Skip to comments.U.K. Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth Set for U.S. Visit, F-35B Trials
Posted on 05/09/2018 8:45:47 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
HMS Queen Elizabeth has arrived back in Portsmouth following successful First of Class rotary wing trials in the Atlantic. Royal Navy Photo
LONDON Earlier this month, Britains national security adviser declared that the Royal Navys Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers would be unlikely to ever deploy on high-end combat missions without support from friendly forces.
The two new flattops would inevitably be used in a context of allied operations of some kind, if used in a contested environment, Mark Sedwill told the House of Commons Defence Committee on May 1.
The London press suggested that the U.K. government would be unwilling to risk the ships in a unilateral warfighting operation similar to the naval task force sent to recapture the Falkland Islands from Argentinian occupation in 1982.
In addition to that unwillingness, it has long been known that the U.K. would require U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters to bolster its small number of jets on the 70,000-ton carriers, particularly during their early deployments.
And with an escort fleet reduced to just 19 frigates and destroyers, the Royal Navy will be reliant on surface combatants provided by the U.S. Navy and other foreign partners to help protect the carriers from technologically advanced adversaries.
Lead ship HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) was floated out at Rosyth dockyard in Scotland in 2014, commenced sea trials last June and was commissioned into the Royal Navy on Dec. 7. The future HMS Prince of Wales (R09) was launched at the same yard two weeks later and is now being fitted out. Construction costs for the two ships have totaled £6.2 billion (about $8.4 billion).
In August 2017 Queen Elizabeth rendezvoused with the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) carrier strike group during the multinational Exercise Saxon Warrior in the North Sea and northern Atlantic, with some Royal Navy personnel sharpening their aviation-related skills on board the U.S. carrier.
The British carrier completed rotary wing trials in February this year, conducting 450 deck landings with Chinook Mk 5 helicopters and 540 landings with Merlin Mk 2 aircraft. Both types flew an average of 10 hours per day in all weather conditions, generating data that will enable technical staff to draw up ship helicopter operating limits.
Amphibious warfare trials were also conducted, with a detachment of Royal Marines commandos simulating an air assault from the ship.
Queen Elizabeth is now alongside in Portsmouth naval base on Englands south coast, covered in tents and scaffolding for a 13-week capability insertion period (CIP) in preparation for an inaugural transatlantic voyage in September. The ship will then conduct a long-awaited first flight trials with F-35B aircraft and is also expected to visit New York City.
Every month sees a graduated increase in the capability the ship can deliver, Rear Adm. Keith Blount, the Royal Navys Assistant Chief of Naval Staff for Aviation, Amphibious Capability and Carriers, said in a press statement last month. With over a thousand helicopter deck landings already under our belt, were developing more expansive clearances for helicopters than we have ever seen before.
Next up are the jets, and the ship is being fitted with all the kit and communication systems required to ensure the aircraft and carrier can work together as a system. This is highly technical and time-consuming stuff and our sailors, airmen and shipyard workers are doing a great job in piecing it all together, Blount continued
Various fixed-wing landing aids are being installed during the CIP, chief among them the U.S.-designed AN/SPN-41/41A Instrument Carrier Landing System. With an azimuth antenna at the stern of the ship and an elevation antenna on the aft island, this system transmits flight path information to approaching aircraft, which can be viewed in the pilots head-up display.
Defense science company Qinetiq has developed a flight deck lighting array dubbed the Bedford array to assist F-35B rolling vertical landings, but this will be fitted initially to the future Prince of Wales as a technology demonstrator.
Maintenance is being carried out on the thermal metal spray coating that has been applied to aft sections of Queen Elizabeths flight deck, designed to protect it from jet blast during F-35B vertical landings, when temperatures could hit 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit.
Workers are fitting the three Phalanx close-in weapon systems that will give the future fleet flagship a last-ditch self-defense capability against inbound missiles.
Funnel badges displaying the ships crest are being bolted to the uptakes, both island superstructures are getting additional cabling, and the junior rates scullery is being doubled in size and gaining a new conveyor dishwasher system.
