Military

Royal Navy returns to the strike carrier business with first F-35B landing

Royal Navy returns to the stri...
The F-35B can land vertically
The F-35B can land vertically
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Two F-35 fighters in flight
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Two F-35 fighters in flight
F-35B approaching HMS Queen Elizabeth
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F-35B approaching HMS Queen Elizabeth
Two F-35B fighters overflying HMS Queen Elizabeth
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Two F-35B fighters overflying HMS Queen Elizabeth
Two F-35B fighters banking
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Two F-35B fighters banking
F-35B in VSTOL mode
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F-35B in VSTOL mode
F-35B making landing approach
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F-35B making landing approach
F-35B on final landing run
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F-35B on final landing run
F-35B with task force in the distance
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F-35B with task force in the distance
HMS Queen Elizabeth with training task force
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HMS Queen Elizabeth with training task force
HMS Queen Elizabeth as seen from above
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HMS Queen Elizabeth as seen from above
HMS Queen Elizabeth showing her ski jump
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HMS Queen Elizabeth showing her ski jump
HMS Queen Elizabeth
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HMS Queen Elizabeth
HMS Queen Elizabeth replenishing at sea
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HMS Queen Elizabeth replenishing at sea
Bridge island of HMS Queen Elizabeth
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Bridge island of HMS Queen Elizabeth
The September 25 landing was an historic first for the Royal Navy
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The September 25 landing was an historic first for the Royal Navy
F-35B coming in to land
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F-35B coming in to land
A second F-35B lands vertically
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A second F-35B lands vertically
F-35 B fighters on deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth
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F-35 B fighters on deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth
Flight control island of HMS Queen Elizabeth
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Flight control island of HMS Queen Elizabeth
F-35B taking off
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F-35B taking off
HMS Queen Elizabeth can carry up to 24 fighters plus helicopters and drones
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HMS Queen Elizabeth can carry up to 24 fighters plus helicopters and drones
F-35B being signaled in
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F-35B being signaled in
The F-35B can land vertically
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The F-35B can land vertically
F-35B taxiing
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F-35B taxiing
F-35B cockpit view
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F-35B cockpit view
RN Commander Gray
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RN Commander Gray
F-35B being greeted after landing
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F-35B being greeted after landing
F-35B powering up for takeoff
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F-35B powering up for takeoff
F-35B using vectored thrust for takeoff
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F-35B using vectored thrust for takeoff
The F-35B will be the carrier's main armament
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The F-35B will be the carrier's main armament
F-35B hovering
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F-35B hovering
F-35B tied to deck to prevent sliding
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F-35B tied to deck to prevent sliding
F-35B as seen from the bridge
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F-35B as seen from the bridge
F-35B being given go for takeoff
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F-35B being given go for takeoff
F-35B arriving
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F-35B arriving
The F-35B is a supersonic fighter
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The F-35B is a supersonic fighter
F-35B and safety chase helicopter
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F-35B and safety chase helicopter
F-35B and HMS Queen Elizabeth pennant number
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F-35B and HMS Queen Elizabeth pennant number
View gallery - 38 images

The Royal Navy re-entered the strike carrier business as the first two F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters touched down on the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth on September 25. Under the control of Royal Navy Commander Nathan Gray and RAF Squadron Leader Andy Edgell, the VSTOL aircraft landed on the deck of the supercarrier before taking off using the ship's ski jump on the first of more than 500 take-offs and landings scheduled over the next 11 weeks.

The largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy, HMS Queen Elizabeth and its crew of 1,400 sailors, flight crew, and Royal Marines is currently in the Atlantic off the US Eastern Seaboard. This is the ship's first visit to the United States where it will take onboard the first of up to 24 of the supersonic fighters and carry out joint maneuvers with British and foreign naval vessels.

Though this is the first time a fixed-wing aircraft has landed and taken off from a British warship since HMS Ark Royal was decommissioned in 2011, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force pilots have continued training in the United States on an exchange program to maintain the skill sets needed for carrier operations. This included thousands of hours of simulator practice, test flying the F-35 variants, and working as flight crews aboard US Navy carriers.

F-35B in VSTOL mode
F-35B in VSTOL mode

The Royal Navy says HMS Queen Elizabeth and the F-35Bs will be put through a number of trials over next next few weeks in various sea and weather conditions as part of a task force that will include the Type 23 frigate HMS Monmouth and the US Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Lassen. Afterwards, the carrier will pay a goodwill visit to New York City.

"No words can explain how it felt to turn the corner at 500 mph (805 km/h) and see HMS Queen Elizabeth awaiting the arrival of her first F-35 jets. I feel incredibly privileged," says Commander Gray. "For a naval aviator it is always a special moment when you spot the carrier in the distance, hidden within a gray expanse of ocean. HMS Queen Elizabeth is a floating city, home to hundreds of fellow sailors and Royal Marines, and it's been a particularly poignant day."

F-35B using vectored thrust for takeoff
F-35B using vectored thrust for takeoff

HMS Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to enter full service in 2021, followed shortly by her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, which is currently completing construction in Scotland.

The video below shows the historic landing and takeoff.

Source: Royal Navy

HMS Queen Elizabeth first deck landings | Royal Navy

View gallery - 38 images
3 comments
Derek Howe
Awesome. Nice to hear some good news on the F-35, it's a great aircraft, but like virtually every new aircraft, it takes a while to work out all the issues.
ljaques
Cool. Good to see the $122M plane perform well. And they ended the vid with great music, too. #alwayshardrocker
guzmanchinky
That is a very good looking jet. If there's one thing the Americans do best it's military aircraft.