FIGHTER jets shared between the UK and USA will take off from the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth during flight trials later this year, it has been confirmed.
The F-35 jets, which are co-owned by the UK and USA, will be used in the proving trial.
Britain currently has 15 of the supersonic warplanes in the US being tested ahead of the start of their arrival in the UK at RAF Marham, Norfolk, early next month.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: ‘As the US’s biggest partner in the F-35 programme, we jointly own test jets which are on track to fly off the deck of our new aircraft carrier later this year.
‘We will continue to work with our American allies on these trials, and plan for the first momentous landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth to be a British pilot.’
Last week a US defence official told reporters at a briefing in London that from 2021, US Marine Corps F-35B jets will also operate from HMS Queen Elizabeth.
But he said that it is yet to be confirmed how many of the American jets will be embarked on board the aircraft carrier.
Labour Peer and former head of the Royal Navy Admiral Lord West of Spithead said: ‘It is a proving trial, to prove the deck is suitable, to work out ways of handling on the deck, to make sure the flight deck crews are good, and the bridge and the fly co are working properly.
‘That is what it is for, it is not really for the jets themselves.
‘I don’t think it really matters in the grand scheme of things.’