World The British Navy's 2 new aircraft carriers hit a major milestone at the same time — on opposite sides of the planet
Satellite images show China built mock-ups of US warships
BEIJING (AP) — Satellite images show China has built mock-ups of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and destroyer in its northwestern desert, possibly as practice for a future naval clash as tensions rise between the nations. China has upgraded its military massively in recent years, and its capability and intentions are increasingly concerning to the United States as tensions rise over the South China Sea, Taiwan and military supremacy in the Indo-Pacific. © Provided by Associated Press This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a designated area in Ruoqiang county, China, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021.
- With HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, the British navy once again has aircraft carriers.
- They hit a milestone this year, conducting simultaneous exercises with fixed-wing jets for the first time.
- Those drills were on opposite sides of the world, reflecting the global reach Britain is seeking.
In September, the Royal Navythat its two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers conducted simultaneous exercises with fixed-wing aircraft for the first time.
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The drills involved launching and recovering F-35Bs, the short-takeoff and vertical-landing version of the stealth fighter, from HMS Prince of Wales in British waters and HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Pacific — 7,000 miles apart.
It marked the start of a busy fall for Britain's two new carriers, which the Royal Navy calls "."
The decommissioning of the last Invincible-class aircraft carrier, HMS Illustrious, left the Royal Navy without any aircraft carriers for the first time in nearly a century. With the commissioning of HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, the UK now has two fully operational and completely modern flattops.
China builds missile target models in shape of US warships
Satellite images show that the Chinese military has built scale models of U.S. aircraft carriers and warships for ballistic missile testing in the country’s northwest desert. The models are an exact outline of the kinds of ships the United States uses in the South China Sea. Satellites picked up at least one clear image of an aircraft carrier and two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, according to pictures from satellite imaging company Maxar acquired by the U.S. Naval Institute. “The mockups of several probable U.S.
At 65,000 tons and 920 feet long, the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers are nearly three times larger than the Invincible-class carriers they replace, and they have a number of improvements.
Though not nuclear-powered, they have anconsisting of two Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines and four Wärtsilä 38 Marine diesel engines. They each have a range of about 10,000 miles.
The most noticeable feature are the two islands, rather than one, on the carriers' decks. The forward island handles navigation, while the aft island handles flight control for the carrier's air wing.
The dual-island set up provides some, allowing for greater visibility, increased survivability, a larger flight deck and more efficient use of space, and reduced air turbulence over the flight deck. It also integrates the two exhaust stacks each ship was required to have.
A pilot flying off Britain's flagship aircraft carrier was forced to bail out of an F-35 stealth fighter in the Mediterranean
The British defense ministry said that the pilot was able to make it safely back to the ship and that an investigation is underway. —Ministry of Defence Press Office (@DefenceHQPress) November 17, 2021Insider contacted the Royal Navy about the status of the aircraft, but the sea service declined to comment further. The incident, on which details are still limited, is one of only a handful of F-35 fighter crashes and only the second for an international partner in this stealth fighter program.
The ideal air wing would include 36 F-35B fighters and at least four helicopters, likely a combination ofor and . The extra space, however, can accommodate larger air wings when necessary. The carriers can also carry helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft.
The carriers also have a modern suite of technology and equipment. The new weapons handling system, for instance,just 48 crew members to operate instead of the 160 needed previously.
HMS Queen Elizabeth
HMS Queen Elizabeth was commissioned on December 7, 2017, and has racked up an impressive resume. After three years of trials and fitting out, ita strike group for the first time in October 2020.
Since May this year, itthe flagship of , a task force which includes the British nuclear-powered submarine HMS Artful, Dutch Navy frigate HNLMS Evertsen, and US Navy destroyer USS The Sullivans on a 28-week deployment to 40 countries in Europe, the Pacific, and the Middle East.
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It deployed withever embarked on any ship — 10 F-35Bs from the US Marine Corps' Fighter Attack Squadron 211 and eight F-35Bs from the Royal Air Force's 617 Squadron.
The carrier also saw combat for the first time, conducting airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq a month into the deployment. Those strikes put the carrier and its jets, which kept a close eye on them as they operated in the Eastern Mediterranean.
During the deployment, the carrier haswith NATO forces in Europe, and exercised with the , , , , navies in Asia.
Most recently, Queen Elizabethwith the navies of Oman and the United Arab Emirates and "cross-deck" landing operations with the amphibious assault ship USS Essex in the Gulf of Oman.
The carrier is expected to return home in December and is now in the Mediterranean, where it had another, less welcome milestone: A British pilot had toduring flight operations, just the fifth F-35 to be lost to a crash.
HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Prince of Wales was commissioned on December 10, 2019. Since then, the carrier and its crew have gone through nearly two years of intense training and fitting-out work.
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It has beenwith manned and unmanned aircraft and participated in the naval element of , which was one of Europe's largest military exercises.
More than 20 ships, dozens of aircraft, and over 3,000 personnel from a dozen countries took part in the exercise, which included airborne assaults, amphibious landings, and live-fire exercises.
After Joint Warrior, HMS Prince of Wales wasfully operational. The carrier will become NATO's command ship in 2022, making it the flagship of the alliance.
A small air wing
The two Queen Elizabeth-class carriers — there are no plans to build more — have been declared operational and have proved their worth in multiple exercises, but they still have issues with their air wings, specifically their.
With thein 2010, the F-35B is the only fixed-wing aircraft that can operate on Britain's carriers. In 2015, the UK announced plans to acquire 138 F-35s. Only 48 have been ordered, and only 21 have been delivered — 20 after the jet lost this month — with the rest in production.
The UK's active F-35Bs are in service with the Royal Air Force, including those aboard the carriers. While some RAF F-35Bs are flown by Royal Navy pilots, the Royal Navy isn't expected to have its own operationaluntil 2023.
The small number of available British F-35s is likely one reason US Marine Corps F-35Bs have deployed aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. Officials have touted that cooperation, but it hasthat the Royal Navy may have to rely on allies to fill its carriers' hangars.
Jeremy Quin, British minister for defense procurement, hasthat the UK will order more F-35s "by 2025," but he hasn't given an exact number or confirmed that the UK still plans to acquire 138.
The British military has other aircraft programs underway. The Royal Navy is looking into carrier-launched versions of the wingman drones being developed by the. The UK is also developing a sixth-generation stealth fighter, known as Tempest, meant .
Despite concerns about the air wing, the number and variety of aircraft that the new British aircraft carriers can carry mean the Royal Navy will soon again boast one of the strongest carrier forces in the world.
Russia's risky flybys may be attempts at 'baiting us into shooting first,' top US admiral says .
"We're not going to do that first," Adm. Robert Burke said, "but I'm also not going to ask my commanding officers to take the first shot on the chin."NATO militaries conducted exercises in the Black Sea from mid-June to mid-July, the largest of which, Sea Breeze, involved 32 ships and 40 aircraft from 32 countries.