THE RAF’S new supersonic F-35 fighter jets have taken off from £3billion warship HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time.
Britain’s state-of-the-art £100million Lightning II stealth jets landed on the Royal Navy’s lead aircraft carrier ahead of trials with the US military.
The RAF’s F-35 jets landed and took off from HMS Queen Elizabeth on Sunday[/caption]
Stunning images show the £100million Lightning II stealth jets landing on the Royal Navy’s lead aircraft carrier[/caption]
The F-35 Lightning jets, the world’s most advanced, will undergo rigorous mission planning and flying exercises off the east coast of north America, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.
Yesterday, the MoD released images of the multi-role advanced aircraft hovering above and landing the 65,000 tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time.
It follows successful trials last year with US military Lightning jets.
The RAF’s American-built F-35s – which have a maximum speed of 1.6 times the speed of sound and can touch down vertically – had been undergoing tests in Cyprus.
But they were drafted into service ahead of schedule in the fight against Daesh.
The F-35B Lightning jet is the first to combine radar-evading stealth technology with supersonic speeds and short take-off and vertical landing capability.
It will provide the strike force launched from Britain’s new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.
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The fighter planes will be jointly manned by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy and can operate from land and sea.
Speaking after yesterday’s tests, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “This is another step towards the UK’s carrier strike capability becoming fully operational.
“The bringing together of the UK Lightnings on the first in class HMS Queen Elizabeth paves the way for the world’s most up to date, fully integrated carrier force.”
The fighter planes will be jointly manned by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy[/caption]
Yesterday’s successful mission[/caption]
Last November it was announced Britain will double its fleet of F-35 stealth fighter jets by ordering 17 more from the States.
Commodore Mike Utley, from the Royal Navy, said: “Getting to this point of embarking UK Lightning jets into our British-built carrier has been a significant joint undertaking by industry and military – both ours, and those from the United States.
“We will take the jets from the successful developmental phase we achieved last year through to a more operational footing, so we are confident that the jets, the carrier and our destroyers and frigates will function seamlessly together.”
The UK currently owns 18 aircraft, with an additional order placed for 30 jets.