in Defence

British F-35 fully loaded for first time on HMS Queen Elizabeth

Posted 29 October 2019 · Add Comment

For the first time on a Royal Navy aircraft carrier, a British F-35 Lightning has been fully loaded with weaponry, demonstrating the destructive and defensive power it can launch from the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth.



Above: A British F-35 Lightning stealth fighter ‘tooled up’ for the first time on the deck of a Royal Navy aircraft carrier.
Courtesy Royal Navy


Loaded on to this state-of-the-art jet from 17 (Test and Evaluation) is the weaponry it would typically carry on a strike mission: 22,000lb of destructive and defensive power.

In this case the ‘bombheads’ on HMS Queen Elizabeth – red-surcout-wearing air engineer technicians – carefully loaded inert Paveway laser-guided bombs and ASRAAM air-to-air missiles (for taking out aerial threats) on to the external pylons and bomb bay.

Fully-loaded, it is known as 'beast mode' by crews because of the firepower it delivers – nearly three times more than a Harrier and as much as the heaviest payload carried by a WW2 Lancaster bomber (a Grand Slam or ‘earthquake’ bomb.

To keep numbers of personnel on board the ship to a minimum, most of the process of getting the firepower from the magazines in the bowels of the 65,000-tonne warship to the flight deck is automated.

Instead the Highly Mechanised Weapon Handling System – unique to the Queen Elizabeth class – uses a network of tracks, upon which a number of weapon-carrying mechanical ‘moles’ move, remotely controlled from operator consoles.

The moles carry weapon loads on pallets to the ship’s weapon preparation areas or hangar via a system of hydraulic lifts which run through the heart of the carrier.

The system is highly automated – and fitted with safety features to prevent any wrong moves.

Once the air weapons have been prepared by technicians in the preparation areas, they are moved to the flight deck via another set of lifts, from where they can be wheeled on trolleys to the aircraft themselves.

A system like this has never been fitted to a ship before and allows weapon moves with far fewer people involved than more traditional manual handling methods, supporting a greater rate of weapon re-supply to aircraft and therefore a better mission sortie rate.

Six F-35s are now embarked on the future flagship off the East Coast of the USA, plus Merlin helicopters of 820 NAS (providing anti-submarine warfare protection) and 845 (general duties, search and rescue, commando carrying) as the Carrier Air Group hones its skills for the first time, building up to HMS Queen Elizabeth’s maiden deployment in 2021.

 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

PSG and Pexa become Addev Materials Aerospace & Defense

In 2019 Graytone Group's Pexa and PSG - distributors of surface finishing materials and chemicals to the aerospace industry - were acquired by French owned chemicals distribution and custom packaging specialist, Addev Materials and

TT Electronics to acquire Torotel

TT Electronics has agreed to acquire Torotel, a US-based designer and manufacturer of high-reliability power and electromagnetic assemblies and components for the aerospace and defence markets.

DIO's CTCRM project in Devon marks major milestone

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) project to build new accommodation for personnel at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) in Devon has celebrated a major milestone.

European Commission called upon to implement EU Testing Protocol

Over 20 travel and tourism bodies as well as unions across Europe united today in an unprecedented call for European Commission leadership to replace quarantine restrictions with an EU Testing Protocol for Travel in a bid to save the

UK’s first UV treatment of security trays installed at Gatwick

Gatwick is the first airport in the UK to treat its security trays with enough UV light energy to guarantee a 99.9% microbe disinfection rate – protecting passengers and staff and reducing the spread of coronaviruses, including COVID-19

Loganair links Dundee Airport with Belfast City Airport

The first flight on the new Loganair service between Dundee Airport and George Best Belfast City Airport took off for the first time today.

Getac SK2606280920
See us at