Helicopter squadron prepares for carrier operations day or night

820 Naval Air Squadron (NAS), the Aircraft Carrier’s dedicated maritime helicopter squadron, is making its final preparations to embark onto HMS Queen Elizabeth for the autumn and winter of 2018. Soon the whole squadron – aircrew, engineers and support personnel – will join the ship and sail with her across the Atlantic for the next stage of her sea trials. This important stage is the fixed-wing aircraft part of the trials, the highlight of which will be F-35Bs touching down on her deck for the first time. Flying in arguably…

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HMS Westminster Receives First Ever RAS From RFA Tidespring

Other ships have practised – including future flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth but HMS Westminster became the first Royal Navy vessel to receive fuel on operations from the Fleet’s newest tanker, RFA Tidespring. Fellow tanker RFA Wave Knight and Westminster’s HMS Sutherland had previously proved the Tide-class ship’s capabilities during her sea trials last year. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary is one of four built to refuel the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers and her task group when at sea. Measuring just over 200 meters in length and with a top…

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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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Hangar first for HMS Queen Elizabeth as she weathers stormy seas in Biscay

For the first time ever a giant RAF Chinook helicopter has been stowed in the hangar of a British aircraft carrier. With the nose protruding over the edge of one of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s two mighty aircraft lifts, the 99ft-long helicopter from RAF 7 Squadron was moved from the flight to the hangar deck. So large are the lifts and hangar spaces on the new Portsmouth-based warship that there’s no need even to fold the rotors. There ZH902 – a special trials variant of the Chinook – was joined by…

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USN Admiral visits HMS Queen Elizabeth

During a recent visit to Portsmouth, the Commander of the Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) Commodore Andrew Betton OBE hosted Rear Admiral Patrick Piercey USN, Director for Operations US Pacific Command, onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. The Admiral was visiting the Home Base of the Royal Navy’s Carriers as part of a wider UK visit organized around defense engagements at Joint Headquarters in London. During his tour of the impressive new aircraft carrier, which will be the home for the Royal Navy’s CSG, he was shown around the hanger and…

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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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Minister visits small Ipswich company which has played big part in Britain’s new aircraft carriers

Defense Minister Harriett Baldwin has paid a visit to a small Ipswich-based company who have played a key role in the largest ships ever built for the Royal Navy. HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of Britain’s two new flagship 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers, sailed back into her home base in Portsmouth this week ahead of being formally commissioned into the Royal Navy fleet by Her Majesty the Queen early next month. Tex Special Projects Ltd, based just outside of Ipswich, Suffolk, played an important role in constructing the Flying Control…

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Queen Elizabeth to Commission Namesake Aircraft Carrier

Her Majesty the Queen will formally commission her namesake aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, into the Royal Navy fleet in just three weeks’ time. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced the news as he made his first landing onto the deck of the carrier today, while she was at sea sailing around the South Coast of England. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “In a world of intensifying global threats, this magnificent ship will be a leading force fighting to protect the values of the UK and our allies. It’s an honour…

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Testing milestone for F-35 Jets

The A variant of the F-35 strike fighter has completed its rigorous airframe test – during which it ‘flew’ the equivalent of 24,000 hours. The B variant, which will provide the aerial punch for HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales, has so far completed 16,000 flying hours of testing, along with the C variant. Scientists at BAE Systems’ site in Brough, East Yorkshire, have been testing the airframes in a special 350-tonne rig, putting the aircraft through the range of loads it will experience in actual flight. The durability…

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HMS Queen Elizabeth Leaves Portsmouth for Trials

HMS Queen Elizabeth has sailed from Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time since arriving at her home port in August. The Royal Navy’s future flagship has embarked on the next set of sea trials to test the £3 billion ship’s capability. Captain of Portsmouth Naval Base, Captain Bill Oliphant said: “HMS Queen Elizabeth has been in Portsmouth Naval Base for two months of planned maintenance to allow her to sail to complete her sea trials today. “This period at sea will mark an extremely significant milestone in the life…

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BAE Systems to support the UK’s new aircraft carriers

The Ministry of Defence has amended its Maritime Support Delivery Framework contract with BAE Systems to include the Queen Elizabeth Class, extending the arrangement to cover all classes of ships home-ported at Portsmouth Naval Base. The amendment is worth £69m and runs until March 2019, with an option to extend it to March 2020 at an additional value of £68.5m. The agreement forms part of the new £1billion Common Support Model (CSM), which was announced by Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon on Tuesday (3 October 2017). The CSM will provide…

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HRH The Princess Royal Names New Aircraft Carrier Jetty

March 20, 2017 – The Princess unveiled a plaque at Portsmouth Naval Base this afternoon (Mon 20 Mar 17) officially naming the vast berth as The Princess Royal Jetty. It will be home to the Royal Navy’s two new 65,000-tonne Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. Formerly known as Middle Slip Jetty, the berth has been upgraded and strengthened to support the carriers as part of a raft of infrastructure upgrades taking place ahead of the arrival of the first ship – HMS Queen Elizabeth – later this year. Her Royal Highness…

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