C4iSR: Joint & Common Equipment

RN carrier team prepares for F-35B trials

05 April 2018
Test pilot commander Nathan Gray ‘on the deck’ in the F-35B simulator. Source: Richard Scott/NAVYPIX

UK Royal Navy (RN) personnel have completed a first period of simulator-based training and operational development ahead of F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter flight trials from aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth scheduled for later this year.

Undertaken at BAE Systems’ ship/air integration facility at Warton in northwest England in mid-March, the week long trial was intended to mature standard operating procedures ahead of fixed-wing first of class flying trials (FOCFT) planned for the last quarter of 2018. As well as key members of Queen Elizabeth ’s air department, the trial also involved RN pilots drawn from No 17(R) Test and Evaluation Squadron (TES) at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California, and an RN test pilot from the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

Designed to de-risk ship/air integration for the F-35B and the Queen Elizabeth-class (QEC) ships, the simulation facility at Warton integrates two components. It takes a fully representative F-35 cockpit mounted on a six-axis electric motion system housed inside a fixed radius dome featuring a high-fidelity model of the QEC carrier together with a realistic and dynamic sea-surface and mates it with an adjacent facility which simulates the environment within the flying control (FLYCO) office housed in the carrier’s aft island superstructure. The latter, fully integrated with the piloted simulator, includes a replica of the landing signals officer (LSO) workstation and a widescreen projection system showing the outside world scene, including a selection of prerecorded takeoffs/recoveries or ‘live’ flight being conducted by the pilot in the flight simulator.

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