The British Royal Navy’s newest Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has successfully completed its first-of-class helicopter trials in the Atlantic.
The rotary-wing trial programme was carried out over the past month using two Merlin Mk2 and two Chinook Mk 5 test helicopters.
It also involved the participation of a team comprising 56 aircrew, analysts and engineers from the Air Test and Evaluation Centre (ATEC) at MoD Boscombe Down.
HMS Queen Elizabeth commanding officer captain Jerry Kyd said: “I am delighted with the rapid progress the ship is making toward becoming an operational aircraft carrier.
“The success of the rotary-wing flying trials in the Atlantic with Merlin and Chinook is another important milestone on that journey.
“We are rapidly approaching our deployment to the US in the summer, when we will see the first F-35B Lightning aircraft land on Queen Elizabeth’s deck.”
Several deck landings have also been performed under different sea and weather conditions as part of the trial activities.
Additionally, the trials saw the helicopters gather the information required to identify the operating limits of the aircraft from the navy vessel at sea.
The collected data is set to be processed over the next few months.
The Royal Navy is then expected to generate Ship Helicopter Operating Limits (SHOL) information for a wide range of helicopters such as Merlin Mk2, 3 and 4, as well as the Chinook, Apache attack helicopter and Wildcat.
A Merlin helicopter from the Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose previously conducted training with the aircraft carrier in January as part of the rotary-wing trials.
In addition, Chinook helicopters landed on-board the Royal Navy vessel in February in order to begin the trial programme.