ITF Team Nears Historic Testing with HMS Queen Elizabeth

September 13, 2018 – The F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force (ITF) is nearing another milestone as they prepare to embark two F-35Bs on board the United Kingdom’s newest aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth for First of Class Flight Trials (Fixed Wing), or FOCFT (FW), this fall. Nearly 200 ITF personnel—active duty U.S. and U.K. military, DOD civilians as well as contractors from DOD and industry—will join the ship’s 1,500-person crew in making history when the two jets land on the British carrier. The event will be the first time…

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HMS Queen Elizabeth Arrives at Mayport for F-35B Trials

September 6, 2018 – HMS Queen Elizabeth, has arrived in Mayport, Florida for her first ever visit to the USA, following her formal commission into the Royal Navy by her sponsor, Her Majesty, The Queen. The 65,000 tonne ship departed the UK last month for her first trans-Atlantic voyage, primarily to conduct trials on deck with F-35B Lightning II test fighter jets from the Integrated Test Force at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. During her three months off the east coast of the USA, HMS Queen Elizabeth and her…

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British-armed F-35B Lightning jet takes to the skies

Britain’s new stealth fighter jet, the F-35B Lightning, has carried out its first trials armed with UK-built weapons, showcasing the major role that the UK plays in the supersonic aircraft and bringing it a step closer to operations on the frontline. Defence Minister Stuart Andrew revealed that a British F-35 Lightning jet reached the landmark milestone whilst he was on a visit to the Defence Electronics and Components Agency (DECA) in Wales. The Welsh site is set to become a global repair hub for the cutting-edge aircraft, providing crucial maintenance,…

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Dstl scientists take to the high seas on HMS Queen Elizabeth

August 30, 2018 – As HMS Queen Elizabeth makes her way across the Atlantic deploying for her longest sea trial to date, a pair of scientists from the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) are on-board as part of an analytic research team. Dstl has been involved in the development of HMS Queen Elizabeth for the past 20 years, starting with the original study to replace the Invincible light carrier fleet. Dstl helped to define the size and shape of the ship and a specialist team investigated ship-air integration, which…

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Pax River ITF to conduct first-time trials onboard partner nation’s carrier

August 29, 2018 – After years of partnership within the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office, U.S. and United Kingdom team members from the F-35 Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) eagerly anticipate the First of Class Flight Trials (FOCFTs) onboard the U.K.’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, this fall. When the first two fifth-generation F-35Bs – piloted by the ITF’s Royal Navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray and Royal Air Force Sqn. Ldr. Andrew Edgell – touch down on the carrier’s deck, the historic moment will be a tremendous step in…

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Lightning pilots ramp up training for HMS Queen Elizabeth debut

August 22, 2018 – Ramping up training ahead of debuting on Britain’s new carrier, ex-Fleet Air Arm pilot Peter ‘Wizzer’ Wilson takes off from a replica ski jump in an F-35B. Four test pilots are getting in last-minute training ready to take their specially-modified stealth fighters aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth next month. They’ll conduct around 500 landings and take-offs on the 900ft deck of the future flagship – the first time the Portsmouth-based warship has hosted fast jets. She’s about to strike out across the Atlantic – another first – after…

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HMS Queen Elizabeth sets off for F-35B fighter jet trials

August 18, 2018 – Royal Navy aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, departs her home port of Portsmouth today, bound for the USA to land fast jets on deck for the very first time. Eight years since a British aircraft carrier last flew a fast jet from her decks, the 65,000-tonne carrier will embark two F-35B test aircraft, from the Integrated Test Force (ITF), based out of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Around 200 supporting staff, including pilots, engineers, maintainers and data analysts will be joined by two ‘orange wired’…

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Essex ARG, 13th MEU complete COMPTUEX

Sailors of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and Marines attached to 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) completed Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) off the coast of Southern California, June 15. COMPTUEX is a Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 15 and 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, Expeditionary Operations Training Group (EOTG)-led sea and land-based deployment certification event involving the full embarkation of the MEU. Essex ARG is commanded by Capt. Gerald Olin of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 1, and comprises amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD…

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HMS Queen Elizabeth’s crew finally meet the F-35B

Members of the flying control and flight deck control teams aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), flagship of the Royal Navy’s new class of aircraft carriers, visited Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland this week for their first live peek at the F-35B Lightning II, ahead of the jet’s first trials aboard the ship this fall. On Tuesday, about 20 members of the HMS Queen Elizabeth team witnessed F-35B test aircraft BF-02 and BF-04 taxi, perform two vertical landings apiece, and conduct a couple short takeoffs. The ground reverberated as each…

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“F-35B Lightning II Aboard USS Wasp” on YouTube

EAST CHINA SEA (March 5, 2018) F-35B Lightning IIs perform deck landing qualifications aboard USS Wasp (LHD 1). Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 embarked a detachment of F-35Bs aboard USS Wasp for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Spring Patrol 2018, marking the first operational deployment of the F-35B with a MEU. As the Marine Corps’ only continuously forward-deployed MEU, the 31st MEU provides a flexible force ready to perform a wide range of military operations. (U.S. Marine Corps video by Cpl. Bernadette Wildes/Released)

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HSC 25 trains with VMFA-121 and HSM 51 in preparation for scheduled patrol

The “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25’s forward-deployed detachment wrapped up two weeks of tactics exchanges and multi-mission training flights at MCAS Iwakuni, Jan. 29.   The Island Knights’ Detachment 6, which is based out of Naval Air Facility Atsugi, met with pilots and aircrew of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121), who pilot the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, to share expertise on close-air-support procedures and overall interoperability of flight operations to support the Expeditionary Strike Group.   The Island Knights and VMFA-121 are slated to embark together aboard…

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Italian F-35B lands at Pax River

The first F-35B assembled outside of the U.S. landed at NAS Patuxent River on Jan. 31 after completing a transatlantic flight from Cameri Air Base in northern Italy. The flight follows the Italian Ministry of Defense’s acceptance of the aircraft on Jan. 25 at the Cameri F-35 final assembly line. There are two foreign F-35 final assembly lines, the other is located in Nagoya, Japan. Cameri is the only B variant final assembly line outside of the U.S. and has delivered nine F-35As and one F-35B. The aircraft is assigned…

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New stealth fighter jet ‘takes off’

The Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson experienced the world-class technology of the new F-35 today in a Lockheed Martin F-35 simulator in London. At an event held at the Institute for Engineering and Technology, the Defence Secretary was joined by MPs and journalists to see what it is like to fly and land the pioneering fighter jet which will protect British lives around the world. The global F-35 programme will support 20,000 UK jobs over the 30 year production period and already the programme has generated over £9 billon for UK…

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UK takes delivery of final F-35B Lightning this year

Operated jointly by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, the F-35 Lightning jets will be able to operate on land or embarked on the UK’s new aircraft carriers. This delivery is a significant milestone for the Lightning Program and in particular, alongside the formal commissioning of the HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier into the Royal Navy earlier this month, demonstrates the advancement towards the establishment of the UK’s Carrier Enabled Power Projection capability. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: This Christmas delivery is the 14th jet to join our fleet of…

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Remaining F-35B Lightning II Aircraft with VMFA-121 Arrive at MCAS Iwakuni

U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II aircraft with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 arrived at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan, Nov. 9, 2017. The remaining aircraft represent the last installment of F-35B Lightning IIs assigned to VMFA-121. The F-35B Lightning II is a fifth-generation fighter, which is the world’s first operational supersonic short takeoff and vertical landing aircraft. The F-35B brings strategic agility, operational flexibility and tactical supremacy to III MEF with a mission radius greater than that of the F/A-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier II in…

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