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Fighter jet revving up to take off of an aircraft carrier

WATCH: Supersonic fighter jet roars off carrier in Portsmouth, England

British Royal Navy, December 21, 2019

PORTSMOUTH, UK – The roar of the most advanced aircraft in Britain’s arsenal reverberated around Portsmouth Harbour as an F-35 launched from HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The F-35B fighter is acclaimed as the world’s most advanced jet, with a top speed of 1.6 Mach – 1,200mph – and a range of 900 nautical miles.

The multi-million-pound jet threw up a wall of spray on a damp flight deck before climbing the ski ramp at the end and lifting above the harbour, bound for its home at RAF Marham in Norfolk.

The jet remained behind with the carrier after she returned from the USA earlier this month – the other Lightnings involved in trials off the Eastern Seaboard flew off before the 65,000-tonne warship arrived back in her home base.

Deck crewman guiding F-35 fighter jet onboard aircraft carrier prior to it taking off
The F-35B Lightning jet launched from the ski ramp on the flight deck of the carrier while it was berthed at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth.

It’s the first time the jet has been seen over the home of the UK’s new carrier force, despite being based in the UK since June last year; it has made appearances at air shows, including over Yeovilton.

It was the first launch of an F-35 from the Queen Elizabeth class in UK waters – and the first launch of a jet from alongside in Portsmouth in well over a decade.

Commander Edward Phillips, HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Commander Air

As a result, the rare sight drew crowds around the harbour shoreline – and nearly one million viewers watching the take-off live on social media.

F-35 approaches the ski jump onboard an aircraft carrier as it races towards taking off
The multi-million-pound jet threw up a wall of spray on a damp flight deck before climbing the ski ramp at the end and lifting above the harbour
F-35B fighter jet clears the ski jump ramp off of an aircraft carrier and is airborne. Carrier is docked. Cars and onlookers on dock visible.
The rare sight drew crowds around the harbour shoreline – and nearly one million viewers watching the take-off live on social media.

They waited for Petty Officer Aircraft Handler Wayne Slack to marshal the F-35 into position before the high-pitched whine of the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine turned to a roar and the jet thundered into the sky.

“Launching the jet today was really successful,” said Commander Edward Phillips, HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Commander Air – in charge of all flying aboard the carrier.

READ: Take a look at the UK’s new aircraft carrier. Largest built by UK.

“It was the first launch of an F-35 from the Queen Elizabeth class in UK waters – and the first launch of a jet from alongside in Portsmouth in well over a decade.

“A great effort from the ship, the Naval Base and the Lightning Force. We look forward to welcoming our jets and helicopters back in the New Year.”

Source: British Royal Navy

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