Tag: HMS Queen Elizabeth

Royal Air Force Mildenhall Supports Navy During Exercise Saxon Warrior

A U.S. Navy C-2A Greyhound aircraft assigned to Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 takes off from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lorelei R. Vander Griend/Released)

Sailors from the U.S. Navy conducted missions from Royal Air Force (RAF) Mildenhall during exercise Saxon Warrior, Aug. 1-10.

Bringing with them two C-2A Greyhounds, the 48-strong team from the “Rawhides” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VCR) 40 participated in the multinational exercise.

The exercise provided the U.S., U.K. and other countries the opportunity to conduct training designed to sharpen joint warfighting skills and enhance the capacity to conduct combined, multinational maritime operations. The U.S. routinely trains with allies and partners in exercises like Saxon Warrior to ensure mission readiness and interoperability.

VRC-40 used RAF Mildenhall as their forward-operating base to carry out their missions to deliver supplies and personnel to and from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).

During the exercise, the George H.W. Bush hosted British personnel aboard, working alongside their American counterparts as part of the U.K.-U.S. Long Lead Specialist Skills Program, which qualifies them in U.S. carrier operations. This vital partnership and training occurred in preparation for the arrival of the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, and to bolster the British carrier strike capability.

A pair of F/A-18 Super Hornets from the USS George HW Bush (CVN-77) fly-by the HMS Queen Elizabeth, British Royal Navy aircraft carrier

“Our squadron, the VRC-40 Rawhides, stays based in Norfolk. But every time a carrier strike group goes out, they attach two [carrier onboard delivery] to the carrier air wing part of the strike group,” said Aviation Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Joshua Gallaher. “We make sure the aircraft are good to go at all times so we’re prepared for whatever mission is required of us. That way, when the ship requires high-priority parts for the aircraft on board, we coordinate through the Beach Det., our supply system on land, to get those parts out to the ship as soon as possible. Or if they need to get people out to the ship, we’ll take them. We perform a variety of missions.”

Gallaher said this is the first time he has worked out of an Air Force base during this type of deployment. He said they usually operate out of Navy bases such as Souda Bay, Greece or Sigonella, Italy.

“Working as the U.S. Navy, alongside the U.S. Air Force, builds a camaraderie between the two branches overall,” said Gallaher. “I think the Air Force operates differently from how the Navy does, so for them to be able to help us, knowing we would do the same for them, builds a bridge between the two. Being in England, the Air Force has already created a relationship with the locals, so when we come here it means we don’t have any issues.”

Saxon Warrior involved the U.S. Navy assisting the Royal Navy by providing the platform on which the U.K Carrier Strike Group staff were able to operate.

The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Abe McNatt/Released)

“The strike group staff are currently operating those assets; the Destroyer Squadron 22 and embark Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8,” said Lt. Cmdr. James Light, VRC-40, Det. 2 officer in charge. “The RAF are pretty much running our operations right now, in terms of logistics. When you look at the whole exercise, they’re running the entire air wing through a notional work-up cycle.”

The carrier on board delivery detachments are shore-based and fly out to the ship every day. Light said that there hasn’t been a carrier on board delivery based in England since 2009.

“Our experience with RAF Mildenhall has been fantastic,” Light said, thanking the members of Team Mildenhall for all the support they provided.

For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy , or www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.

 

UK’s new £3bn warship HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Portsmouth [VIDEOS]

HMS Queen Elizabeth is being described as “a demonstration of British military power and commitment to a bigger global role”.

Britain’s biggest-ever warship has arrived at its base in Portsmouth for the first time. 

Hundreds of people lined Portsmouth Harbour to welcome HMS Queen Elizabeth, an aircraft carrier which cost more than £3bn to build.

The 280m (918ft) vessel set sail in June from the Rosyth dockyard where it was built, and since then has been undergoing tests at sea.

Technically, it remains a civilian rather than a military ship until it is commissioned later this year.

It is also an aircraft carrier which does not yet have fixed-wing aircraft on board. F-35B Lightning II jets are still being built and tested in the US, and the ship won’t be fully operational until 2020.

Those on board and watching from the shore were treated to two separate flypasts of Royal Navy helicopters, the first featuring a Sea King, two Mk2 Merlins and two Mk3 Merlins, which were then joined by two Hawk jets for the second.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “She is Britain’s statement to the world: a demonstration of British military power and our commitment to a bigger global role.

“The thousands of people across the UK who have played a part in building her and her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, should be immensely proud as our future flagship enters Portsmouth.”

The behemoth aircraft carrier sailed into the Solent before heading into Portsmouth, where, at its narrowest point, there was less than 20m (66ft) clearance on each side.

