Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has reached the United States for planned F-35B flight trials.
On September 5, the 65,000-ton ship arrived at Mayport Florida for its first port call on Westland18 to re-supply before beginning final preparations for F-35B when she will land fast jets on deck for the first time.
HMS Queen Elizabeth departed her homeport of Portsmouth in the second half of August after conducting trials in UK waters.
Our first line is secure, HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH is now alongside Mayport Florida; and what better way to announce our arrival than with a nod to our Lady Sponsor performed splendidly by the @RMBandService #GodSaveTheQueen #GreatBritain #Westlant18 pic.twitter.com/0MY2mEJDLi
— HMS Queen Elizabeth (@HMSQnlz) September 5, 2018
During her three months off the east coast of the USA, HMS Queen Elizabeth and her escort, Type-23 frigate HMS Monmouth will conduct training serials with the US Navy and Marine Corps.
A Major from the US Marine Corps will join three British test pilots in conducting the first deck landings onboard the ship, in the F‑35B variant of the Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.
F-35B trials are said to be an important step in the Royal Navy’s path to achieving a carrier strike group capability, something the UK has been without since the Invincible-class aircraft carrier left service.
An initial carrier strike operating capability is expected to be reached by December 2020, while a Carrier Enabled Power Projection (CEPP) capability is expected by 2026.