The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has launched the first ever UK F-35 ‘4-ship package’ for a reconnaissance mission.
Watch the video of the launch shared on Twitter:
Count them out 1️⃣2️⃣3️⃣4️⃣
— HMS Queen Elizabeth🇬🇧 (@HMSQNLZ) June 26, 2020
On June 9, UK’s operational F-35 Lightning jets landed on the aircraft carrier for the first time. The jets belonged to the Royal Air Force (RAF)’s famous 617 Squadron “Dambusters” which is jointly manned by RAF and Royal Navy personnel.
These jets will be the same aircraft that will sail next year with the carrier for her maiden Global Carrier Strike Group 21 deployment.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is now undergoing an intense period of flying having successfully completed four weeks of basic sea training earlier. The aim is to demonstrate that the jets can successfully defend the aircraft carrier by delivering combat air patrols (CAPs) – launching from the ship to conduct strike missions against a target – and being ready to take off at short notice.
This is all in preparation for their second embarkation later in the year when the squadron will join the carrier and her task group for a large multinational training exercise with US, European and NATO partners.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is due to return to Portsmouth later this month.