This is the moment an F-35 Lightning fighter jet takes off and lands on the HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier for the first time.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II touched down on the second of the UK’s new aircraft carriers on a clear day off the south coast of England.
HMS Prince of Wales set sail for the first time in September 2019 and is expected to be ready for front-line duty from 2023 when she will form a central part of a UK Carrier Strike Group.
The Royal Navy posted a clip of the F-35 take-off and landing on social media with the message: “Want to see some lightning on a perfect summer’s day?
“Here’s a piece of naval history being made: the first landing by an F-35 Lightning on the deck of HMS Prince of Wales off the south coast of England, as the UK forges ahead with a two-strike-carrier Navy.”
On its website, the Royal Navy confirmed its goal of becoming a dual aircraft carrier navy: “Britain has taken a big step towards a two-strike carrier Navy with the debut of the F-35 Lightning aboard HMS Prince of Wales.”
RAF Squadron Leader Will of 207 Squadron from Marham said: “It was a real honour to be the first pilot to land the F-35B on 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 as we work with HMS Prince of Wales as she moves towards her full operational capability.”
Shortly after the first landing, Lieutenant Commander Ben, also from 207 Squadron, also took off from the aircraft carrier in a Lightning jet.
The aircraft carrier and fighter jet are carrying out Sea Acceptance Trials to test the ship’s ability to receive and launch jets and maintain near-continuous air operations.
Overseeing both maiden flight was Captain Darren Houston, who said: “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.”