HMS Prince of Wales: Huge American helicopter operates on Royal Navy carrier as aircraft trials continue
and live on Freeview channel 276
Trials are continuing on the Portsmouth-based aircraft carrier, which includes extensive trials with F-35B Lightning fighter jets. A huge CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter also operated on the £3.2bn warship’s sprawling flight deck.
The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (24MEU) of the US Marine Corps carried out operations with Royal Navy sailors. This American rapid reaction force is one of seven that the US military has as its disposal to deploy worldwide.
Whenever they are deployed, they are backed up by logistical and air support – in a similar fashion to the Royal Marines. The Super Stallion is ten metres – over 30ft – longer than the largest Fleet Air Arm helicopter, the Merlin, the same length as a Chinook.
Inside, there’s space for up to 55 troops which is double the capacity of a Merlin Mk4 used by the Commando Helicopter Force. Despite its size and weight, it has a top speed of 200mph and can cruise at 170mph.
Military personnel utilised the Super Stallions and the Osprey helicopters to earn day/night qualifications while operating at sea aboard HMS Prince of Wales. The F-35 trials are set to conclude this week.
Crews will then carry out drone experimentation exercises, alongside combined training with USMC Ospreys. The 65,000 tonne warship left her home port on in September, with large crowds of well-wishers and families gathering in Old Portsmouth to wave her goodbye.
Since then, gruelling aircraft exercises have been carried out alongside American forces.