HMS Queen Elizabeth set for Washington visit during final round of F-35B trials

Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is deploying to the US east coast this summer where it will carry out the final round of flight trials with F-35 fighter jets.

Photo: Royal Navy

The carrier’s final spell of preparations ahead of the declaration of initial operational capability in 2020 will include a port visit in the Washington area where it will host the Atlantic Future Forum (AFF).

HMS Queen Elizabeth (HMSQE) also served as the host for the first AFF which took place in New York in October 2018, during the ship’s previous round of trials.

The aircraft carrier is making the transatlantic journey for the second consecutive year. It will also make a number of port calls whilst deployed before returning ahead of Christmas.

The deployment, known as Westlant 19, will see HMSQE and crew conduct vital deck and warfare trials with UK F-35B jets from 17 Test and Evaluation Squadron based in the USA and 617 Squadron based at RAF Marham, as well rotary wing training with Merlin and Wildcat helicopters.

Whilst Stateside, HMSQE will also welcome United States Marine Corps F-35s on deck.

The aircraft carrier is still on track to deploy on global operations from 2021.