Two US Navy helicopters have made their maiden landing on the British Royal Navy’s newest Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The two aircraft to touch the flight deck of the UK Navy carrier for the first time are the MV-22 Osprey military transport helicopter and the MH-53E Sea Dragon heavy-lift helicopter.
The successful landings determine that the helicopters are now ready to be operational on HMS Queen Elizabeth and will enable the aircraft handlers of the UK vessel to work with the US aircraft.
HMS Queen Elizabeth air commander James Blackmore said: “Proving we can operate with yet more US aircraft on-board gives us more flexibility and adds to our own capability.
“It gives us a lot of options. It is another example of the fantastic relationship we have with our closest naval ally.”
The 33t MH-53E Sea Dragon aircraft has a length of 100ft, can accommodate up to 55 troops, and is primarily deployed to perform countermine operations and carry out delivery of equipment and personnel.
Having travelled from a US Navy air station in Norfolk, Virginia, the Sea Dragons that landed on the aircraft carrier belonged to the Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 14.
The maiden helicopter landings followed the first flying operations of the F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft on HMS Queen Elizabeth last month.
The 65,000t Royal Navy aircraft carrier is expected to be deployed on global operations from 2021.