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HMS Queen Elizabeth set sail from Portsmouth for fighter jet trials on the East Coast of the USA with F-35B Lightning Jets.

The ship sailed from Portsmouth for fighter jet trials as part of WESTLANT 19, which will take place on the East Coast of the USA as well as Canada. The Aircraft Carrier will conduct Operational Testing with F-35B jets ahead of their first deployment in 2021.

The deployment will test the ability of the ship, aircraft, and crew to operate under realistic warfighting conditions. This will include planning campaigns, preparing and arming jets and pilots, as well as flying and sustaining them during the exercise.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Defence Minister, said: “HMS Queen Elizabeth is symbolic of the UK’s global reach and power. As she enters this stage of the programme, she will demonstrate her immense engineering, capability and battle readiness.”

“As she makes her second voyage across the Atlantic, HMS Queen Elizabeth will also strengthen our special relationship with the US and Canada. Our naval forces will visit Canada then spend the coming months working and training side by side with the US to ensure the UK’s carrier strike is ready for operations in 2021.”

At sea, the HMS Queen Elizabeth will work alongside forces from the Command UK Carrier Strike Group including a Type-23 frigate, a Type-45 destroyer, and aircraft from the Carrier Air Wing. A tanker will also be provided to the Strike Group from RFA Tideforce to be joined by ships and vessels from other nations.

During the deployment, the aircraft carrier will also host the second Atlantic Future Forum, which provides a programme for innovators to explore new technology in areas such as AI and space. The deployment will conclude at the end of this year and feature a visit to Canada as well as support from the US Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.

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F-35B Lightning HMS Queen Elizabeth RFA Tideforce Royal Navy US Air Force US Marine Corps US Navy

Post written by: Ciara Houghton


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