After sensibly postponing the trip for 24 hours due to bad weather, yesterday the first four UK-owned F-35Bs touched down at RAF Marham after a trans-Atlantic flight from the United States. Despite the postponement, the jets have arrived two months ahead of the original schedule and those involved in the programme deserve to be congratulated. These aircraft of 617 Squadron will form part of the initial main armament for the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers and will be the cornerstone of the UK carrier strike capability. The MoD has provided some outstanding imagery and video which tells the story of their arrival.
In an earlier article, we considered how the RN would use layered defence to protect the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. There has been particular concern about the lack of defensive missiles fitted to the ship themselves and here we focus on the advantages and disadvantages of fitting the CAMM(M) Sea Ceptor system.
“Navy’s new £3.1Bn aircraft carrier is leaking” screams the front-page headline in today’s Sun newspaper, The Daily Express then helpfully adds to the hysteria by claiming “the ship is sinking”. The simple facts of this rather routine occurrence is that a leaking stern seal on one of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s propeller shafts was discovered during sea trials and is allowing small amounts of water into the ship.More
Today HMS Queen Elizabeth formally commissions in the presence of the ship’s sponsor, Her Majesty the Queen. This ceremony marks the transition from being a ship to a warship as she becomes part of the Royal Navy, serving in the fleet potentially for 50 years. The Queen will arrive by royal train at Portsmouth Harbour and be taken by car to the ship which is alongside at Princess Royal Jetty. The ceremony will be held in the vast aircraft hangar with a reception for around 3,700 people including the ship’s company, their families and many invited guests. More
In glorious sunshine, HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed from Portsmouth today to begin the second phase of her sea trials. She will be at sea off the coast of the UK for about a month while undertaking further testing. More
HMS Prince of Wales was officially named today during a ceremony in Rosyth, Scotland. The ship’s sponsor, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Rothesay, followed Royal Navy tradition by triggering the release of a bottle of 10-year-old whiskey to smash against the ship’s hull. It’s been a busy summer for the RN. In August HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived in Portsmouth for the first time. Less than a month later it is time to mark another major milestone for the aircraft carrier programme.
There have been frequent suggestions that aircraft carriers are inherently vulnerable and have been rendered obsolete by a new generation of weaponry. Here we look the range of conventional threats the carriers might face in a high-end conflict and how the RN and the Queen Elizabeth Class are configured to deal with them.More
Today is a day to celebrate a great British achievement. HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived safely in her home port for the first time this morning. She remains several years away from becoming fully operational and there are serious challenges ahead, both for the aircraft carriers and the Navy as a whole, but the engineering achievement of her builders and the hard work of her ship’s company should be recognised. Here are some of the best images from her arrival.