Three British F-35B Lightning fighter jets departed RAF Marham, on Oct. 9, to return to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in the USA in preparation for their upcoming operational testing onboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in the waters off the U.S. East Coast.
The 3 aircraft, prepared by the Royal Air Force (RAF)’s 617 and 207 Squadrons and Lightning Team UK personnel, will be deployed for a number of weeks to take part in the Westlant 19 deployment.
The deployment will see the landing and taking-off of British F-35Bs from HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time following on from last’s year’s ‘developmental tests’ with US jets. The aircraft carrier will also host F-35s from the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) during the Westlant 19 deployment.
HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed from her homeport Portsmouth on August 30. Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon and Type 23 frigate HMS Northumberland are accompanying Queen Elizabeth with tanker RFA Tideforce providing support to the Carrier Strike Group.