#SP233 Westlant 19
Squadron Prints Lithograph No. SP233 - WESTLANT 19 Carrier Strike Group.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first of the two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. She and her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, are the largest warships in the Royal Navy and are configured for 36 F-35B Lightnings and four Merlin Crowsnest helicopters. HMS Queen Elizabeth began sea trials in June 2017 and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 7 December 2017. Following Developmental trials with F-35B during WESTLANT 18, she departed for WESTLANT 19 on 30 August 2019, sailing once again to the East coast of the United States of America. Having already gathered the data and experiences required to safely fly F-35Bs from the flight deck, the focus of WESTLANT 19 shifted to developing combat techniques, and exploiting the fighter’s 5th generation capabilities during Operational Test 1 (OT-1). Led by 17 Test and Evaluation Squadron (TES) and supported by 617 Squadron, “The Dambusters”, and 207 Squadron Operational Conversion Unit (OCU). On 13 October 2019, the first ever UK F-35Bs from 17 and 617 Squadrons landed onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, led by 17 TES OC, Wing Commander Adam Curd. HMS Queen Elizabeth was escorted by HMS Northumberland and HMS Dragon and supported by RFA Tideforce. The Fleet Air Arm embarked Merlin helicopters from 814 and 820 Naval Air Squadrons, as well as Commando Merlin’s from 845 Naval Air Squadron and Wildcat from 815 Naval Air Squadron. Lima Company of 42 Commando, Royal Marines also embarked to exercise the rescue of isolated personnel ashore during Exercise Lightning Angel 19.