Reconfigurable ship

The Navy commissioned its newest Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Little Rock (LCS-9), during an 11 a.m. EST ceremony Saturday, December 16, at the Canalside waterfront in Buffalo, New York.

The future USS Little Rock (LCS-9) underway during a high-speed run in Lake Michigan during Acceptance Trials. Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine successfully completed acceptance trials on the future USS Little Rock (LCS-9), August 25 (Photo by Lockheed Martin)
The future USS Little Rock (LCS-9) underway during a high-speed run in Lake Michigan during Acceptance Trials. Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine successfully completed acceptance trials on the future USS Little Rock (LCS-9), August 25 (Photo by Lockheed Martin)

The future USS Little Rock, designated LCS-9, is the 10th littoral combat ship to enter the fleet and the fifth of the Freedom-variant design. It is the second warship named for the Arkansas state capital and will be commissioned alongside the first USS Little Rock (CL-92), which serves as a museum at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.

Arkansas Senator John Boozman delivered the ceremony’s principal address. Mrs. Janee L. Bonner, spouse of the Honorable Josiah «Jo» Bonner, a former U.S. representative from Alabama, is serving as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she gave the order to «man our ship and bring her to life»!

«The future USS Little Rock represents much more than the state capital of Arkansas, it represents service», said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. «This ship would not exist without the dedicated service of the men and women of Marinette Marine, who can be proud of the accomplishment of putting another warship to sea. Once commissioned, this ship will provide presence around the globe for decades to come».

LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, designed to meet validated fleet requirements for Surface Warfare (SUW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Mine CounterMeasures (MCM) missions in the littoral region. An interchangeable mission package is embarked on each LCS and provides the primary mission systems in one of these warfare areas. Using an open architecture design, modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to gain, sustain and exploit littoral maritime supremacy, LCS provides U.S. joint force access to critical areas in multiple theaters.

The LCS-class consists of the Freedom variant and Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered ships, e.g. LCS-1). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS-6 and follow-on even-numbered ships). Twenty-nine LCS ships have been awarded to date: 11 have been delivered to the U.S. Navy, five are in various stages of construction and three are in pre-production states.

 

Ship Design Specifications

Hull Advanced semiplaning steel monohull
Length Overall 389 feet/118.6 m
Beam Overall 57 feet/17.5 m
Draft 13.5 feet/4.1 m
Full Load Displacement Approximately 3,200 metric tons
Top Speed Greater than 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range at top speed 1,000 NM/1,151 miles/1,852 km
Range at cruise speed 4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km
Watercraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 4
Aircraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 5
Propulsion Combined diesel and gas turbine with steerable water jet propulsion
Power 85 MW/113,600 horsepower
Hangar Space Two MH-60 Romeo Helicopters
One MH-60 Romeo Helicopter and three Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAVs)
Core Crew Less than 50
Accommodations for 75 sailors provide higher sailor quality of life than current fleet
Integrated Bridge System Fully digital nautical charts are interfaced to ship sensors to support safe ship operation
Core Self-Defense Suite Includes 3D air search radar
Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) gunfire control system
Rolling-Airframe Missile Launching System
57-mm Main Gun
Mine, Torpedo Detection
Decoy Launching System

 

Freedom-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Freedom (LCS-1) 06-02-2005 09-23-2006 11-08-2008 San Diego, California
USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) 07-11-2009 12-07-2010 09-22-2012 San Diego, California
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) 10-27-2011 12-18-2013 11-21-2015 San Diego, California
USS Detroit (LCS-7) 08-11-2012 10-18-2014 10-22-2016 San Diego, California
USS Little Rock (LCS-9) 06-27-2013 07-18-2015 12-16-2017 San Diego, California
USS Sioux City (LCS-11) 02-19-2014 01-30-2016
USS Wichita (LCS-13) 02-09-2015 09-17-2016
USS Billings (LCS-15) 11-02-2015 07-01-2017
USS Indianapolis (LCS-17) 07-18-2016
USS St. Louis (LCS-19) 05-17-2017
USS Minneapolis/St. Paul (LCS-21)
USS Cooperstown (LCS-23)
USS Marinette LCS-25

 

Fully Autonomous

Aurora Flight Sciences conducted a successful demonstration of the company’s autonomous helicopter system developed under the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS) program. Held at Marine Corps Base Quantico’s Urban Training Center, the AACUS-Enabled UH-1H (AEH-1) conducted multiple flights, showcasing its ability to autonomously execute re-supply missions in relevant and austere settings.

