BY JESSICA MCCLANAHAN Office of Corporate Communications, NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Jacksonville
NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Jacksonville supported the Royal Navy’s flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), during her second visit to Naval Station Mayport, Florida in October.
The Portsmouth, England based aircraft carrier arrived in the U.S. as part of Westlant 19, a Joint training exercise. The exercise is designed to test and measure capabilities of the fifth-generation carrier and her aircraft, as well as fortify the strong alliance between the U.S. and U.K. naval forces. As part of that partnership, NAVSUP FLC Jacksonville provided logistics support through Naval Station Mayport’s Logistics Support Center, and cargo transport and fuel from Naval Air Station Jacksonville. NAVSUP delivered expanded logistics capacity to the Royal Navy through the duration of Westlant 19 and beyond.
While in port, NAVSUP FLC Jacksonville Commanding Officer, Capt. William Clarke and six NAVSUP FLC Jacksonville supply officers were welcomed aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth for a tour, led by Royal Navy Logistics Officer Lt. Alex James.
The tour provided a close look at many of the ship’s unique features, such as the flight deck, which is fitted with three landing spots coated with a new type of thermal paint that can withstand heat blasts of up to 1,500 Celsius. Other notable features of HMS Queen Elizabeth are the twin island design, providing a separation of ship’s navigation and flight operation centers; a ski-jump ramp that allows for short takeoffs; and the absence of arresting gear, as she is designed to support helicopters and the new F-35B Lightning II stealth jets, which boast short take-off/vertical landing capabilities.
The tour also included a visit to the ship’s bridge, galley, and wardroom, where U.S. and U.K. supply officers were able to engage in a social exchange. “Touring HMS Queen Elizabeth was an opportunity to reinforce our military partnership and to exchange with our Royal Navy counterparts on a more personal level,” said Clarke. “We share many of the same challenges at sea, and learning how our allies address those issues can only add to our knowledge base as we work together to enhance readiness.”
Shortly after departing Naval Station Mayport, the carrier made British naval and aviation history as the first Royal Air Force F-35 Lightning jets landed on her decks October 13.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is in her second year of flight testing and is slated to begin operations as the centerpiece of a new British carrier strike group in 2021.