The UK Readies for the Coming of the Queen Elizabeth Carriers: Ski Jump Testing


2017-10-14 As the first Queen Elizabeth class carrier has begun its two year period of sea trials earlier this year.

Part of the preparation for operations is ski jump training for F-35B pilots.

This training is being initially at Pax River where a ski jump test and training facility has been built.

In an article published in 2015, we highlighted the beginning of this proces:

2015-06-24  The ski jump is a feature on UK warships which have operated the Harrier and will operate the F-35B.

The joint UK-US test team at Pax River has recently completed the first test of the ski jump for the F-35B.

In the photos below, there are three shots of the ski jump as used by the British.

The first shows it in use during USMC harrier certifications in 2007 aboard the HMS Illustrious, which also saw the first landing on a foreign warship of the Osprey.

The second shows the ski jump aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The third shows the first launch of the F-35B off of a ski jump at the Pax River test facility.

The fourth photo shows the F-35B taking off from the USS Wasp without a ski jump.

The ski jump provides an advantage for launching with more weight and with less-end speed.

The fifth photo shows an RAF F-35B at MCAS Beaufort with Squadron Leader Hugh Nichols.

The F-35 is generated by and will be supported by a global enterprise.

For the British, the immediate advantage of this is to be able to leverage US-located facilities as their own are built over the next three years in the United Kingdom.

This means that the UK F-35Bs can be deployed about the HMS Queen Elizabeth fully capable in 2018 rather than having to start at that point, which is when infrastructure has been put in place in the UK for operations.

In the video below, ski jump training is highlighted for the UK pilots and the USMC pilots who will train and potentially operate off of the new UK carriers as well.

As one source put it:

Once HMS Queen Elizabeth and sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, due to be handed over to the Royal Navy in 2019, join the navy after £6bn of investment, they will provide all three sectors of the UK Armed Forces with eight acres of sovereign territory which can be deployed around the world.

Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth setting sail