Stunning moment one of 14 F-35 fighters roars into action from runway of Royal Navy’s new carrier


Stunning footage has revealed F-35 stealth fighters roaring off the colossal flight deck of the Royal Navy’s new flagship aircraft carrier the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Two squadrons of F-35B Lightning stealth fighters, of the RAF Dambusters and the US Marines Wake Island Avengers, have joined Big Lizzie for drills with allies in the North Sea.

The 65,000-tonne carrier left Portsmouth earlier this week and is taking part in its final training exercises before it is declared ready for war.

It will later be joined by a strike group including seven Royal Navy destroyers, which the commander says will put ‘real muscle back into Nato’.

Two squadrons of F-35B stealth jets, the RAF’s 617 Squadron (The Dambusters) and the US Marines Corps VMFA-211 (The Wake Island Avengers), aboard the Royal Navy carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth as she sails for exercises with allies off the north east coast of Scotland as part of Joint Warrior

Fighter jets on board the HMS Queen Elizabeth at Sea en route to North East Scotland

Fighter jets on board the HMS Queen Elizabeth at Sea en route to North East Scotland

An F-35B stealth jet of the US Marines Corps VMFA-211 (The Wake Island Avengers)

An F-35B stealth jet of the US Marines Corps VMFA-211 (The Wake Island Avengers)

RAF and US Marines Corps stealth fighters aboard Big Lizzie on her way to the North Sea

RAF and US Marines Corps stealth fighters aboard Big Lizzie on her way to the North Sea

The carrier will later be joined by a strike group including seven Royal Navy destroyers, which the commander says will put 'real muscle back into Nato'.

The carrier will later be joined by a strike group including seven Royal Navy destroyers, which the commander says will put ‘real muscle back into Nato’.

Jets from the RAF's famed 617 Squadron (The Dambusters) have been joined by allies from the US Marine Corps aboard the ship. It is the largest number of warplanes ever on the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Jets from the RAF’s famed 617 Squadron (The Dambusters) have been joined by allies from the US Marine Corps aboard the ship. It is the largest number of warplanes ever on the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The pilots of the F-35B jets, which can fly at 1,200mph, need to qualify to operate from the flight deck at day and night

The pilots of the F-35B jets, which can fly at 1,200mph, need to qualify to operate from the flight deck at day and night

Jets from the RAF’s famed 617 Squadron (The Dambusters) have been joined by allies from the US Marine Corps aboard the ship.

It is the largest number of warplanes ever on the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth.

In total, 14 jets and eight Merlin helicopters are operating on board, the largest concentration of fighter jets to operate at sea from a Royal Navy carrier for nearly 40 years. The Ministry of Defence have been asked how many of the jets are RAF.

In this month’s group exercise, HMS Queen Elizabeth will be joined by seven Royal Navy destroyers, frigates and auxiliaries, plus other supporting units, to form a fully sovereign Carrier Strike Group.

The group will be put through its paces off the north east coast of Scotland as part of Joint Warrior, Nato’s largest annual exercise.

Commodore Steve Moorhouse, commander UK Carrier Strike Group, said: ‘The United Kingdom’s maritime renaissance has been unfolding over many years, as we introduced a new generation of ships, submarines and aircraft into service.

‘But this marks the first time we have brought them together in a cohesive, potent fighting force.

In total, 14 jets and eight Merlin helicopters are operating on board, the largest concentration of fighter jets to operate at sea from a Royal Navy carrier for nearly 40 years.

In total, 14 jets and eight Merlin helicopters are operating on board, the largest concentration of fighter jets to operate at sea from a Royal Navy carrier for nearly 40 years.

F-35B stealth jets of the US Marines Corps VMFA-211 (The Wake Island Avengers) aboard the Royal Navy carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth as she sails for exercises with allies off the north east coast of Scotland as part of Joint Warrior

F-35B stealth jets of the US Marines Corps VMFA-211 (The Wake Island Avengers) aboard the Royal Navy carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth as she sails for exercises with allies off the north east coast of Scotland as part of Joint Warrior

This month's Group Exercise (GROUPEX) will see HMS Queen Elizabeth joined by warships from the UK, US and the Netherlands, which will accompany HMS Queen Elizabeth on her first global deployment in 2121. However before then, the newly formed Carrier Strike Group will be put through its paces off the North East coast of Scotland as part of Joint Warrior, NATO's largest annual exercise.

This month’s Group Exercise (GROUPEX) will see HMS Queen Elizabeth joined by warships from the UK, US and the Netherlands, which will accompany HMS Queen Elizabeth on her first global deployment in 2121. However before then, the newly formed Carrier Strike Group will be put through its paces off the North East coast of Scotland as part of Joint Warrior, NATO’s largest annual exercise.

F35-B fighter jets have arrived on HMS Queen Elizabeth to take part in her exercise the way to northeast Scotland

F35-B fighter jets have arrived on HMS Queen Elizabeth to take part in her exercise the way to northeast Scotland

Jets parked on the landing deck of the aircraft carrier

Jets parked on the landing deck of the aircraft carrier

Ground crew beside one of the brand new stealth fighter jets

Ground crew beside one of the brand new stealth fighter jets 

A US Marine Corps F-35 fighter jet on the Royal Navy's HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier as they head to take part in exercises in the North Sea

A US Marine Corps F-35 fighter jet on the Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier as they head to take part in exercises in the North Sea

In this month's group exercise, HMS Queen Elizabeth will be joined by seven Royal Navy destroyers, frigates and auxiliaries, plus other supporting units, to form a fully sovereign Carrier Strike Group. The group will be put through its paces off the north east coast of Scotland as part of Joint Warrior, Nato's largest annual exercise.

