WATCH: HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Florida

Watch as HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Mayport, Florida earlier in the week having completed her first trans-Atlantic voyage.

The deployment, known as ‘WESTLANT 18’, is the first-time HMS Queen Elizabeth has sailed across the Atlantic.

As well as the vital deck trials, the Royal Navy say it will also involve exercises to prove the ability to operate with other nations’ maritime and aviation assets, as well as the landing of Royal Marines and their equipment ashore in the United States, to conduct training with their US counterparts.

The carrier was joined by Type-23 Frigate HMS Monmouth, as well as Merlin Mk2 helicopters from 820 Naval Air Squadron, RNAS Culdrose, Mk 4 Merlins from 845 Naval Air Squadron, RNAS Yeovilton and a contingent of Royal Marines from 42 Commando, Plymouth. RFA Tiderace is expected to join her soon.

It is understood that around 200 trials support staff will be joined by two ‘orange wired’ F-35 test aircraft, belonging to the Integrated Test Force (ITF), which are expected to conduct 500 take offs and landings during their 11-week period at sea.

The aim of these initial, or ‘developmental’ trials are to ascertain, through the specially equipped aircraft and sensors around the ship, the operating parameters of the aircraft and ship, in a range of conditions. Similar successful trials were conducted by HMS Queen Elizabeth at sea earlier this year for Rotary Wing aircraft.

HMS Queen Elizabeth Commanding Officer, Capt Jerry Kyd said:

“This deployment to the United States will be another first for my ship. Crossing a major ocean with 1500 sailors, aircrew and Marines embarked and the spectacle of the first F-35B Lightning landing on the deck in September is very exciting for us all.

It has been an incredible journey since we left Rosyth just over a year ago and we are all looking forward to this next, seminal chapter in HMS Queen Elizabeth’s life.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. Would n’t it be great if we could get enough F35Bs in UK service that we do not have to have US marines corps onboard to pan out the aircraft numbers onboard to an adequate level. it is likely during IOC for the QE carriers that just 1 uk squadron of F35Bs will be onboard and a further 1-2 squadrons of US marine F35Bs will be onboard.
    The MOD needs to just get on and order enough F35Bs to justify our tier 1 partner role and to equip both carriers with 24-36 F35Bs if necessary for surge in carrier operations.
    I think mathematically that means an active fleet of 96+ aircraft in service. So a follow on order of 48 more F35Bs should do it.
    I am also worried about the age old interservice rivalry and the RAF trying to undermine carrier strike by ordering the A variant of the F35 instead of the B version.
    We definitely should not have a mixed fleet until we have surpassed the 96 aircraft of the B variant needed.
    How many F35Bs will be labelled as Fleet Air Arm? hopefully at least 4 squadrons. So even if RAF not willing or available to support the QE class carriers both carriers could deploy with 24 aircraft each.

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