Autonomous UH-1H successfully demonstrates flight and operational capabilities at Marine Corps Base Quantico
Autonomous UH-1H successfully demonstrates flight and operational capabilities at Marine Corps Base Quantico

AACUS is an aircraft-agnostic hardware and software suite which enables a Marine on the ground to request a supply delivery via helicopter from a handheld tablet, requiring no advanced training to operate the system. AEH-1 is fitted with onboard lidar and camera sensors that enable it to detect and avoid obstacles and evaluate the landing zone. The system processes this information to perform onboard mission, route, and path planning to enable autonomous mission execution.

While previous demonstrations have showcased the system’s autonomy capabilities and interactions with trained operators, this is the first demonstration in which the aircraft performed cargo and utility missions in an operationally-relevant training environment with Marine interaction. As part of the demonstration, Marines loaded supplies for the aircraft before clearing the autonomy system for autonomous takeoff.

«The Marines’ vision for the future of vertical lift operation and support is optionally-piloted aircraft», said AACUS Program Manager Stephen Chisarik. «Aurora’s system enables any rotary-wing aircraft to detect and react to hazards in the flight path, and make appropriate adjustments to keep the aircraft safe».

«We’ve developed this great capability ahead of requirements and it’s up to us to determine how to use it», said Lieutenant General Robert Walsh, commanding general, Marine Corps Combat Development Command. «The young marines today have grown up in a tech-savvy society, which is an advantage. We’ve got to keep pushing and moving this technology forward».

Aurora has developed multiple technologies under the AACUS program: the digital flight control system which enables the UH-1 to fly autonomously; and the Tactical Autonomous aerial LOgistics System (TALOS) autonomy technology. The AEH-1 was granted a Special Airworthiness Certificate by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in October, allowing the aircraft to operate autonomous with only a safety pilot onboard to monitor the controls.

Today’s flights served as the final demonstration to ONR, Department of Defense representatives and other senior officials, the culmination of a highly successful five-year Innovative Naval Prototype (INP) program. Having completed the third and final phase of the program, AACUS will now transition to the Marine Corps for experimentation and potential acquisition.

Test event

The U.S. Navy is closer to delivering its new Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) after completing another milestone test flight from an Air Force B-1B Lancer December 8 over Point Mugu Sea Test Range in California.

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer releases the Navy's Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) during a test event December 8 off the coast of California (U.S. Navy photo)
A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer releases the Navy’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) during a test event December 8 off the coast of California (U.S. Navy photo)

During the test, aircrew aboard the B-1B Lancer simultaneously launched two missiles against multiple moving maritime targets for the first time.

«The completion of this test marks another significant accomplishment for the innovative team of government and industry professionals committed to fielding dominant surface warfare capability on an accelerated timeline», said Captain Todd Huber, LRASM program manager.

When operational, LRASM will provide flexible, long-range, advanced, anti-surface capability against high-threat maritime targets. It will play a significant role in ensuring military access to operate in open ocean and the littorals due to its enhanced ability to discriminate and conduct tactical engagements from extended ranges.

Early operational capability for the LRASM is slated for 2018 on the U.S. Air Force B-1 Lancer and 2019 on the U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

Navy completes LRASM milestone test event (U.S. Navy photo)
Navy completes LRASM milestone test event (U.S. Navy photo)

Border Patrol

Leonardo announced on December 11 further orders for its AW139 intermediate twin engine helicopter for public service and security operations in Italy, with contracts for eight aircraft valued at approximately 112 million euro.

