Up close with a US super carrier and the pilots fresh from combat operations

The arrival of the USS George HW Bush in British waters to participate in exercise Saxon Warrior with the Royal Navy provided a useful opportunity to meet US naval aviators who have recently completed combat missions against ISIS in the Middle East. Although they are very different, inevitable comparisons will also be made between the Nimitz class CVN and the Queen Elizabeth class CVF, which deserve to be put in perspective.

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On board USS George HW Bush as she helps the RN back into the aircraft carrier game

The USS George HW Bush deployed from the United States in January and has been in the Arabian Gulf and Mediterranean conducting strikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The Bush is arguably the most potent warship afloat in the world today and her visit to UK waters is very significant for the RN and US relations with Europe. Unlike the 65,000 ton HMS Queen Elizabeth, at 100,000 tons, the Bush is too large to enter Portsmouth and on her arrival in the Solent on 27th July, she anchored in Stokes Bay before hosting media and a VIP evening reception.

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Dunkirk movie

Dunkirk movie review. Great cinema, but is it great history?

Dunkirk is a fine drama, gripping and well paced. Tension is maintained throughout and Christopher Nolan has directed with an immaculate sense of action. An outstanding musical score by Hans Zimmer at times seems to howl like a diving Stuka or rasps like a machine gun, adding to the feeling of fear and foreboding. There are a few confusing jumps back and forward in time and an odd subplot about soldiers trapped in a fishing boat being used for target practice but overall, it deserves its 5-star reviews.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth Invergordon

HMS Queen Elizabeth’s extended stop at Invergordon explained

HMS Queen Elizabeth has been alongside in the deepwater port of Invergordon for more than 10 days now and there is growing speculation about the reason for her extended stay. The planned stop at Invergordon had always been in the programme to allow refuelling and replenishment after 12 days at sea which included full power trials. Replenishment alone would not require 10 days, so it is clear there are engineering issues involved.

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Crowsnest Merlin Helicopter Aircraft Carriers

Crowsnest – the strike carrier’s eye in the sky

Crowsnest is the name for the project to provide a new airborne early warning system for the RN. Sea King Mk 7 helicopters operated by 849 Naval Air Squadron currently operate in this role and provide what is now called Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASaC). They are the last Sea Kings remaining active in UK service but are due to go in 2018, by which time this type will have served for nearly 50 years.

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