something shitty is it? Going to do it anyway. They are already on the chopping block, they know it and yes they do think they are a cut above an Army line infantry unit even though they do not train in anything larger then Coy size. All the lads I have worked with have an opposite setup to an Inf unit, usually in Army units the junior lads are alright but get more and more up their own arse as you go up through the… Read more »


BV, never ever to late to bash base rat Bastion specials. Come on BV you know damn well that Costa was dangerous in KAF, hot drinks everywhere, possible spillage, stained combat trousers and having to get laundered every day. And then, they have to go ” outside the wire” aaaaaaaaaagh! The problem with these boys is that they believe their own press, and that my friend is a dangerous place to be.


Oh and BV have to laugh at the 2 Sqn lads, as most think their badge is some sort of SF wings, when in facts it’s from when they were a Rolls Royce armoured car company in the 20s, 30s, and the central part is the forward facing tyre of a Rolls Royce armoured car, with a set of griffin wings on them.

David Taylor

You know why they are called Crye? The price.

BV Buster

KAF had better facilities the most package holidays, I would genuinely take my wife and kids there for a weekend away. I’m not ammo expended yet, own osprey shooting (remember that one), 5 miler of death running, soon to be redundant bunch of lizards. It’s not their fault, if you get told you are amazing SF sorts but never actually meet anyone other then soft fluffy light blue chaps then you can see why they fall for it. This feels like kicking the defenceless, do we have any RAF bods that’s can bat for the other side (There us a… Read more »


Yes!!!! The RAF regiment is the bizarre sacred cow of the great rear echelon. Time it went and we fund some front line Army and Navy systems.

David Taylor

MV-22 would be a nightmare. I would rather have more Merlin.

You can’t knock it what it does.

David steeper



Ah Ali I see you are a member of the Sharkey Ward school of military thinking that sees anything that the RAF does as something to be cut and the money handed over to the Royal Navy to buy whatever Toy the Armchair Admirals fancy. The RAF has the Regiment for the same reason that the Royal Navy has the Marines, it is far easier to boss around people who guard your facilities if they are within your force structure than outside it. The Regiment also does some tasks that are unique to the RAF like Airfield bomb disposal that… Read more »


(Chris H) Fedaykin – Good to find myself agreeing with you on this. The logic seems to be “lets cut the RAF Regiment, get the army to do that job and transfer that £120 Mn to the Navy to buy an Osprey …” Except of course the Army are short of numbers for the tasks they have. No problem! Transfer the RAF lads and lasses to the Army … oh wait noooo .. that may take the £120 Mn it already costs… So: No new toys for the Andrew, pissed of bunch of Crabs now with the Pongos doing the… Read more »


It happens, a broken clock is correct twice a day and all that… In the end it boils down to the fact that the RAF just the same as the RN and Army need to have bods with rifles guarding stuff. If the Army is guarding RAF stuff, does it come out of the Army core budget or RAF? Are those soldiers detached from their unit to guard RAF stuff? Just the same as the tired old argument that people don’t join the RAF to go to sea it likewise goes that people didn’t join the Army to guard an… Read more »


No offence but research is needed… you have clearly answered the reason for scrapping them within your own argument. Jobs for the boys? The RAF Regiment was created to stop the Nazis doing a Crete to the UK. .Oh and to rival Goering’s Luffwaffe Divisions for propaganda purposes. Its reason to exist actually disappeared in the late 1980’s when mobile area air defence got a lot better. As with the Royal Artillery. It is a total waste of effort. The recruiting Sergeants could easily send people who want to be soldiers to the Army. It costs a fortune over and… Read more »


No you are still spouting utterly partisan nonsense Ali, so no offence taken.

I find it funny that you are asking others to do more research when you clearly have done none yourself beyond what is written on the Phoenix Thinktank website…


my personal feeling is that this was more than just a flying visit, you can bet every pound that the flight was monitored and assessed, so that maybe the future capability of an embarkment of both royal marines and US marines could potentially take place. at least now they know the capability is there since the osprey has touched down on deck. since its almost certain that QE will be sailing as part of a mixed battle group it makes sense that she would also potentially welcome US marines on board in case of trouble too.

David Taylor

If we go to war with the US from the sea the chances are our carriers will be used in conjunction with the USN amphibians and the USMC. USN LHx configured for assault would have 22 MV-22 aboard. So either the could fly from our ships (which would look very spectacular) or perhaps their F35b would be moved from the the LHx to our carriers. This is why we should be doubling down on our amphibious capability instead of cutting marine numbers. (Just as Japan and Australia and Italians are investing in the capability.)


