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F-35B Aircraft Land On HMS Queen Elizabeth For First Time

The aircraft have landed on deck of the UK's aircraft carrier for the first time.

F-35B aircraft have landed on the deck of the UK's new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time.

American F-35B Lightning II aircraft flown by British pilots, Royal Navy Commander Nathan Gray and RAF Squadron Leader Andy Edgell, were the first to land on board the carrier.

British jets will land on deck when HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to the UK.

The future flagship vessel of the Royal Navy left Portsmouth last month to begin flight trials in the US.

The Defence Secretary said: "The largest warship in British history is joining forces with the most advanced fighter jets on the planet."

'Carrier Strike capability is a reality'

Gavin Williamson went on to say: "This marks a rebirth of our power to strike decisively from the seas anywhere in the world.

"The historic first landing on the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth is a monumental moment in our country’s proud military history.

"It is also a statement of Britain’s determination to promote peace and prevent war."

The landings mark the start of more than 500 take-offs and touch-downs set to take place from the mammoth warship during the next 11 weeks, with the jets being put through their paces in a range of weather conditions.

F-35B first landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth

The F-35B fighter jets are the most advanced in the British military with a top speed of 1,200 mph and a price tag of £190 million each.

The aircraft arrived at their Marham home for the first time earlier this year, with a further five arriving in August.

Britain now has 16 of a planned 138 F-35B jets.

Rather than the traditional catapult launch, the F-35B will take off from HMS Queen Elizabeth via a ski jump ramp due to the jet's short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) capability.

The carrier will also be joined by Commando Merlin Mark 4 helicopters during the trials.

The return of ‘Carrier Strike’ to the UK comes eight years after a fighter jet last landed on a British carrier.

F-35B first landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth

Commanding Officer, Captain Jerry Kyd, who was also the captain of HMS Ark Royal when the last Harrier took off from a carrier, said: "I am quite emotional to be here in HMS Queen Elizabeth seeing the return of fixed wing aviation, having been the captain of the aircraft carrier which launched the last Harrier at sea nearly eight years ago.

“The regeneration of big deck carriers able to operate globally, as we are proving here on this deployment, is a major step forward for the United Kingdom’s defence and our ability to match the increasing pace of our adversaries."

F-35B first landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth

In recent operations, US aircraft carriers like the USS George HW Bush and USS Harry S. Truman have played a central role in the Gulf and the Mediterranean, conducting strikes against Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

This week’s flight trials come more than 100 years after the UK’s HMS Argus became the world's first carrier capable of safely launching and recovering naval aircraft.

HMS Queen Elizabeth will go on to continue her programme off the US east coast with the ship also expected to call into New York in the next 11 weeks.

The carrier is set to be deployed on global operations from 2021.

Last month, the second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, declared its operations room ready for ‘flashing up’.

More: HMS Queen Elizabeth: All You Need To Know About The Aircraft Carrier

F-35B first landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth