Ministry of Defence
First F-35B Lightning landing on HMS Prince of Wales
An F-35B Lightning aircraft has landed onboard the Royal Navy’s latest aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, for the first time.
Taking place off the south coast of England, the milestone marks a significant step towards the 65,000-tonne vessel reaching full operational capability.
Operating together as part of Sea Acceptance Trials, it is the first time a fixed wing aircraft has landed onboard HMS Prince of Wales. The trials test the ship’s capability to receive and launch aircraft whilst maintaining continuous air operations.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace recently said:
The vital partnership between HMS Prince of Wales and our F-35B aircraft signifies a momentous milestone in the capability of the fifth-generation carrier, marking another step towards it becoming fully operational.
The first jet landing is a huge achievement for all involved and showcases the collaboration across the UK Armed Forces and our impressive Carrier Strike capabilities.
As announced by the Prime Minister last November, Defence has received an increase in funding of over £24 billion across the next four years, enabling our Armed Forces to adapt to meet future threats. Further enhanced by the commitments outlined in the Defence Command Paper, the F-35B is an integral air capability and HMS Prince of Wales marks a step change in the Royal Navy fleet as the second of the UK’s fifth-generation aircraft carriers.
The F-35B Lightning is designed to operate alongside RAF Typhoon aircraft and is jointly operated by the Royal Navy and RAF. It forms a central role within the UK’s Carrier Strike capability, already operating from HMS Queen Elizabeth and will be operating for the first time overseas as part of the Carrier Strike Group 21 deployment.
Commanding Officer of HMS Prince of Wales, Captain Darren Houston recently said:
This prodigious achievement on the deck of HMS Prince of Wales is a significant milestone in the Royal Navy’s re-birth of Carrier Strike Group operations. It is a tangible reflection of the enormous collective effort from the aircraft carrier enterprise to deliver the Royal Navy’s second aircraft carrier.
I am particularly proud of the contribution made by my Ship’s Company in developing this world leading, sovereign capability and we look forward in earnest to rapidly growing our experience operating the F-35B through further trials and training later this year.
With a flight deck large enough to accommodate three football pitches, HMS Prince of Wales can receive up to 36 F-35B aircraft and carries a crew of around 1,600 personnel when aircraft are onboard.
207 Squadron F-35B pilot and the first to land onboard HMS Prince of Wales, Squadron Leader Will recently said:
It was a real honour to be the first pilot to land the F-35B onboard HMS Prince of Wales.
With all the training that we have previously undertaken with HMS Queen Elizabeth, we are now looking forward to using that experience and knowledge working with HMS Prince of Wales as she moves towards her full operational capability.
HMS Prince of Wales left her home port of Portsmouth at the end of April to conduct operational training which has seen the ship operating alongside the F-35B aircraft, as well as helicopters from the Royal Navy, British Army and RAF.
The F-35B aircraft are primarily based at RAF Marham and are the newest addition to the RAF’s fleet, able to travel up to 1,200mph.
Latest News from
Ministry of Defence
Defence Secretary National Flagship Engagement Day speech29/07/2021 10:33:00
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace yesterday spoke at the National Flagship Engagement Day.
HRH The Princess Royal opens the new RFCA headquarters28/07/2021 15:05:00
The Princess Royal officially opened the new headquarters at the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association for the North West of England and Isle of Man (NW RFCA) and sealed a time capsule.
UK and Kenya sign new Defence Cooperation Agreement to tackle shared threat from Al-Shabaab28/07/2021 13:25:00
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Defence Dr Monica Juma signed the deal after agreeing to step up UK support for the key security partner
UK Government to acquire Sheffield Forgemasters International Limited28/07/2021 12:15:00
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has today launched an offer to acquire Sheffield Forgemasters International Limited (SFIL).
50 years: delivering unique specialist policing28/07/2021 10:15:00
The Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) launches its 50th Anniversary campaign.
Defence Secretary praises UK-France co-operation as RAF helicopters help Mali recovery mission27/07/2021 16:32:00
RAF Chinooks supporting the French-led counter-terror operation in Mali assisted recovery operations after a French Mirage 2000 jet crew ejected from the aircraft.
UK establishes permanent military training team in Western Balkans27/07/2021 15:39:00
UK Ambassador Rachel Galloway signed an agreement to set up the Western Balkans Land Regional Coordination Cell in North Macedonia to coordinate UK training in the region.
MOD reminds public to stay safe on the Defence Training estate during the summer holidays27/07/2021 10:15:00
Stay safe and be aware of the potential dangers of military training areas.
Defence Secretary Vietnam Diplomatic Academy speech26/07/2021 15:15:15
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace recently (23 July 2021) spoke at the Vietnam Diplomatic Academy.