F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter aircraft conducted its maiden night sortie from Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The night sortie reportedly came just four days after the maiden landing and takeoff of F-35B on board Britain’s newest carrier, performed by Royal Navy Commander Nathan Gray on Sept. 25.
F-35B, the short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), is the world’s first supersonic STOVL stealth aircraft.
The Sept. 25 event, that took place off the east coast of the United States, marked the return of fixed-wing aircraft operations from Royal Navy carriers after almost an eight-year hiatus. This was also the first time an F-35 has ever landed on a non-American vessel.
The flying operations marked the start of more than 500 take-offs and landings set to take place from the warship over the next 11 weeks.
The jets will be put through their paces over the coming weeks in a range of sea and weather conditions. Having then completed the trials, which are taking place off the east coast of the United States, the giant aircraft carrier is expected to visit New York.
Queen Elizabeth has completed a 3,400-mile long journey across the Atlantic to the east coast of the USA after departing her homeport of HMNB Portsmouth on Aug. 18. The deployment, known as WESTLANT 18, was the first-time the aircraft carrier has sailed across the Atlantic. The 65,000-tonne carrier arrived at Naval Station Mayport in Florida on Sept. 5 marking her first visit to the U.S.
The Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will project British military power across the globe for the next half a century. Construction work continues at a pace on board HMS Prince of Wales, the second aircraft carrier in the class, which nears completion at the Rosyth shipbuilding yard.
They will be used to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, strengthen defence relationships with our nation’s allies, and support British armed forces deployed around the world.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is on track to deploy on global operations from 2021.