19 Oct 2017

Defence Minister clears F-35 fighter jet for take-off

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin has announced at the House of Commons Defence Select Committee that the UK’s cutting-edge F-35 fighter jet has been cleared for take-off from HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Ms Baldwin told the Select Committee that he F-35 Integrated Test Force, which includes five British pilots, has now successfully completed ski ramp trials on the UK’s flagship.

That milestone clears the aircraft for take-off from the deck of the Carrier.

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said: “Successful ski-ramp trials mean the F-35 is cleared to fly from the carrier as the momentum continues for this game-changing jet. This milestone comes as our pilots and planes prepare to return from the States, ready for next year’s unforgettable flight trials from the deck of the nation’s new flagship.”

The UK currently has 12 F-35 jets out in the United States where they are being tested ahead of flight trials from the Royal Navy’s 65,000 tonne carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, next year. Two more aircraft are to be delivered by the end of the year.

Speaking about the jet, Squadron Leader Andy Edgell, part of that Integrated Test Force, said: “She’s a masterful piece of engineering and it makes her so effortless to fly. It’s impossible not to be exhilarated every time. She’s a beast when you want her to be and tame when you need her to be. She’s beautiful.

“The launch of the F35s from the HMS Queen Elizabeth is a once in a generation historical event. To be the first to fly off the carrier, to have a front row seat, would be an absolute privilege. It wouldn’t just be about the pilot – there are hundreds of people who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to make this happen and the honour will be theirs too.”

image © Crown Copyright

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