Eight more AW139s to strengthen rescue and border patrol services in Italy
Eight more AW139s to strengthen rescue and border patrol services in Italy

The Italian Coast Guard has signed a contract for two AW139s to perform search and rescue missions, with deliveries to be completed by the end of 2018, while the Italian Customs and Border Protection Service (Guardia di Finanza) has ordered six to perform patrol operations, with deliveries to be completed by 2020.

With these aircraft deliveries both operators will have a fleet of 14 AW139s each, allowing a further enhancement in mission capability and simplified logistics as they replace ageing AB412 aircraft. The Italian Coast Guard recently passed the 10,000 flight hours milestone with its AW139 fleet, having saved many lives in operation and providing evidence of the outstanding effectiveness, reliability of the aircraft and successful partnership with Leonardo. Italian Customs and Border Protection Service has been using its AW139s for a range of roles across the nation including mountain and maritime patrol and reconnaissance, law enforcement, Search and Rescue (SAR) and homeland security.

 

Characteristics

Dimensions
Overall length* 16.66 m/54 feet 8 inch
Overall height* 4.98 m/16 feet 4 inch
Rotor diameter 13.8 m/45 feet 3 inch
Propulsion
Powerplant 2 × Pratt & Whitney PT6C-67C Turboshafts with FADEC
Engine Rating
All Engines Operative (AEO) Take off power 2 × 1,252 kW/2 × 1,679 shp
OEI 2.5 min contingency power 1,396 kW/1,872 shp
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW)
Internal load** 6,400 kg/14,110 lbs
External Load 6,800 kg/14,991 lbs
Capacity
Crew 1-2
Passenger seating Up to 15 in light order, or 8 deployable troops in combat order and 2 armed cabin crew for aircraft protection
Stretchers Up to 4 (with 5 attendants)
Baggage compartment 3.4 m3/120 feet3
Performance: International Standard Atmosphere (ISA); Sea Level (S.L.); Maximum Gross Weight (MGW)
Velocity Never Exceed (VNE); Indicated Air Speed (IAS) 167 knots/192 mph/310 km/h
Cruise Speed 165 knots/190 mph/306 km/h
Rate of Climb 2,145 feet/min/10.9 m/s
Hovering Out of Ground Effect (HOGE) 8,130 feet/2,478 m
Service Ceiling 20,000 feet/6,096 m
OEI service ceiling 11,600 feet/3,536 m
Maximum range*** 573 NM/659 miles/1,061 km
Maximum endurance*** 5 h 13 min

* Rotors turning

** An optional MTOW (internal) of 6,800 kg/14,991 lbs is available as kit

*** No reserve, with Auxiliary fuel

Net centric radar

Northrop Grumman Corporation has received a contract from the U.S. Army’s Lower Tier Program Office (LTPO) to perform risk reduction for radar technology and associated mission capabilities intended to replace the Army’s 50-year-old Patriot radars.

Northrop Grumman to perform risk reduction for radar technology under Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) contract
Northrop Grumman to perform risk reduction for radar technology under Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) contract

LTAMDS will be the Army’s first net centric radar to be added to the Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense enterprise controlled by the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS), which Northrop Grumman also develops. IBCS is the advanced command and control system that integrates air and missile defense sensors and weapons, including Patriot, to generate a real-time comprehensive threat picture and enable any-sensor, best-shooter operations.

Northrop Grumman’s next-generation sensors will potentially benefit from decades-long experience in delivering rapidly deployable ground based radars, such as the high performance AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR active electronically scanned array production radar to the United States Marine Corps. G/ATOR capabilities include comprehensive, real-time, 360-degree multi-threat detection and tracking.

«We are excited about this award and the overall mission capabilities we can provide the Army», said Roshan Roeder, vice president, global ground based radars, Northrop Grumman. «We have more than forty years of experience in providing proven surveillance and threat engagement capabilities to more than 35 global customers».

