Tag Archives: Royal Navy

UK’s First Four F-35B Jets Currently On Their Way To The UK and Their New Home Of RAF Marham

The first F-35B aircraft are expected to land later today to join the RAF 617 Squadron “Dambusters”.

Earlier today four Lightning jets of 617 Squadron took of from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, where the famous “Dambusters” unit was reactivated on Apr. 17, 2018, to undertake the transatlantic crossing and arrive at RAF Marham, the new home of the UK’s Lightning Force.

The F-35Bs are being supported by three RAF Voyagers tankers: ZZ330 (RRR9101, radio callsign “Ascot 9101”), ZZ335 (RRR9102, “Ascot 9102”) and ZZ331 (RRR9103 “Ascot 9103”). ZZ330 departed Charleston and picked up the four  F-35Bs from MCAS Beaufort. That took the Lightning as far as ZZ331 and ZZ335 out from Gander that are towing the F-35 across the Atlantic. Supporting the transatlantic trip is also an A400M ZM401 (RRR4085).

The four jets are due to land at RAF Marham this evening, one day later than expected: their mission was delayed 24 hours by the bad weather along the planned route.

The Royal Air Force has also shared a video on social media showing one of the Lightnings during aerial refueling:

According to Air Forces Monthly, nine of the 11 UK F-35Bs currently on strength at MCAS Beaufort (where the British squadron operates under Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501) are expected to arrive in the UK for the RAF’s centenary celebrations this summer, including a flypast over London. And, above all, later this year, the UK F-35Bs will deploy aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time.

“Lightning II has been designed from the outset to carry out a wide range of mission types, able to use its very low observable characteristics to penetrate Integrated Air Defence Systems and strike a number of types of targets. In a permissive environment, Lightning II is able to carry weapons on external pylons, as well as in the internal weapon bays. This will allow a maximum weapon payload of 6 Paveway IV, 2 AIM-120C AMRAAM, 2 AIM-132 ASRAAM (Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile) and a missionised 25mm gun pod,” says official RAF documentation.

“In 2019 we will also start our integration work for the new Meteor [beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile, BVRAAM] and SPEAR Cap 3 [Selective Precision Effects At Range Capability 3] weapon in order to deliver a phase one capability for those assets in 2021,” Martin Peters, BAE Systems’ F-35 flight test manager and test lead for STOVL (short take-off and landing), told AFM.

Top image credit: Crown Copyright

Sea Vixen Future In Question Following Analysis of Belly Landing Damage

Inspectors Suggest Restoration After Belly Landing Will Be Extensive.

The Royal Navy Heritage website Navy Wings has announced the status of repairs and prospects for restoration of their De Havilland DH.110 Sea Vixen, XP924 G-CVIX “Foxy Lady” following its emergency wheels-up landing at Yeovilton, UK, on May 27.

As reported by The Aviationist with both video and photos by photographer Scott Dabinett, “Foxy Lady” sustained damage during the emergency landing. An analysis of the damage to components and airframe reveal that, unfortunately, “Foxy Lady” is unlikely to be in the air any time soon.

Emergency crews respond to the Sea Vixen belly-landing. (Photo: BBC)

On Jul. 25 Navy Wings editors wrote, “We have now suspended the aircraft from maintenance procedures while we continue to investigate plans for complete restoration.”

That the routine flying maintenance routine has been suspended is bad news as it suggests there is no capability to get the Sea Vixen airworthy during the remainder of the airshow season. However, the statement about investigating plans for complete restoration is hopeful.

Key to the restoration and return to flight operations of the Sea Vixen is some reorganization of roles for key personnel within the Royal Navy Heritage organization. Chief Engineer Brian Johnstone, who was originally intending to retire from his role at Royal Navy Heritage, will remain with the project as a consultant. He will advise the new Chief Engineer, Mr. Kevin Bugg, in his new role as Chief Engineer of the Sea Vixen.

Meanwhile, Sea Vixen demonstration pilot Cdr. Simon Hargreaves OBE, Royal Navy Reserves, has been awarded the “Green Endorsement” commendation for his role in the controlled belly landing in the Sea Vixen on May 27. Hargreaves airmanship certainly minimized damage to the aircraft as it landed without landing gear. Fleet Air Arm, Rear Admiral Keith Blount OBE, cited Hargreaves for exceptional skill in the incident.