The band of the Royal Marines played as the ship slowly navigated into the harbour, which has had to be dredged to make room.

HMS Queen Elizabeth manoeuvred towards a new extended and reinforced jetty under her own power before tugs nudged her gently into position.

An 820ft (250m) exclusion zone, enforced by armed police in small boats, meant the port was effectively closed to the flotilla of boats that had turned out to greet the ship.

Lt Cdr Neil Twigg, a fast jet pilot responsible for integrating the F-35 fighter jet into the carrier group, said: “We are very ready, there is still a lot more work to be done, the aircraft is still going through its testing programme in America and the ship has still some more sea trials but we are on the right track.”

But Admiral Chris Parry, a former senior Royal Navy officer, told Sky News that HMS Queen Elizabeth offers “real military power” to deter rogue states – as well as terrorist groups such as Islamic State.

 

HMS Queen Elizabeth: Britain’s biggest ever warship set to return to UK this week

The UK’s largest ever warship will arrive back in the UK this week after completing the latest round of sea trials, the Royal Navy has confirmed.

The £3 billion HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to arrive in Portsmouth on Wednesday, a day earlier than previously expected, after weather conditions had formerly prevented the exact date from being set.

The 65,000-tonne carrier, the largest warship ever to be built in Britain, is expected to be the Navy’s flagship craft for at least 50 years.

The 280-metre vessel was previously forecast to reach its Hampshire base between August 17-22, after setting out from Scotland’s Rosyth dockyard in June.

More than 60 Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines took part in a training exercise aboard the American USS George HW Bush earlier this month, in preparation for the ship’s entry into service.

USS George HW Bush

The carrier will remain without aircraft until flying trials are conducted in the United States next year, with 10 F-35 Lightning II jets and 120 aircrew expected to take part.

Preparations for the ship’s arrival, along with its 700 staff, saw more than 3.2 million cubic metres of sediment removed from Portsmouth harbour to enable her to reach her future docking at Portsmouth Naval Base.

In a statement on August 7, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon heralded the HMS Queen Elizabeth’s impending arrival, and declared that it would be deployed “across the seven seas, using her strike power to deter our enemies”.

Sir Michael visited the craft for the first time in July, when he hailed the return of “big decks and fast jets”, and described the large-scale engineering project as “great for British industry”.

The warship is expected to arrive in Portsmouth shortly after 7am on Wednesday, where it will become the latest in a long line of prestigious ships to be docked in the port.

 

 

 

UK F-35B makes first “ski jump” loaded with Paveway IV and ASRAAM missiles

Photo: Arnel Parker

A short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B Lightning II aircraft took off from the ski jump loaded with Paveway IV and ASRAAM missiles for the first time, BAE Systems announced.

Installed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, the ski jump is similar to that which will be used on the Royal Navy’s two new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

According to BAE Systems, aircraft BF-02 was piloted by the company’s test pilot Peter ‘Wizzer’ Wilson, the same pilot who was the first to launch the F-35B STOVL variant from a ski-jump.

The aircraft load-out was a UK-specific one as both ASRAAM and Paveway IV are in service with UK’s Tornado and Typhoon fleet of aircraft.

The F-35B is the most expensive of the three aircraft variants and the UK is planning on acquiring close to 140 of them. The acquired aircraft will be used by both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.

Ship-borne trials of the aircraft aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth are expected to start in late 2018 with initial operational capability slated for 2020.

 

Security concerns after hobbyist lands £300 drone on deck of Royal Navy’s new £3bn flagship

Once it is fully operational, HMS Queen Elizabeth will doubtless be the most heavily protected vessel in the Royal Navy. For now, however, it seems the £3bn pride of the British fleet is so lightly defended that a £300 drone can be landed for an unauthorised visit to the aircraft carrier’s decks.

An amateur enthusiast has told how he overflew the largest – and most expensive – warship ever built for Britain’s armed forces with his Parrot Bebop drone before briefly landing on its vast flight deck as it sat, apparently unmanned, on Cromarty Firth in the Scottish Highlands.

Security

The ability of a hobbyist to take a private and unchallenged remote-controlled tour of “Big Lizzy” will raise difficult questions about security surrounding the vessel – as well as throwing into sharp relief the fact that the carrier will not have its own complement of aircraft for authorised take-offs and landings for several years to come.

The drone pilot, who asked not be named, posted footage on Facebook of a series of flights over the carrier while it was docked at Invergordon during ongoing sea trials before it is due to arrive at its new home port of Portsmouth as early as next week.

