Commandos, brews and F-35Bs ready for Brit carrier

HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) under escort by frigates HMS Iron Duke (F234) & HMS Sutherland (F81)

Next month will see the Westland 18, which will include the RN’s new Commando Merlin HC4 helicopters deploying onto the UK’s new carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Royal Marines Col. Lenny Brown, Commanding Officer, Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) talks about their new aircraft, roles and future operational capabilities including Joint Personnel Recovery (JPR) Deployed SAR and Maritime Intra-Theatre Lift and Air-to-Air refueling in the below interview with Janes. The UK is currently in the process of upgrading 25 AW101 Merlins to the HC4 configuration to replace the retired Commando Sea King. This upgrade includes cockpit modernizations and minor redesigns, standard naval changes like a folding rotor head, strengthened landing gear, deck lashing points, and a fast-roping point for the Marines.

Incidentally, QEs afloat pub, The Queen’s Head, just opened, which includes a carrier-themed microbrew.

No doubt the U.S. Marines deployed on the British flattop to evaluate its use as an F-35 platform (capable of carrying 24 in the hangar and six on deck), will appreciate the suds.

Incidentally, the U.S. Navy officially became dry under General Order No. 99, issued on 1 July 1914 by the 41st SECNAV, Josephus Daniels– leading of course to the term “cup of joe” for coffee.

A 1914 lament on the infamous Order 99

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