Demo pilot Cdr. Simon Hargreaves, OBE, awarded the Green Endorsement award for airmanship in his emergency landing of the Sea Vixen. (Photo: Navy Wings)

Navy Wings is an organization that helps maintain up to fourteen different historic aircraft through their sub-organizations. In addition to the Sea Vixen they include a Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XV currently undergoing restoration and slated to fly in 2018 along with two Sea Fury aircraft, one undergoing ground testing and one in restoration.

Top image credit: Navy Wings

 

New Video Shows The Last Sea Vixen Jet Performing A Belly Landing At Yeovilton

The last remaining Sea Vixen jet made an emergency landing at Yeovilton, UK. And here’s an interesting video.

As we have already reported, the last remaining Sea Vixen aircraft, XP924 G-CVIX “Foxy Lady”, performed an emergency landing at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, UK, on May 27.

The Sea Vixen, the first British two-seat aircraft type to break the sound barrier in a dive in the early 1950s, was returning to its homebase after taking part in Duxford airshow, near Cambridge, when it experienced a failure that prevented the undercarriage to be lowered, forcing the pilot to perform an emergency gear-up landing.

Steven Canning, a reader of The Aviationist, filmed the successful belly-landing at Yeovilton: the clip shows the pilot releasing the canopy as soon as the Sea Vixen touches the runway (in order to escape the cockpit as fast as possible) and the aircraft sliding up the runway, pretty much under control and closely followed by emergency vehicles,  until it comes to a rest.

Video credit: Steven Canning

“Foxy Lady” first flew on Sept. 23, 1963 and was delivered to 899 Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton on Dec. 18, 1963. It was retired from active service in August 1971.  It is currently operated by Fly Navy Heritage Trust Navy Wings from Yeovilton.

 

Watch the F-35B Lightning II fly, hover and perform vertical landing in this cool 4K video

Some cool F-35B footage in 4K

As the aircraft performs its British debut at the RIAT (Royal International Air Tattoo) at RAF Fairford here’s an interesting video filmed in 4K that was released by the British MoD.

It shows the first British F-35B Lightning II, flying along with one of the two U.S. Marine Corps airframes that also flew from MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina, to RAF Fairford airbase, UK, during the type’s first transatlantic flight, and performing the peculiar Vertical Landing of the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) variant.

The participation of the controversial 5th Gen. stealth aircraft to an airshow in the UK was planned to take place in 2014 but it was cancelled shortly before the four USMC F-35Bs started their transatlantic trip after a runway fire incident involving an F-35A at Eglin Air Force Base, on Jun. 23, 2014, caused a temporary fleet-wide grounding.

Two years later the F-35B is the highlight of the RIAT.

The image below, taken by Tony Lovelock, shows the USMC F-35B 168727/VM-19 VFMAT-501, seen here going into Hover mode during a short display at RAF Marham ahead of the display at RAF Fairford.

This aircraft accompanied by Tornado ZG777, and ZM137 F-35B Lightning II of the RAF had previously overflown Rosyth where the new British Carrier is being built for the Royal Navy.

USMC F-35B 168727

Top Image credit: Lockeed Martin

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[Photos] Eurofighter Typhoons escort three British and American F-35Bs arriving in the UK for the first time

Here are some cool photographs of the first British F-35B welcomed by the RAF Typhoons and escorted to the first landing in UK.

On Jun. 29, the first British F-35B Lightning II, piloted by RAF pilot Squadron Leader Hugh Nichols and accompanied by two U.S. Marine Corps airframes and by a pair of U.S. Air Force KC-10 tankers and USMC KC-130Js, landed at RAF Fairford airbase, UK, at the end of the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) variant’s first transatlantic crossing that marked the first landing of an F-35 in the UK.

An event that was broadcast live by the U.S. Marine Corps on their Facebook page.

F-35B arrives with escort

Using callsign “Tabor 01,” the flight flew to the UK from MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina, to attend the Royal International Air Tattoo 2016 and Farnborough International Airshow in the next few weeks.

The first UK appearance of the controversial 5th Gen. stealth aircraft was initially planned to take place in 2014 but it was cancelled shortly before the four USMC F-35Bs started their transatlantic trip after a runway fire incident involving an F-35A at Eglin Air Force Base, on Jun. 23, 2014, caused a temporary fleet-wide grounding.

F-35B arrives with escort 2

Interestingly, the formation was welcomed into the British airspace by three RAF Typhoons.In this post, some cool photographs released by the British MoD of the formation heading to Fairford along with the escort fighters.

F-35B arrives with escort 3

Image credit: Crown Copyright. H/T UK Defence Journal