The enthusiast told the Inverness Courier: “I was amazed that I was able to land on the aircraft carrier for two reasons, the first being that there was no-one to prevent it from landing, although there were security police around in small boats who were waving at the drone.”

High winds

The amateur flier said he had been forced to land on the deck of the ship after a warning of high winds on the control panel of his drone. He added: “I expected the deck to be steel, which would send the drone’s electronic landing systems haywire, but I was able to touch down OK and took a couple of shots.

There was absolutely no-one around when I landed, it was like a ghost ship.” The 65,000-tonne flagship, one of two super-carriers being built for the Royal Navy, has not yet been formally handed over to the military as it continues to be fine tuned by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, the consortium that is building both vessels.

Trials

Trials with the carriers’ American-built F35B “Lightning” aircraft are due to begin next year but the Queen Elizabeth is not due to be fully operational until 2021. The drone pilot said he had been so concerned about his visit to the carrier that he drove to the dockyard in an attempt to explain in person to the crew what he had been doing but was told there was no-one available because all personnel were ashore at dinner.

The hobbyist added: “The ship has not been commissioned by the Royal Navy yet and doesn’t have aircraft, so I don’t think its defence systems that could block radio signals will be fully operational. If they were, there would be no way I would get within a mile of this vessel. “But it is worth a lot of money and I suppose I could have been a Talibani or anything.”

Near misses

The incident is the latest security scare involving drones, which have been involved in multiple near misses with commercial jets landing at airports as well as criminal uses such as delivering drugs and weapons to prisons.

A Scottish MSP said he was considering tabling a question in the Edinburgh parliament about the incident. Liberal Democrat Jamie Stone said: “I think the moral of this astonishing tale is that there is a serious question about security for the Royal Navy for it would have been quite easy for someone of evil intent to do something quite serious.

Even a drone crashing into its radar could cause damage.” The Ministry of Defence said it had tightened security on the carrier following the incident.

An MOD spokesperson said: “We take the security of HMS Queen Elizabeth very seriously. This incident has been reported to Police Scotland, an investigation is underway and we stepped up our security measures in light of it.”

 

 

 

 

Epic photos of Britain’s giant new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth meeting the USS George H.W. Bush

A pair of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets from the Super-Carrier George HW Bush perform a fly-past over the Super-Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth

Two of Britain’s and America’s most powerful ships met up on Tuesday during their break from sea trials and training.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, the UK’s new £3.5 billion ($US4.6 billion) aircraft carrier, passed by the USS George H.W. Bush off the Scottish coast en route to its new home port of Portsmouth.

The British mega-ship has spent the summer conducting its first sea trials in the North Sea, while its US counterpart was in the Persian Gulf supporting ground troops in their fight against ISIS.

Getty Images

The Queen Elizabeth is now in British waters to take part in the training exercise known as Saxon Warrior, where it is hosting 60 members of the British Royal Navy and Royal Marines. The training began on August 1.

The British carrier was on its way to Portsmouth after more than two months of sea trials in the North Sea.

Below are some epic photos from the meetup:

The British carrier was on its way to Portsmouth after more than two months of sea trials in the North Sea
The USS George H.W. Bush was taking part in Saxon Warrior, a multiday joint exercise led by the Royal Navy
The British commanders also had some time to socialise. Kyd invited Commodore Andrew Betton, the leader of the Saxon Warrior exercises, on board for drinks and sandwiches
The exercise involved over 60 Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines training on board the US carrier

At full strength, the Queen Elizabeth could have 36 fighter jets and four helicopters on board. But at the moment, it’s empty.

The UK has 10 F-35 fighter jets, a Ministry of Defence spokesman told Business Insider UK, but none is in the country. The US contractor Lockheed Martin built them, and they are scheduled to be delivered to the UK in 2018. The earliest they could fly live combat missions is 2020.

A Royal Navy Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II

The ministry expects to have 138 F-35s in the 2020s, the spokesman added.

 

New £48m contract for workboat fleet will support UK carriers and UK jobs, Defence Minister announces

CGI of the new workboats in action. Atlas Elektronik

With the Royal Navy growing and Britain’s flagship carrier now set to enter her new home, Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin has announced a £48 million contract for next-generation workboats which will support both British ships and British jobs.

The fleet of up to 38 workboats will assist Royal Navy ships from UK bases and on operations all over the world.

With Britain’s flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier set to enter her new home in Portsmouth in under two weeks time, tasks to be carried out by the boats will include transferring personnel to and from both of the UK’s carriers. Able to carry up to 36 passengers at one time, the workboats can be stowed inside the Carriers and winched to and from the water using on-board lifting equipment, allowing them to support the enormous ships either in port or on operations.