In this month’s group exercise, HMS Queen Elizabeth will be joined by seven Royal Navy destroyers, frigates and auxiliaries, plus other supporting units, to form a fully sovereign Carrier Strike Group. The group will be put through its paces off the north east coast of Scotland as part of Joint Warrior, Nato’s largest annual exercise.

‘HMS Queen Elizabeth will be operating with the largest air group of fifth-generation fighters assembled anywhere in the world.

‘Led by the Royal Navy, and backed by our closest allies, this new Carrier Strike Group puts real muscle back into Nato and sends a clear signal that the United Kingdom takes its global role seriously.’

Commanding officer of 617 Squadron, Royal Navy Commander Mark Sparrow, said: ‘This is an incredibly exciting time for 617 Squadron as we begin a new era of partnership with the US Marine Corps building towards next year’s operational deployment with HMS Queen Elizabeth.

An F-35B fighter jet on the HMS Queen Elizabeth as the carrier heads to the North Sea for exercises to get her war ready

An F-35B fighter jet on the HMS Queen Elizabeth as the carrier heads to the North Sea for exercises to get her war ready

Fighter jets on board the HMS Queen Elizabeth at Sea en route to North East Scotland

Fighter jets on board the HMS Queen Elizabeth at Sea en route to North East Scotland

F-35 stealth fighters on the HMS Queen Elizabeth in the sunset on the North Sea last night

F-35 stealth fighters on the HMS Queen Elizabeth in the sunset on the North Sea last night

Ground crew stand on the runway with F-35 stealth fighters parked up

Ground crew stand on the runway with F-35 stealth fighters parked up 

F35-B fighter jets have arrived on HMS Queen Elizabeth to take part in her exercise the way to North East Scotland.

F35-B fighter jets have arrived on HMS Queen Elizabeth to take part in her exercise the way to North East Scotland.

Jets parked on the HMS Queen Elizabeth

Jets parked on the HMS Queen Elizabeth

Jets parked on the HMS Queen Elizabeth

Jets parked on the HMS Queen Elizabeth

F-35 fighter jets parked on the HMS Queen Elizabeth

F-35 fighter jets parked on the HMS Queen Elizabeth

‘You need to go back more than three decades to find the UK operating anything on this scale or complexity and this is a first for fifth-generation carrier capability.

‘The era of big deck, fast jet carrier operations is back.’

HMS Queen Elizabeth, along with her 1,680 sailors, aviators and marines, is due to return to her home port of Portsmouth next month.

Inside Britain’s most powerful warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth

At 280 metres long, with a lifespan of half a century and a flight deck of four acres, HMS Queen Elizabeth is Britain’s largest and most powerful warship ever built.

Here are the facts and figures behind the vessel which was officially commissioned into the Royal Navy December 7, 2017

HMS Queen Elizabeth, pictured,  weighs some 65,000 tonnes and has a top speed of 25 knots and a four-acre flight deck

HMS Queen Elizabeth, pictured, weighs some 65,000 tonnes and has a top speed of 25 knots and a four-acre flight deck

  • The aircraft carrier weighs 65,000 tonnes and has a top speed in excess of 25 knots.
  • A number of ship building yards around the country were involved in the build – these include Govan and Scotstoun in Glasgow, Appledore in Devon, Cammell Laird in Birkenhead, Wirral, A&P on the Tyne in Newcastle and Portsmouth.
  • A total of 10,000 people worked on construction of the ship, made up in sections at yards around the UK and transported to Rosyth, Fife, where it was assembled.
  • It is the second ship in the Royal Navy to be named Queen Elizabeth.
  • The ship has a crew of around 700, that will increase to 1,600 when a full complement of F-35B jets and Crowsnest helicopters are embarked.
  • There are 364,000 metres of pipes inside the ship, and from keel to masthead she measures 56 metres, four metres more than Niagara Falls.
  • Facilities onboard include a chapel, a medical centre and 12-bed ward, staffed with GPs, a nurse and medical assistants, as well as a dentist and dental nurse.
  • There are also five gyms on the warship which include a cardiovascular suite, two free weight rooms and a boxing gym.
  • Regular fitness circuit sessions and sporting activities such as basketball and tug of war are held in the hangar and on the flight deck, with weights and other items stored inside the flight deck ramp. 
  • The Captain of the ship was Angus Essenhigh
  • There are five galleys on the warship which is where the food is cooked and those on board eat their meals everyday. This includes two main galleys, the bridge mess and an aircrew refreshment bar.
  • The distribution network on board manages enough energy to power 30,000 kettles or 5,500 family homes.
  • Its flight deck is 280 metres long and 70 metres wide, enough space for three football pitches.
  •  The entire ship’s company of 700 can be served a meal within 90 minutes, 45 minutes when at action stations.
  • Recreational spaces enjoyed by the crew feature televisions and sofas, as well as popular board games including the traditional Royal Navy game of Uckers.
  • Each of the two aircraft lifts on HMS Queen Elizabeth can move two fighter jets from the hangar to the flight deck in 60 seconds.
  • The warship has a range of 8,000 to 10,000 nautical miles, and has two propellers – each weighing 33 tonnes and with a combined 80MW output of power – enough to run 1,000 family cars or 50 high speed trains. 

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