Tag: Lightning II

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.

 

Navy Looks at Accelerating Super Hornet Transitions

Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy is looking at ways to accelerate the phase-out of F/A-18C “Classic” Hornet strike fighters from its carrier air wings and replacing the last few squadrons with F/A-18E Super Hornets, a Navy spokeswoman said.

“As we balance operational requirements and our initiatives to build the most capable and ready forward-deployed force, we are identifying the most efficient and effective way to safely transition the last four Navy operational Hornet squadrons to Super Hornets,” Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld, public affairs officer for commander, Naval Air Forces, said in an e-mail to Seapower.

“In order to provide our most capable warfighting force forward, the Navy began the first of the final transitions of our four operational F/A-18C Hornet squadrons to F/A-18E Super Hornet squadrons in July, with an expected completion in [fiscal] ’19. Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131, was the first of the four squadrons to begin the transition last month.”

The other three F/A-18C squadrons, all based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., are VFA-34, VFA-37 and VFA-83.

“Accelerating the transition to Super Hornets will allow cost savings and reduce depot maintenance workload,” Groeneveld said. “As the Navy approaches the end of the extended service life for Hornets, the cost per flight hour continues to increase. Additionally, there are shortages in the Department of the Navy’s spare parts and supply system that have contributed to flight line readiness challenges, as well as our ability to extend the service lives of these airframes.”

She also said the transitions give the Navy the opportunity to select its best-condition Hornets for use by the Marine Corps and by Navy support and reserve units, such as Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center, Fighter Composite Squadron 12, Reserve squadron VFA-204 and the Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.

The Navy is confident it will be able to continue to support all operational requirements as it completes transition of the Hornet fleet to Super Hornets,” she said.

Congress has supported the Navy’s requirements for increased Super Hornet procurement to bridge the gap to the fleet introduction of the F-35C Lightning II strike fighter. The first fleet squadron to make the transition to the F-35C will be VFA-147 in 2018.

 

Lockheed Martin offers F-35 to Canada as ‘interim’ fighter jet

Credit: John Kent

Last year, the Liberals announced a proposal to buy 18 interim fighter jets from Boeing to deal with a capability gap facing the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Lockheed Martin has offered the Liberal government the F-35 as an “interim” fighter aircraft, a move sure to turn up the heat on rival U.S. aerospace firm Boeing still embroiled in a trade dispute with Canada.

Last year, the Liberals announced a proposal to buy 18 interim fighter jets from Boeing to deal with a capability gap facing the Royal Canadian Air Force. But that multibillion dollar plan to acquire Super Hornet jets has been thrown into limbo after Boeing filed a trade complaint in the U.S. against Bombardier of Quebec.

The Liberal government broke off discussions with Boeing on the Super Hornet deal.

But Lockheed Martin has seen opportunity in the rift between Canada and Boeing and has officially offered its F-35 as an interim aircraft to supplement the RCAF’s aging CF-18 jets. Lockheed has long contended the F-35 is more cost effective and more advanced than the Super Hornet.

Asked about the Lockheed Martin offer, Matthew Luloff, a spokesman with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s office, responded that the federal government continues “to explore many options to provide an interim solution to supplement the CF-18s until the permanent replacement is fully operational.”

Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet

“We have not yet made a decision,” he added in an email. “Discussions must demonstrate that the interim fleet is appropriately capable and can be obtained at a cost, schedule, and economic value that are acceptable to Canadians.”

Lockheed Martin has noted that it continues to provide the Canadian government with updated information on the maturity of the F-35 program and the operational status of the jet.

The F-35 will be showcased Aug. 11-13 in Canada at the airshow at Abbotsford, B.C. The U.S. Air Force will be flying the plane at the show and F-35s from the Netherlands will be making their first appearance in Canada.

The Boeing Super Hornet will also appear at the air show. Boeing declined to comment about Lockheed Martin’s offer to the Canadian government on providing F-35s as interim aircraft.

Boeing was well on its way to wrap up the deal to provide Canada with the 18 Super Hornets. That was expected to be completed by the end of the year and cost between $5 billion and $7 billion.

But in April, Boeing complained to the U.S. government that Quebec-based Bombardier was receiving subsidies, which in turn allowed it to sell its C-Series civilian passenger aircraft at below-market prices. Boeing convinced the U.S. Commerce Department and International Trade Commission to launch an investigation into Bombardier.

That prompted the Liberals to start backing away from a Super Hornet deal with Boeing, although federal officials acknowledged they were still talking with the U.S. government over acquiring fighter aircraft. “It is not the behaviour of a trusted partner,” Sajjan said of Boeing in an unprecedented speech in late May to defence industry executives.

The interim jets would be used to help bridge the gap until a new replacement fleet for Canada’s CF-18 fleet can be purchased. The Liberals have said they will buy 88 new jets to replace the CF-18s.

The previous Conservative government had committed Canada to buying the F-35 but backed off that promise as the aircraft became controversial because of increased costs and technical issues.

Canada, however, still remains a partner in the F-35 program and Canadian firms have contributed a large amount of equipment and parts to the stealth fighter.

But buying F-35 jets for the interim fighter aircraft program would potentially be embarrassing for the Liberals. During the election campaign, Justin Trudeau vowed his government would never buy the F-35. As prime minister, Trudeau later claimed the F-35 “does not work.”

Boeing has declined a Canadian government request to drop its complaint against Bombardier. Boeing has said it considers the issue a commercial matter.

But Boeing’s actions run a risk for the aerospace company that wants to continue to do more defence business in Canada, analysts say.

 

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.

 

Britain’s flagship Carrier could arrive home as early as next Thursday, Defence Secretary announces

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has announced that Britain’s iconic HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier is set to enter her new home in Portsmouth in around two weeks’ time.

