Getting To Know You: How The F-35B Is Settling In On Board HMS Queen Elizabeth

Crew working on board HMS Queen Elizabeth have been demonstrating how the F-35B is working with the aircraft carrier.

In the past few weeks, F-35B aircraft have conducted night flying trials on HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time and conducted the first F-35B landings and takeoffs from its deck using American aircraft flown by British pilots.

Royal Navy Commander Nathan Gray and RAF Squadron Leader Andy Edgell were the first pilots to land the aircraft on the flight deck of the carrier.

The night-time tests were carried out with and without the aid of night-vision technology, with the pilots and aircraft handlers successfully guiding the Lightning II fighter jets onto the flight deck.

Pilots initially flew in using only ambient light and the lights on the carrier’s deck before later conducting landings using the night-vision capability in their helmets.

F-35 first landing
HMS Queen Elizabeth is able to embark up to 36 of the supersonic jets (Picture: MoD).

F-35B aircraft landed on the deck of the UK's new aircraft carrier for the first time last week - American F-35B Lightning II aircraft flown by British pilots.

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

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

The UK's F-35B 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.

More: What Makes Up A Carrier Strike Group?

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