I’ve never really been a fan of the MV22, apparently troops love them as they feel less exposed when flying over a hostile environment but I feel the MV22 is a bit overly complex especially when the air frames get older and need additional maintenance.
The US is already moving onto a second tilt rotar design so if the UK was to select a design I think they would be better holding off until the concept has a longer track record.


Will never be as risky as a Chinook, which has killed more men than the L85…

David Taylor

Each MV-22 is practically a sub-type in its own right. It’s a mess technically.


Forget about it, no money.


Can it do a ski jump take off with higher payload?Not that we’ll get any, but might help USMC with their UK taxpayer funded carriers.


They are much faster than helis which means less time in danger for troops being transported, plus are much longer range. Lifesavers.


Well it certainly can do rolling take-offs. Not sure how the airframe would handle the ski jump though (or come to that matter, whether the ski jump has been built to take something that big and heavy).

David Taylor

I hope we some photos of MV22 from above on QE’s flighdeck so we can some scale.

MV-22 are very ‘Gerry Anderson’ but they would be a nightmare for us. We are struggling to find funds for more conventional beasts. At what £55 million a pop just not worth it.

Captain P Wash

This Is All Good, I’m of the opinion someone has their Eye on the Ball In regards to Future Capability. Not least the possibility of Air to Air Refuelling. With 24 F35B’s Embarked as Standard This will leave Adequate Space for Ospreys. Does anyone know If they Fit the Lifts and Hanger ?


They do.

Captain P Wash

Thanks, I rest my case.


The carriers were designed from the start to be accommodate the Osprey, clearly someone, somewhere,was thinking very long term…

Daniele Mandelli

These things flew over London a few years back from Mildenhall and it gave rise to reports in the media that UKSF are interested or had actually purchased.

With the UK spotter fraternity I find this impossible to believe, they’d be seen in no time, and photographed.

Captain P Wash

It was Chinooks, Flying Sideways !


When Donald Trump came a couple of months ago three of them circled over Muswell Hill in north London for about an hour.


Well she is just a big helicopter carrier, so why not land big helicopters (ish).


(Chris H) – and the prize for pointless post of the week goes to …..


As Chris has posted I personally think that the aw609 would be of better benefit as AEW&C is an important role and therefore having something that can go high and stay high for longer. And it would free up merlins in terms of other roles perhaps the valor tilt rotor would be a good addition especially for personnel recovery, sf insertion and supporting amphibious assault. The valor could also replace the pumas? Potentially this may depend upon the outcome of the USAs competition but just a thought as possible cheaper option? Obviously got to wait though


Are you aware that the civilian AW609 is about the same size & capacity as a Wildcat?

There is no military version.


(Chris H) Ron5 – Well the Dash – 8 was civilian until it became the KC-135 Stratotanker, the RC-135 Rvet Joint and the E-3 Sentry. The A330 was civilian until it became the Voyager. The 737 was civilian until it became the P-8 and E-7 … Etc etc My point about the AW609 was made because a) it is now a UK / Italian project and we would directly benefit here in the UK, b) It is therefore easier to tailor for our needs, c) being smaller and lighter are actually big pluses on board a carrier and d) AEW… Read more »


If you visit the leonardo site they are offering it in military versions and are developing drop tanks etc. For AEW&C we don’t need a large aircraft the current crowsnest only has a few operators in the back most of the information will be data linked to the carriers. But the higher you go the greater your over the horizon ability


Just to add the aw609 has a pressurised cabin so is really the only option for high AEW&C unless you want the crew to wear oxygen masks for long periods of time


You are sooooooo wrong about Crowsnest.

And a few words on a site describing an Italian aircraft that isn’t even in production after one of the longest development efforts doesn’t mean squat. Bell withdrew from the program for very good reasons.


(Chris H) Ron5 – So correct us on Crowsnest and why it wouldn’t provide better protection flown 10,000 feet higher than a Merlin? And I suspect those of us commenting have read far more than what Leonardo are publishing. Bell went with Lockheed Martin for one main reason – They knew they would never get a foot in with US Senators regardless of what the US Army want if some pesky foreign outfit was involved. And Agusta Westland have been there before with Lockheed Martin with the ‘Marine One’ Merlins so I suspect they wanted out as well. The other… Read more »


This was incorrect:

“For AEW&C we don’t need a large aircraft the current crowsnest only has a few operators in the back most of the information will be data linked to the carriers”

The Italian AW609, if it ever becomes a military aircraft which I doubt, is way too small to be useful to the RN.

I’m ignoring your ridiculous anti American paranoia.