Laser on UAV

The Boeing Co., Huntington Beach, California is being awarded an $8,966,976 competitive, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Low Power Laser Demonstrator (LPLD) Phase 1 effort. No options are contemplated.

Boeing to Demonstrate Low-Power Laser on UAV
Boeing to Demonstrate Low-Power Laser on UAV

Under this new contract, the contractor will perform the next step for the LPLD effort that addresses laser power and aperture size by integrating and testing a low power laser on an unmanned aerial vehicle.

The work will be performed in Huntington Beach, California; and Albuquerque, New Mexico, with an estimated completion date of September 3, 2018.

The period of performance is nine months from December 6, 2017, through September 3, 2018. This contract was competitively procured via publication on the Federal Business Opportunities website through an Advanced Technology Innovation Broad Agency Announcement HQ0147-15-ATI-BAA.

Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and engineering funds in the amount of $2,000,000 are being obligated at the time of award.

The Missile Defense Agency, Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the contracting activity (HQ0277-18-C-0003).

Qatar Agrees Contract

BAE Systems and the Government of the State of Qatar have entered into a contract, valued at approximately £5bn, for the supply of Typhoon aircraft to the Qatar Emiri Air Force along with a bespoke support and training package.

Qatar agrees contract for Typhoon aircraft
Qatar agrees contract for Typhoon aircraft

The contract is subject to financing conditions and receipt by the Company of first payment, which are expected to be fulfilled no later than mid-2018.

The contract provides for 24 Typhoon aircraft with delivery expected to commence in late 2022.

BAE Systems is the prime contractor for both the provision of the aircraft and the agreed arrangements for the in-service support and initial training.

Charles Woodburn, BAE Systems Chief Executive said: «We are delighted to begin a new chapter in the development of a long-term relationship with the State of Qatar and the Qatar Armed Forces, and we look forward to working alongside our customer as they continue to develop their military capability».

Eurofighter Typhoon Statistics
Eurofighter Typhoon Statistics

 

General characteristics

DIMENSIONS
Wingspan 35 feet 11 inch/10.95 m
Length overall 52 feet 4 inch/15.96 m
Height 17 feet 4 inch/5.28 m
Wing Area 551.1 feet2/51.2 m2
MASS
Basic Mass Empty 24,250 lbs/11,000 kg
Maximum Take-Off >51,809 lbs/23,500 kg
Maximum External Load >16,535 lbs/7,500 kg
DESIGN CHARACTERISTICS
Single seat twin-engine, with a two-seat variant
Weapon Carriage 13 Hardpoints
G’ limits +9/-3 ‘g’
Engines Two Eurojet EJ200 reheated turbofans
Maximum dry thrust class 13,500 lbs/6,124 kgf/60 kN
Maximum reheat thrust class 20,000 lbs/9,072 kgf/90 kN
GENERAL PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS
Ceiling >55,000 feet/16,764 m
Brakes off to 35,000 feet(10,668 m)/Mach 1.5 <2.5 minutes
Brakes off to lift off <8 seconds
At low level, 200 knots/230 mph/370 km/h to Mach 1.0 in 30 seconds
Maximum Speed Mach 2.0
Operational Runway Length <2,297 feet/700 m
MATERIALS
Carbon Fibre Composites (CFC) 70%
Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) 12%
Aluminium Alloy, Titanium Alloy 15%
Acrylic (Röhm 249) 3%
OPERATORS
United Kingdom 232 Aircraft
Germany 180 Aircraft
Italy 121 Aircraft
Spain 87 Aircraft
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 72 Aircraft
Austria 15 Aircraft
Sultanate of Oman 12 Aircraft
Kuwait 28 Aircraft
Total 747 Aircraft

 

Christening of Midgett

December 09, 2017, Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division christened the Legend-class National Security Cutter (NSC) USCGC Midgett (WMSL-757) in front of hundreds of guests.

