Britain’s biggest warship had to deal with Hurricane Florence on its way to train with F-35 jets for the first time

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HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s largest warship arrived in Norfolk, Virginia, on Monday – and on its way it battled through winds and five meter waves caused by Hurricane Florence.

The British Royal Navy’s £3.5 billion ($4.5 billion) aircraft carrier had left the UK for America on August 18, to start September training with F-35B jets based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, the Royal Navy wrote on its official website.

The stop in Norfolk, the second after a pit-stop in Florida on September 5, is the aircraft carrier’s last before it goes to Maryland for F35B jet training.

HMS Queen Elizabeth at Mount’s Bay on June 12, 2018 in Cornwall, England before it left for the United States.
Getty

But the ship’s arrival in Norfolk was delayed by Hurricane Florence, which devastated much of the North and South Carolina coastlines from Friday until Tuesday.

The Royal Navy said the crew were forced to take evasive action and “escaped the clutches of the Hurricane.”

They said HMS Queen Elizabeth passed to the south of the Hurricane’s eye but still met four meter swells, five meter waves, and winds of 46 mph.

The aircraft carrier arrived at Naval Station Norfolk a little behind schedule on Monday morning, whereupon the ship tweeted: “When a Queen met a President,” as it passed the USS Abraham Lincoln.

The Lincoln is the joint second longest aircraft carrier in the world at 333 meters long, dwarfing Britain’s newest aircraft carrier by 53 meters.

You can see the Lincoln in the background of the tweet below:

Unlike its US counterparts, which have flat flight decks, HMS Queen Elizabeth has a “ski jump” ramp at one end, which will give the planes a little extra height when taking off.

Here’s a video of F-35s practicing on a ground-based replica of the ski jump:

This deployment to the US is significant because it will mark the first fighter jet landing on a British aircraft carrier in eight years, since the decommissioning of HMS Ark Royal.

The F-35B jets will be flown from Naval Air Station Patuxent River by four pilots from the Integrated Test Force, a unit that includes British and American pilots.

Britain’s Royal Air Force has its own F-35B jets, the first of which arrived in the UK earlier this year and will eventually fly from the carrier. The pilots will use US planes as well.

No official date has been given for the first F-35B landing on the ship, but it is expected in late September, the UK Defence Journal wrote on Wednesday.

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