The 65,000-tonne Carrier, the biggest warship ever to be built in Britain, has been undergoing sea trials since setting sail from Scotland’s Rosyth dockyard in June. She is now set to make her historic arrival into Portsmouth, where she will be the latest in a long line of famous Royal Navy ships to call the port home.

Whilst weather conditions mean the exact date of the historic moment is yet to be confirmed, the window for entry will open next Thursday (17/08), with her arrival expected to be no later than the following Tuesday (22/08).

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

In just two weeks’ time, the most powerful warship ever built for Britain’s famous Royal Navy is set to sail into her proud new home in Portsmouth.

HMS Queen Elizabeth‎ will be the Royal Navy’s flagship for the next 50 years, keeping us safe by deploying across the seven seas, using her strike power to deter our enemies.

With only three other countries in the world building aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth will give Britain the capability to lead the way in tackling global issues in an increasingly uncertain world, from providing humanitarian relief to high-end warfighting.

And with the state-of-the-art F-35B Lightning fighter jets on track to make their first trial flights from the Carrier’s deck next year, the UK is now building towards delivering Carrier Strike capability.
Both aircraft carriers are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.

 

 

Simulation shows F-35B in Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth [VIDEO]

Uniquely for a vessel of this type, it will be common to see the jump-jet F-35B appear to land conventionally.

This is a process called Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing. It is a process designed to land jump-jet aircraft that uses both the vertical thrust from the jet engine and lift from the wings, thus maximising the payload an aircraft can return with and stopping the financial waste that comes with dropping expensive weaponry in the sea in order to land vertically.

 

Read more of this article by clicking on the link below: 

 

Special Report: On Board USS George HW Bush

British sailors who will serve on board HMS Queen Elizabeth are cutting their teeth on the crowded flight deck of a US Nimitz class aircraft carrier.

The USS George HW Bush has arrived in the Solent ahead of a joint exercise with the Royal Navy.
As the Queen Elizabeth continues sea trials ahead getting its first F35B stealth fighters in 2018, its a chance to gain crucial hands on experience on a flight deck of the same size.

5000 US Navy sailors call the USS George H W Bush home.

The ship entered service in 2009 and recently spent several months working on operation inherent resolve in the Mediterranean.
Bombing missions against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq being launched from her four-acre flight deck.
The ship is in the Solent ahead of Exercise Saxon Warrior – a multi-national exercise, all about operating as part of a carrier strike group.

There are more than 60 Royal Navy personnel on board which gives the personnel a superb chance to prepare for the Queen Elizabeth class carrier – the deck of which is the same size of the Bush.

Lt Cdr James Capps is one of them and says the experience is “awe inspiring”.

The USS George HW Bush is well used to working with the Royal Navy, the ships first ever deployment saw her join exercise Saxon Warrior for its 2011 iteration.

The ships will remain in the Solent for the next few days – many of the crew will enjoy up to 5 days shore leave, before heading back to be part of the exercise.

Source: Forces Network.

US Navy & USMC planning for the 1st F-35B shipboard deployment within the next year

Two F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters complete vertical landings aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) during the opening day of the first session of operational testing. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)

The Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT), Admiral Scott Swift co-hosted the Joint Strike Fighter Sustainment Summit alongside Marine Corps Forces, at COMPACFLT Headquarters June 27-28.

During the summit Rear Adm. John Palmer delivered remarks to more than 50 service members and civilians to include representatives from Lockheed Martin, who built the aircraft, Pratt and Whitney, who built the engine, Marine Corps Headquarters, Defense Logistics Agency, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Commander Naval Air Forces Pacific, Commander Naval Air Forces Atlantic, Commander Naval Surface Forces Pacific, and Military Sealift Command. The attendees focused on planning and preparing the logistical support for the F-35B Lightning II first deployment scheduled to happen within the next year.

“The summit was primarily built to maximize communication, elevate problems, and arrive at solutions. This aircraft has a unique maintenance and support structure, and it is unlike any aviation weapon system presently in the Navy and Marine Corps inventories,” said Palmer, U.S. Pacific Fleet director of logistics, fleet supply and ordnance.

According to Palmer, deploying the F-35B will require focused efforts by all stakeholders to ensure logistics resources are available to support the Fleet introduction to include funding, spares, tools, support equipment, information systems support, and training.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 13, 2017) Sailors perform a chock and chain evolution on an F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighter aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). Wasp is underway acquiring certifications in preparation for their upcoming homeport shift to Sasebo, Japan where they are slated to relieve the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zhiwei Tan/Released)

“The aircraft and engine are large and require keen planning for hangar and flight deck spotting & storage. The best strategy for overcoming the Joint Strike Fighter roll-out challenge is to engage in continuous communications across all stakeholders,” Palmer added.

After reaching initial operational capability, 10 F-35Bs were delivered to the fleet.

“The Marine Corps has been successfully operating the F-35B Lightning II in the western Pacific for almost 7 months now with VMFA-121 at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan. Next year, we will make the first shipboard deployment for the squadron as part of a Marine Expeditionary Unit. The F-35B is a tremendous upgrade from the legacy AV-8B and these new capabilities will be demonstrated in future operations. This aircraft, unlike any others in the past, brings unique challenges due to the global logistic network associated with this platform,” said Brig. Gen. Brian C. Cavanaugh, deputy commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.

The aircraft is a short takeoff, vertical landing (STOVL) variant, and is the world’s first supersonic STOVL stealth aircraft. It’s designed to operate from austere bases and a range of air-capable ships near front-line combat zones. It can also take off and land conventionally from longer runways on major bases. The F-35B will replace the AV-8B Harrier and F/A-18 Hornet.