11 Sep 2018

HMS Queen Elizabeth arrival makes waves in Mayport, Florida

HMS Queen Elizabeth is making waves in Mayport, Florida as the iconic aircraft carrier celebrates her long awaited debut off American shores.

Weighing a colossal 65,000 tonnes, HMS Queen Elizabeth began her first ever transatlantic voyage last month. She will now carry out on-deck trails with F-35B Lightning II test fighters from the Integrated Test Force, based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

The aircraft carrier and her escort, the Type-23 frigate HMS Monmouth, will remain off the east coast of the United States for a three month period. Training serials will take place with the US Navy and Marine Corps, which will help to build military ties and demonstrate the vessel’s enhanced Carrier Strike interoperability.

It is thought that a major from the US Marine Corps (USMC) will join three British test pilots to conduct the first deck landings on-board the vessel in the F‑35B variant of the Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. The USMC will operate F-35B fighter jets – along with UK squadrons from the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force – from HMS Queen Elizabeth once she is fully operational in 2021.

HMS Queen Elizabeth Commanding Officer, Captain Jerry Kyd said: “This deployment to the United States is another first for my ship. Crossing a major ocean with 1,500 sailors, aircrew and marines embarked and the anticipation of the first F-35B Lightning landing on the deck in September is very exciting for us all. It has been an incredible journey since we left build in Scotland just over a year ago and we are all looking forward to this next, seminal chapter in HMS Queen Elizabeth’s life.”

Commodore Andrew Betton added: “As a critical step towards delivering the UK’s new Carrier Strike Group, this deployment demonstrates the astonishing collaborative effort that will enable the new F-35B jets to fly routinely from our Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

“At the heart of the Maritime Task Group, the aircraft carrier is well protected and sustained, ready to operate around the world as a potent and exceptionally flexible instrument of our foreign policy. The first F-35B embarked trials in a UK aircraft carrier are not only key to future operational success, but represent an iconic moment for the modern Royal Navy.”

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