Ship’s Sponsor Jazania H. O’Neal smashes a bottle of sparkling wine against the bow of the National Security Cutter USCGC Midgett (WMSL-757). Also pictured (left to right) are Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias; Coast Guard Vice Commandant Admiral Charles Michel; Matron of Honor Jonna Midgette; and Captain Anthony Williams, the ship’s prospective commanding officer (Photo by Andrew Young/HII)
Ship’s Sponsor Jazania H. O’Neal smashes a bottle of sparkling wine against the bow of the National Security Cutter USCGC Midgett (WMSL-757). Also pictured (left to right) are Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias; Coast Guard Vice Commandant Admiral Charles Michel; Matron of Honor Jonna Midgette; and Captain Anthony Williams, the ship’s prospective commanding officer (Photo by Andrew Young/HII)

«We often speak of our service as a family, our Coast Guard family», said Admiral Charles Michel, vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, who was the ceremony’s keynote speaker. «The Midgett name takes that seriously with a family legacy unprecedented in the armed services, a family that is all about service before self. Such a special name deserves to be emblazoned on a special platform. The Ingalls Shipbuilding team have built this incredible platform, something to be incredibly proud of and something the men and women of the United States Coast Guard take very proudly».

The ship is named to honor John Allen Midgett, who was awarded the Silver Cup by the U.K. Board of Trade in 1918 for the renowned rescue of 42 British sailors aboard the British tanker Mirlo after it was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the coast of North Carolina. He was also awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1924. Midgett was a senior enlisted member of the U.S. Lifesaving Service when it merged with the U.S. Lighthouse Service and U.S. Revenue Cutter Service to become today’s U.S. Coast Guard.

«Midgett is the eighth ship we have built in this class», said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. «And with her, we’ve proven once again that American workers, Ingalls shipbuilders, can take on some of the most challenging manufacturing projects in the world. All Ingalls ships are built with one goal in mind: to protect the brave men and women who protect our freedom. Our Ingalls/Coast Guard team continues to get stronger and more efficient with every ship we produce. And Midgett will be no exception».

Jazania O’Neal, Midgett’s granddaughter, is the ship’s sponsor. She christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across its bow, saying, «In the name of the United States of America, I christen thee Midgett. May God bless this ship and all who sail in her».

Ingalls is the sole builder of Legend-class NSCs and has successfully delivered six to the Coast Guard. Midgett, the eighth ship in the class, was successfully launched in November. USCGC Kimball (WMSL-756) is scheduled to be delivered to the Coast Guard in 2018.

Legend-class NSCs are the flagships of the U.S. Coast Guard. They are the most technologically advanced ships in the Coast Guard’s fleet, with capabilities for maritime homeland security, law enforcement and national security missions. NSCs are 418 feet/127 m long with a 54-foot/16 m beam and displace 4,500 long tons with a full load. They have a top speed of 28 knots/32 mph/52 km/h, a range of 12,000 NM/13,809 miles/22,224 km, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 120. The Legend-class of cutters plays an important role in enhancing the Coast Guard’s operational readiness, capacity and effectiveness at a time when the demand for their services has never been greater.

 

Facts

Displacement 4,500 long tons
Length 418 feet/127 m
Beam 54 feet/16 m
Speed 28 knots/32 mph/52 km/h
Range 12,000 NM/13,809 miles/22,224 km
Endurance 60 days
Crew 120
Equipped with Mk-110 57-mm turret mounted gun
6 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber machine guns
3D air search radar
2 level 1, class 1 aircraft hangers
A stern launch ramp for mission boats
Aviation carried (2) MCH, or (4) Vertical-Launch Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (VUAV) or (1) MCH and (2) VUAV
Stern launch Two cutter boats (Long Range Interceptor and/or Short Range Prosecutor)
Electronic Warfare and Decoys AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System, Two Super Rapid Bloom Offboard Countermeasures (SRBOC)/2 NULKA countermeasures chaff rapid decoy launcher
Communications HF, VHF & UHF
Sensors and Processing Systems X and S band radar, 3D air search radar, AN/SPQ-9 radar, Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF)

 

