British Royal Navy pilots have completed the latest set of simulator trials using the F-35 Lightning II flight simulator at BAE Systems site in Warton, Lancashire.
The £2m flight simulator has been developed by BAE Systems and is set to be deployed by F-35 test pilots during the preparation of flight trials onboard the Royal Navy’s newest Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, later this year.
The F-35 / QEC Integration Simulator facility replicates the cockpit of the F-35 fighter jets, as well as the aircraft carriers’ flying control tower (FLYCO).
Commander Nath Gray said: “The facility is unique in providing the most realistic environment and conditions that I’ve ever experienced in a simulator.
“The flying qualities, aircraft handling, air wakes and way the ship rolls are as real as it gets.
“Being able to experience both the F-35 and Queen Elizabeth Class FLYCO together is crucial in allowing us to successfully take that next step in bringing together a brand new aircraft carrier with a brand-new aircraft in first-of-class flight trials.”
The simulator system offers a complete, 360° immersive experience for pilots and has been used to simulate a number of take offs and landings ahead of navy vessel’s crossing of the Atlantic to the US.
The practice simulations were conducted in order to allow the navy pilots to ensure that the real-life flight trials are safe and effective.
Pilots and landing signal officers have used the simulator over the past one-and-a-half years to discern and establish the way the Royal Navy will operate in the future.
Engineers from BAE Systems will be among the personnel deployed to carry out the flight trials, which are expected to be conducted by a team of UK pilots.