DH - Defence Helicopter

HMS Queen Elizabeth sails for helo trials

7th February 2018 - 08:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Two Chinook helicopters landed onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time before the vessel sailed for helicopter trials at sea, the Royal Navy announced on 2 February.

The vessel has sailed from Portsmouth following its commission into the Royal Navy in December.

The two Chinook helicopters will be joined by two Merlin Mk2 aircraft. All the aircraft will be carrying specialist testing equipment so that the operational capability of the aircraft at sea can be tested. The team will collect data on the helicopter landings, take-offs and manoeuvres in different wind and sea conditions, before processing the information and ultimately declaring that the ship can safely operate the aircraft.

The helicopter trials take place before the fixed wing F35 Lightning II trials later this year. Ultimately the carrier will be declared safe to fly Chinook, Merlin Mk2, Merlin Mk3, Merlin Mk4, Wildcat and Apache helicopters, as well as the fast jets.

Captain Jerry Kyd, the commanding officer HMS Queen Elizabeth, said: ‘These trials will involve operating different types of helicopter from the ship in all weather conditions and fully testing the myriad of on board systems that are designed to support aviation.

'This is an important milestone in the ship's progression towards embarking the F35-B Lightning jets later this year, and ultimately the achievement of carrier strike capability.’

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