The HMS Queen Elizabeth, the aircraft carrier belonging to the Royal Navy has left her home port of Portsmouth and is bound for the USA. On arrival in the USA, the 65,000-tonne carrier will embark two F-35B test aircraft, from the Integrated Test Force (ITF), based out of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.
This will be the first time in almost a decade, that a British aircraft carrier flies a fast jet from her decks. ‘Operational testing’, utilising British F-35B aircraft are scheduled to take place on board HMS Queen Elizabeth next year.
500 take offs and landings (commencing September) are expected to be conducted over the 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.
This will be the first-time that HMS Queen Elizabeth will have sailed across the Atlantic and the deployment is known as ‘WESTLANT 18’.