(Chris H) Ron5 – Sadly no response to my request to disprove Crowsnest is not better cover at higher altitude and just an unsupported opinion on a statement about numbers of personnel. A Merlin changing from the ASW role to ASaC / AEW will have its dipping sonar, sonobuoy carousel and consoles removed before Crowsnest equipment is added. That takes 24 hours, requires a pre-prepared airframe and removes one asset from ASW defence. Adding AW609s already fitted with Crowsnest adds to protection not reduces it. And it requires two operators in addition to the two pilots. And then you say… Read more »

John Clark

My peneth worth…. If the money was made available and Air Tanker cleared it without a massive payout, I would purchase a limited number (12) V22’s.

I would procure the developed COD US Navy version and add AAR capability, plus the ability to use the Crows nest system.

5 or 6 adaptive and easily and quickly re rolled V22’s would provide a very considerable boost to the active carrier.

To add to this, I would proceed with the development of external fuel tanks for the F35B.

However without a serious increase in defence spending, it’s pure fantasy fleets stuff unfortunately.


Nice photo….

comment image

181005-N-WX604-0192 BALTIMORE (Oct. 5, 2018) The Duke-class Type 23 frigate HMS Monmouth (F 235) is moored in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor during Maryland Fleet Week and Air Show Baltimore 2018. Maryland Fleet Week and Air Show Baltimore is Baltimore’s celebration of the sea services and provides an opportunity for the citizens of Maryland and the city of Baltimore to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as see firsthand the latest capabilities of today’s maritime services. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph E. Montemarano/Released)



(Chris H) Helions – I hope Monmouth looked the other way as it passed Fort McHenry!

Great words for your second National Anthem written right there. Very inspirational. All sung to a Royal Navy drinking song …

You can’t get rid of us that easily …

And Cheers ….


It was a rather bawdy one too as i recall Chris… 😀 “Yankee Doodle” has similar origins. British troops mocked the American revolutionaries as “Doodles” so they adopted the title in defiance. A “Yankee” I believe was a Scottish term for a sharp woman…. Interesting etymology in many of these old words… The “White House” is only white to hide the burn marks from a rather low point in the War of 1812 for us as well… We did reciprocate at New Orleans two weeks AFTER the Treaty of Ghent was signed. 😀

Cheers to you!


(Chris H) Helions – There is of course a wonderful consistency in your Anthems. Your first – “America” (My Country, Tis of Thee)” – was sung to the tune of our National Anthem – “God Save the Queen” – or King as it was in the late 1800s. A touch of irony as well given poor old King George III was not long gone in 1831.

You love us all really ….

Any more cheers and I will be half cut ..


“Hail Columbia” is actually my favorite followed by the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. You know, the one they played at Winston Churchill’s funeral… 😀

Cheers! 😀


(Chris H) Helions – On the ‘preferred Anthems’ theme I guess the ‘unofficial’ UK Anthem is ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and to witness its rendering in finest British eccentricity look no further than ‘the Last Night of the proms’!


It is of course part of Elgar’s ‘Pomp & Circumstance’ Suite which contains so much that is thoroughly ‘British’. I confess the old eyes do tear up …


(Chris H) Helions – Of course being English I have to add ‘our’ Anthem: ‘Jerusalem’.

Sung here by the West Point Choir. Never was a finer compliment paid by Americans to us old Brits.


Lord, I have to listen to “Hope and Glory” till it runs out my ears with my expat friend Keith after the proms. I thought “Green and Pleasant Land” (Dark and Rainy?) was the hymn for England. Given a preference my choice is always:



(Chris H) Helions – You are right because that line is the last line of the last verse of ‘Jerusalem’:
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Til we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land

And while ‘Rule Britannia’ is a stirring hymn I defer to the ‘Hope and Glory’ of the future as I know Britannia’s days of ruling the waves ended in WWII.

And as a Brit I really should keep out of the American Civil War ..

Cheers .. (Hic!)


Ah! Thanks for clearing that up! I’ll leave you with one final thing. The West Point Choir is fine, however, if you want to see a really massive cadet band and corps – then you have to see Texas A&M’s. Largest producer of U.S. military officers in the country. The sheer size is amazing…

Cheers (hope your heads still there! 😀


There would be advantages to the Osprey for both Commando and Refueling roles. But if there us soare cash 25 new build Merlin HM2s would be better.

Captain P Wash

I’ll keep my fingers crossed !


Referencing AEW, the JMSDF is buying NINE more E2D’s… They already have 4 on order I believe and they were thought to be looking at another 5. The PLAN is really getting on their nerves and this only reinforces my belief that a CATOBAR (2 hull class) carrier is in the near future for them after experimenting with the Izumo class and F35B’s. This will make them by far the largest operator of the type outside the USN.


Paul Westwood

One use for the Ofspray operating from our carriers could be special opps, given the Ofspray’s longer range. Maybe just two or three for the role?