F-35 Lightning jet due to return home from carrier
PUBLISHED: 11:56 12 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:56 12 December 2019
A supersonic jet fighter is expected to take off from the Royal Navy's aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in the UK for the first time after being brought back home aboard following flight trials in the US.
The F-35 Lightning has been spotted on the flight deck of the 65,000 tonne warship at Portsmouth Naval Base where it returned last week following deployment to the eastern United States.
The aircraft was kept on board the carrier because "repair and maintenance" work need to be carried out but the stealth jet is expected to be flown back to RAF Marham - home of the Lightning force - in the near future.
A Navy spokesman said: "Following completion of successful flying trials in the US, one F-35 Lightning remained embarked on HMS Queen Elizabeth in order for repair and maintenance work to be completed.
"The aircraft will return to RAF Marham in the near future."
The F-35 is said to be the world's most advanced warplane. It has a top speed of 1.6 Mach - 1,200mph - and has a range of 900 nautical miles.
The Queen Elizabeth arrived at its home base of Portsmouth last week where it docked alongside its sister ships HMS Prince of Wales which was officially commissioned into the Navy on Tuesday by the Duchess of Cornwall accompanied by the Prince of Wales.