The Royal Navy sent six sailors, from Navy command headquarters in Portsmouth, England, to integrate into Wasp’s flight deck operations to prepare them for their upcoming Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
Her Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Illustrious was the last carrier in British service before being decommissioned in 2014 and will soon be replaced by its advanced counterparts HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
The Royal Navy stopped working with fixed wing aircraft in 2010, so the reintroduction of carriers in the British fleet requires personnel who can safely run a flight deck. The two new carriers are expected to operate the short take-off and vertical landing variant of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, with flight trials expecting to start in 2018.
This is not the first time the U.S. Navy’s amphibious assault ship has hosted Royal Navy sailors with Queen Elizabeth-class carrier preparations in mind. Back in 2013, a Royal Navy pilot completed a week of development testing II (DT-II) of F-35B Lightning II jets aboard USS Wasp.
Wasp is deployed with the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations which is headquartered in Naples, Italy.