F-35C catches arrestor wire

Cats, traps and claptrap. Why the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers operate VSTOL aircraft

There is a consistently held view that the Royal Navy was mistaken when it chose to adopt Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing (VSTOL) aircraft carriers. In this long read we look at the convoluted history of the issue and review the arguments both for and against.

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Photo essay: First British jets land onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth – Westlant 19 deployment – Part 3

On 13th October the first British-owned jets landed on HMS Queen Elizabeth off the eastern coast of the US. This photo essay covers the arrival of the 4 jets from 17 Squadron and 617 Squadron.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth F35-B launch

Royal Navy aircraft carrier ski jumps – a history

British inventors have been responsible for many of the innovations that have made carrier aviation possible. The ‘ski jump’ was first developed in the 1970s to enable the Sea Harrier jet to launch more safely and efficiently and is a feature of the new QEC aircraft carriers, helping launch the latest generation of jets. Here we look at the history, design and purpose of the ramp.

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F-35 Munitions Meteor Brimstone ASRAAM

Munitions handling on the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers

In a previous article, we looked at the new jetty being constructed in Scotland for transferring munitions to and from Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. It is a complex subject but here we make a cursory examination of some of the weapons and their handling arrangements onboard the ships themselves.

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F-35B HMS Queen Eliabeth

Looking ahead – US Marine Corps aircraft to embark on board HMS Queen Elizabeth

Last week the US Marine Corps formally announced what had been known for some time, that their F-35B jets will join the 2021 Carrier Strike Group (CSG21) operational deployment on board HMS Queen Elizabeth. Here we look at the implications and benefits of this joint operating arrangement.

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F-35 over HMS Queen Elizabeth

RAF plan for F-35 split-buy undermines aircraft carrier programme

Deborah Haynes, foreign affairs editor at Sky News has reported that, behind the scenes, the RAF is arguing hard to split the UK purchase of F-35 aircraft into two variants. The F-35B is the only fixed-wing aircraft able to operate from the new QEC aircraft carriers but it’s no secret that the RAF harbours the ambition to procure F-35As as a direct replacement for its land-based Tornado force.

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Aviation history made on board HMS Queen Elizabeth

Aviation history was made on board HMS Queen Elizabeth today when a jet made the first ever Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing (SRVL). This procedure allows the F-35B to return to the ship carrying weapons and fuel, the weight of which would be too much for a vertical landing.

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