Building and supporting the boats will also sustain 60 British jobs, including 15 at Atlas Elektronik UK near Dorchester in Dorset where the boats will be built. A further 45 jobs will be sustained across the supply chain, including at E P Barrus in Bicester, KPM-Marine in Birmingham and Mashfords in Plymouth.

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said:

From the south coast to the banks of the Clyde, British shipbuilding is ensuring that our growing Navy has the reach it needs to protect our interests around the globe. These cutting-edge workboats will support the likes of our iconic new aircraft carriers and the Type 26 frigates, as well as sustaining 60 British jobs. This is another step in our £178 billion plan to provide our Armed Forces with the very best equipment to keep our country safe.

The £48m contract will support UK carriers and UK jobs

Ranging in length from 11 to 18 metres, the boats will also perform other tasks including officer and diver training, Antarctic exploration and explosive ordnance disposal.

They are highly adaptable to operational demands thanks to their cutting-edge modular design elements. For example, if the Royal Navy wished to quickly redeploy a boat from hydrographic survey duties to support diving for explosive ordnance, the survey module can be quickly lifted out of the boat and replaced with the diving module containing the high pressure air required for that task.

The contract will enable the design and construction of up to 38 boats as well as in-service support for the fleet for a further two years after the final boat is accepted. The first boat will enter service next year.

Chief Executive Officer of Defence Equipment and Support, the MOD’s procurement organisation, Tony Douglas said:

These boats use modern materials and have been designed from the keel up to provide the Royal Navy with unparalleled flexibility and adaptability.

DE&S is proud to maintain excellent working relationships with partners across UK industry, ensuring our Armed Forces continue to be provided with the equipment they need while also maintaining vital British skills and jobs.

The boats will all feature glass-reinforced plastic hulls and advanced twin waterjet propulsion. Despite their varying roles, they will all have the same steering and control system, reducing the need for training and making them simpler to operate.

 

U.S. and British Super-Carriers meet off Scotland

Photo: Royal Navy

Two aircraft carriers, one operational since 2009 and the other preparing for its commissioning ceremony, met off the coast of Scotland during the UK-hosted exercise Saxon Warrior.

HMS Queen Elizabeth met up with the USS George HW Bush and her carrier strike group during a series of war games which have seen the Commander of the UK Carrier Strike Group, Commodore Andrew Betton, and his team direct jets, firepower and personnel across the task group for the last ten days to ensure readiness for the UK’s own carrier strike capability.

The U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush has more than 60 Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines on board, who have been working with their US counterparts to hone carrier strike skills ahead of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s entry into service.

During a pause in the exercise’s high tempo activities, there was a chance for HMS Queen Elizabeth to join the carrier strike group for a brief period as she continues her own contractor sea trials ahead of her first entry into her new home port in Portsmouth, expected to be in just under two weeks.

Captain Jerry Kyd, HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Commanding Officer, said: “The USS George HW Bush battle group is an awesome embodiment of maritime power projection.

“And given that the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group Commander and his staff are embedded on board the US carrier for Saxon Warrior shows the closeness of our relationship with the US Navy and the importance that both nations place on the delivery of the UK’s Carrier Strike programme.

“HMS Queen Elizabeth is at the start of her journey to generate to full warfighting capability, but we are working hard to ready ourselves to take our place in operations and the line of battle alongside our closest allies.”

As well as the USS George HW Bush, the group includes two Portsmouth-based Type 23 frigates, HMS Westminster and HMS Iron Duke, destroyer USS Donald Cook, missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the Norwegian frigate HNoMS Helge Ingstad.

The guided missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st class Robert R. McRill (RELEASED)

Captain Ken Houlberg, Chief of Staff to the Commander of the UK Carrier Strike Group, said: “The US Navy, out of huge generosity, has given us the whole of their carrier strike group so that we can practise the command and control of a carrier doing these operations in British waters so that when HMS Queen Elizabeth comes into service later this year we will be well on the way to forming our own carrier strike capability.”

The exercise, which has been at play for nearly a week, has seen UK staff work with their American counterparts to fight off a series of simulated threats from enemy forces, using all the air, surface and sub-surface assets of the entire task group.

There are 15 ships from across NATO taking part in the exercise, called Exercise Saxon Warrior, with more than 100 aircraft and nearly 10,000 people.

The UK defense secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced on Monday that Britain’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is set to enter her new home in Portsmouth in around two weeks.

Weather conditions mean the exact date of the historic moment is yet to be confirmed, the window for entry will open next Thursday 17 August, with her arrival expected to be no later than the following Tuesday 22 August.