This visit is very symbolic of the intimate relationship the Royal Navy has with the US Navy and Marine Corps and comes at the mid-way point in the F-35 flight trials

Captain Jerry Kyd

"HMS Queen Elizabeth is not just a warship, but a symbol of our enduring commitment to our security, and the security of our allies too,” he said.

“This state-of-the-art ship is built on more than 470 years of proud Royal Navy history and her entry into New York Harbor shows that our armed forces are ready to stand by our allies for generations to come."

With 1,500 men and women aboard – a mix of military and civilians, ship’s company, Royal Marines commandos, test pilots and aviation engineers – the 65,000-tonne warship had just 100 miles to sail from the exercise area off Virginia where she conducted Lightning trials, including the first landing and take-off, to her anchorage in New York.

Air Engineering Technician Aaron Moment, who is part of the detachment from RNAS Yeovilton’s 845 Naval Air Squadron on board, said: “This will be my second time in New York but I am really excited to be going back with my squadron as part of HMS Queen Elizabeth. We’re all planning on seeing the sights, taking a trip to Times Square and paying respects at the 9/11 memorial.

“The last few weeks at sea have been challenging but I have loved every minute of it. We have all put in a lot of hard work and performed really well. Seeing the F-35 Lightning jets landing on board for the first time was a real highlight too.”

The visit brings to an end Captain Kyd’s stint as the first Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth. He hands over to Captain Nick Cooke-Priest who will take the future flagship through her second spell of Lightning trials.

Those trials resume with far more achieved in the first three weeks than anticipated: 98 take-offs using the ski ramp, the first ‘rolling’ landing, bringing the F-35 to a stop on the flight deck instead of the aircraft dropping down vertically, night flying and even some rough weather trials to begin pushing the conditions in which the carrier can operate her air power safely.

Capt Jerry Kyd added: “It has been a superb effort by everyone across the Integrated Test Force and HMS Queen Elizabeth so far – I could not be more pleased with the team spirit and dynamism shown by all.

“That has delivered a volume of quality data which has put us well ahead of where we expected to be at this stage. I am very grateful to all the Integrated Test Force folk who have been focused, professional and willing to go the extra mile.”

Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering)

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