Ship list

Ship Hull Number Laid down Launched Commissioned
Bertholf WMSL-750 03-29-2005 09-29-2006 08-04-2008
Waesche WMSL-751 09-11-2006 07-12-2008 05-07-2010
Stratton WMSL-752 07-20-2009 07-23-2010 03-31-2012
Hamilton WMSL-753 09-05-2012 08-10-2013 12-06-2014
James WMSL-754 05-17-2013 05-03-2014 08-08-2015
Munro WMSL-755 10-07-2013 09-12-2015 04-01-2017
Kimball WMSL-756 03-04-2016 12-17-2016
Midgett WMSL-757 27-01-2017 22-11-2017
Stone WMSL-758

 

USCGC Midgett (WMSL-757) Christening, Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi

A New Era

December 6, 2017, the F-35A Lightning II «Adir» aircraft were qualified for operational use after a year-long training period.

A New Era in the Israeli Air Force
A New Era in the Israeli Air Force

The process began in December 2016 when the first aircraft arrived and the «Golden Eagle» (140) Squadron was created. Specially trained dedicated crews, who received nine aircraft over the past year operated the F-35A Lightning II «Adir» aircraft throughout the trial period.

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is the only air force, other than the United States Armed Forces (USAF), that operates the F-35A Lightning II «Adir». This is another example of the cooperation and the special strategic relationship between the State of Israel and the United States.

The F-35A Lightning II «Adir» enhances the Israel Defense Forces (IDF’s) strategic and operational capabilities, and improves the IDF’s readiness in several scenarios and its ability to combat a wide range of threats in all arenas, as stipulated in the IDF’s multi-year «Gideon» plan.

In a letter from the Commander of the IAF, Major General Amikam Norkin, to the men and women of the IAF he wrote: «The announcement of the operationalization of the «Adir» aircraft comes at a time in which the IAF is operating on a large scale on a number of fronts in a dynamic Middle East. The constantly evolving and complex challenges are met with a high-quality and professional aerial response. The operationalization of the «Adir» aircraft adds another level to the IAF’s capabilities at this time».

Having built up an F-35 squadron with nine aircraft it has received since the first one was delivered in December 2016, the Israeli Air Force announced that the aircraft had reached Initial Operational Capability (IAF file photo)
Having built up an F-35 squadron with nine aircraft it has received since the first one was delivered in December 2016, the Israeli Air Force announced that the aircraft had reached Initial Operational Capability (IAF file photo)

 

Specifications

Length 51.4 feet/15.7 m
Height 14.4 feet/4.38 m
Wingspan 35 feet/10.7 m
Wing area 460 feet2/42.7 m2
Horizontal tail span 22.5 feet/6.86 m
Weight empty 29,300 lbs/13,290 kg
Internal fuel capacity 18,250 lbs/8,278 kg
Weapons payload 18,000 lbs/8,160 kg
Maximum weight 70,000 lbs class/31,751 kg
Standard internal weapons load Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles
Two 2,000-pound/907 kg GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs
Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings) F135-PW-100
Maximum Power (with afterburner) 43,000 lbs/191,3 kN/19,507 kgf
Military Power (without afterburner) 28,000 lbs/128,1 kN/13,063 kgf
Engine Length 220 in/5.59 m
Engine Inlet Diameter 46 in/1.17 m
Engine Maximum Diameter 51 in/1.30 m
Bypass Ratio 0.57
Overall Pressure Ratio 28
Speed (full internal weapons load) Mach 1.6 (~1,043 knots/1,200 mph/1,931 km/h)
Combat radius (internal fuel) >590 NM/679 miles/1,093 km
Range (internal fuel) >1,200 NM/1,367 miles/2,200 km
Maximum g-rating 9.0
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is the only air force, other than the United States Armed Forces (USAF), that operates the F-35A Lightning II «Adir»
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is the only air force, other than the United States Armed Forces (USAF), that operates the F-35A Lightning II «Adir»

The Queen Elizabeth
commissioned

On December 7, 2017, Her Majesty The Queen has commissioned the UK’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) into the Royal Navy.

