Members of the flying control and flight deck control teams on-board the British Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) have worked alongside the F-35 Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) team ahead of the new F-35 Lightning II jet’s initial test programme.
The F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft is currently slated to carry out its first trials on-board the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier during the third quarter of this year.
Almost 20 personnel from the R08 team witnessed the F-35B test aircraft BF-02 and BF-04 taxi, conduct short takeoffs and perform two vertical landings each as part of the exercise.
HMS Queen Elizabeth Commander Air Royal Navy commander James Blackmore said: “It’s the first time they’ve ever seen the jet or been up and close to it as it’s performing its flight manoeuvres, so they got to feel the environment of what it’s like, the sort of noise, the heat, the sound and the pressure of the aircraft, so that when it comes to deck for the first time, it’s not a surprise.”
Blackmore is in charge of all aviation activities carried out on-board all Royal Navy vessels that are specifically designed to handle the F-35 Lightning II aircraft.
The flight deck of the 65,000t HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier has been developed to accommodate helicopters and the F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL), added Blackmore.
The F-35 Lightning II aircraft is a fifth-generation fighter jet that combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility.
It is equipped with fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and increased sustainment capabilities compared to previous models.