HMS Queen Elizabeth’s F-35B jet is ready for combat. The British Royal Navy will concentrate its power on aircraft carrier attack groups, which can carry out attack missions, enforce no-fly zones, provide humanitarian assistance, and build partnerships with British allies.
The flagship aircraft carrier of the British Royal Navy, HMS Queen Elizabeth, marks the arrival of the F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter from the 617 Squadron this month. The famous squadron was known as the “explosive dam” after its action during Operation Chastise which destroyed the German dam during the Second World War. The squadron was also the first squadron to be equipped with Lockheed Martin F-35B warplanes in the UK.
The F-35B aircraft replaced the Panavia Tornado GR1, which was first introduced in 1983. The F-35B will sail with aircraft carriers during the initial deployment of Global Carrier Strike Group 21.
“We are very happy to be on this aircraft carrier and we have been training diligently to be here,” said Squadron Commander 617 Mark Sparrow, through a British Royal Navy press release quoted by The National Interest.
“This is the first time a ship’s operational squadron has worked together. The F-35 brings the ability of the next generation to British defense through its capacity to find, avoid, or destroy enemy air defenses and enemy aircraft while gathering intelligence. “
HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is the first aircraft carrier operated by the British Royal Navy since HMS Ark Royal was deactivated in 2011, had to be quarantined to stop the spread of the corona virus. With the arrival of aircraft from Squadron 617, the aircraft carrier has entered an intense period to test the launch and recovery capabilities of the aircraft.
The aim of the testing phase was to show the aircraft could successfully defend the aircraft carrier through the deployment of fighter air patrols, which included launching of the ship to carry out attack missions against targets.
As the largest aircraft carrier ever to operate with the Royal Navy, HMS Queen Elizabeth can carry a total of 36 F-35B warplanes, can launch twenty-four vertical takeoff / landing aircraft (VTOL) in five minutes, and has a maximum recovery rate of twenty four planes in a few minutes, according to the National Interest report.
In addition to carrying the so-called fifth generation of the most dominant fighter jets currently in operation, the aircraft carrier wing also consists of nine Merlin HM2 anti-submarine naval helicopters along with four or five Merlin helicopters to be flown earlier in the warning mission. For ground operations, aircraft carriers can also carry other helicopters including the CH-47 Chinook, AH-64 Apache, Merlin HC4, and Wildcat HM2.
The British Royal Navy has announced that it will change its power to focus on aircraft carrier attack groups, which can carry out offensive missions, enforce no-fly zones, send humanitarian assistance, and build partnerships with British allies.
The aircraft carrier might have carried out its first “rescue” mission. Last week, it was reported that HMS Queen Elizabeth hosted another unique “landing” on its flight deck.
The landing was made by a racing pigeon that looked exhausted and lost its way, and then chose the aircraft carrier to make an emergency landing. The crew named the bird “Pauley,” and made a temporary aviary for him so he could live safely on board until the ship returned to Portsmouth later this month.