Ten years after it was ordered, the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), was commissioned into the Royal Navy fleet. It is seen here flying the White Ensign (UK MoD photo)
Ten years after it was ordered, the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), was commissioned into the Royal Navy fleet. It is seen here flying the White Ensign (UK MoD photo)

The Queen spoke at a ceremony in Portsmouth Naval Base this morning, attended by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and military chiefs.

In her role as the ship’s Lady Sponsor Her Majesty addressed guests before the Ship’s Commanding Officer, Captain Jerry Kyd, read the commissioning warrant.

The iconic White Ensign was then raised, symbolising the commissioning of the nation’s future flagship into the Royal Navy’s fleet.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said, «Today marks the start of a hugely significant chapter for the Royal Navy, and indeed the nation, as the future flagship is commissioned into Her Majesty’s fleet. It is an honour to witness the crowning moment of an extraordinarily busy year for the Royal Navy that has seen us name the second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales (R09), cut steel on the first Type 26 frigates and launch the National Shipbuilding Strategy».

Having successfully completed her second stage of sea trials off the south coast of England, the carrier is back alongside at her home port of Portsmouth. Over 10,000 people across the UK have contributed to the delivery of the ship under the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.

Completing final build activity and preparing for helicopter trials in the New Year, HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) will head to the United States for initial flight trials off the coast in autumn 2018. There are currently 150 Royal Navy and Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel training in the U.S. on our 13 F-35 jets.

The UK has worked closely on both the F-35 and carrier programmes with the U.S., our pre-eminent partner within NATO, enabling us to fly aircraft from each other’s ships. Both of the UK’s new carriers will be able to operate alongside NATO and coalition allies.

Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said: «In hoisting the White Ensign from HMS Queen Elizabeth today, Britain has confirmed her place among the world’s great maritime powers in the most majestic and muscular terms. The Queen Elizabeth-class carriers will sit at the heart of a modernised and emboldened Royal Navy, capable of projecting power and influence at sea, in the air, over the land and in cyberspace, and offering our nation military and political choice in an uncertain world. But our greatest strength of all is the young sailors and marines upon whose shoulders our continued security and prosperity rests. They are starting their careers as a new chapter opens for the Royal Navy – and like all those who have gone before them, they are ready to serve their Queen and Country».

Both new aircraft carriers will be able to perform a wide range of tasks, from humanitarian and disaster relief to fighting terrorism and high-end warfighting. In what has been termed, ‘the Year of the Royal Navy’ the second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales (R09), was named in Rosyth and is structurally complete.

The honour of raising the White Ensign for the first time fell to 20-year-old Able Seaman Ellie Smith, from Hull.

That moment, said Captain Jerry Kyd, announced to the world that «we are here, we have arrived». He said: «The White Ensign is synonymous with British warships and British seapower. For centuries it has said a lot about our country».

PO(ETME) Ben Kern helped bring destroyer HMS Dragon (D35) out of build before joining HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) in January. One of two section heads responsible for the high-voltage electrical system aboard, he described the occasion as the pinnacle of his career to date.

«I am serving on the biggest, most modern warship in the Navy. That’s never going to happen again. It’s been hard work and challenging to get the ship up to speed. We are the ones who are laying the foundations for everything which is yet to come. But that is also hugely rewarding. We’ve been working to this day all year, so I would say the mood aboard is buoyant».

This year the Royal Navy has also had steel cut on the first of the Type 26 frigates and Dreadnought submarines, the launch of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, provisioning for a new class of frigate, the Type 31e, float out of the fourth Astute submarine, HMS Audacious (S122), the naming of two Offshore Patrol Vessels and the arrival of our first two MARS Tankers in the UK.

Last month the Defence Secretary visited HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) for the first time while at sea, meeting the crew and thanking them for their work towards UK defence.

Her Majesty The Queen welcomes HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) into the Royal Navy fleet
Her Majesty The Queen welcomes HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) into the Royal Navy fleet