The flagship of the Royal Navy, the HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves the port of Gibraltar after her maiden overseas stop. Royal Navy Photo
Occasionally the ship will look like its held together with scaffolding it isnt and without it that mast, aerial, radar, funnel, anemometer or even paint job wont get done, Blount continued in his statement. These are exciting times; the ship is on track, as is Prince of Wales. When [Queen Elizabeth] gets to the States in the autumn, things are going to get noisy, pointy and fast!
Carrier strike full operational capability for Queen Elizabeth is scheduled for 2020, and the first operational deployment is planned for early 2021.
The U.K. has to date received 15 of the 48 F-35B Lighting II aircraft ordered so far hence the expected need for support from U.S. Marines F-35Bs with a total of 138 expected to be acquired over the lifetime of the program.
They built their carrier but have no planes. And now American squadrons will be their air wing? Fine, but as long as that is the case, the ship must be under the command of a US navy officer.
Shameful for American jets to be the combat element of a British navy ship.
I think they may have been better off with 4 or 5 30,000 tone small carriers.
Been 40 years since Ark Royal decommissioned.
Britannia no long rules the waves.
Britianstan (and France/Germany) Trashed the US on Iranian nuke deal and expect US military support? They have each other, make do with that.
You seem to forget the ‘heavy lifting’ that the UK and Empire did from September 1939 until December 11, 1941, when the US FINALLY declared war on Germany.
It should be noted that the UK declared war on the Japanese Empire nine hours before the US declaration because of Japanese attacks on Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong, where so many Canadians died defending HK.
Of course, in spite of the Kraut attrocities in both WWI and WWII, the US entered WWI very late ONLY after the Lusitania sinking, the resumption of unrestricted U-boat attacks, and the Zimmermann Telegram. Of course, America was full of Hun during both World Wars, so neither Wilson, nor Roosevelt wanted to risk losing Heinie votes. Also, there was a hell of a lot of MONEY TO BE MADE selling EVERYTHING to the UK and her Empire. When the money ran out, when the Allies we’re spent, only then did the US finally entered both wars. That turned out to be a good thing, as the US had started to ramp up war production, supplying it’s own needs and supplying much of the Allies’ needs.
Of course, the UK, the other Euros and Canaduh have all falling into the socialist, muhamedan pit. At least the US is seemingly pulling itself out of the Obamanation it had become.
Welcome to the world of aircraft carriers, AKA, large, easy targets,
At least without massive escort presence.
I hope they have all of the radar jamming bugs out of the 35’s. Didn’t they have trouble with their systems acting as a beacon to enemy instead of jamming them? I hope I’m wrong.
This fiasco is part of our leaving the EU. The Carriers were supposed to be part of the EU forces, with probably French planes and pilots...It was all started by BLiar and carried on by that idiot Cameron...of course no-one dared tell the UK taxpayer, what the real plan is/was, as they would have gone rightly ape.
So now we have thankfully voted to leave, we end up with two Carriers, no planes and nowhere near enough escorts.....and the poor old top brass have to pretend that all is well.
As for acting with Allies....the only allies we can really trust are Canadians, Aussie’s and the US....that is if anyone will pick up the phone in the US after all our insults.
All our politicians should be keelhauled.
They would have done better to have spent their money on very fast and capable destroyers and heavy cruisers.
It’s the first big carrier built by a muzz slime nation.
19 frigates and destroyers? Australia has 11 and our GDP and population is half the UK’s.
How the mighty have fallen.
The RN is down to 19 ships????
Things went down hill after pounds, schillings and pence were given up.
The Ark Royal you mention was the last true carrier of the Royal Navy. Any “carrier” that uses even STOVL operation is a glorified helicopter carrier. The old Ark Royal was a full CATOBAR, although a bit cramped.
Were that the case, the carriers would have been designed from the start with catapults instead of the ski ramp.
There was a brief time when the RN thought about retrofitting the second ship with catapults in order to use the less expensive F-35C, but that was cancelled due to the costs of making structural changes to an already built hull.
“You seem to forget the heavy lifting that the UK and Empire did from September 1939 until December 11, 1941, when the US FINALLY declared war on Germany.”
Too true. If you look at a map of the world in early 1941 and color it by the Axis and its allies and all the neutral powers it is striking. For a long while it was the British Empire versus the world.
19?? The Royal Navy is smaller than the US Coast Guard.
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