The state-of-the-art simulator is where Britain’s latest £70million fighter jet is being put through its paces before Top Guns get to fly it for real next year.
The 360-degree immersive experience allows pilots to practise taking off and landing F-35B Lightning IIs on the deck of the Navy’s £3bn flagship aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth.
An F-35 sits on the runway of the aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth during a display of BAE Systems’ £2million simulator
F-35 pilots use a giant touch-screen display to access and punch in critical flight data
Adjacent to the simulator room is a fully-functioning replica of the Queen Elizabeth’s control tower Fly Co.
The £70million F-35 is already in use by the American military, with ours going into service in 2020
The UK’s overall commitment is for 138 F-35s, with the first scheduled to be in service by 2020.
They boast on-board computers which are networked to nearby ships and planes to create what’s being described as an all-seeing combat cloud.
External cameras and sensors linked to the pilot’s helmet mean they can look down through the aircraft’s hull as if it wasn’t there, while travelling at speeds of up to 1,200mph.
It also has unique landing capabilities unlike any other jets in production today.
The Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing allows the F-35 to land on a carrier’s short runway carrying considerably more external weaponry and fuel than was previously possible.
The F-35s will take off and land from The Navy’s new flagship aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth
Lead Test Pilot Pete ‘Wizzer’ Wilson gave Sun man Carl Stroud a tour of the cutting-edge facility
Sun man Carl’s simulator flight didn’t go quite according to plan
Currently fighter pilots often jettison unused fuel and arms in order to be light enough to land.
The vertical landing allows the jets to hover in open water beside the aircraft carrier before gently touching down.
The latest F-35 trial programme focuses on these capabilities and how they will operate on the Queen Elizabeth class carriers
Lead Test Pilot Pete ‘Wizzer’ Wilson has put in hundreds of hours at BAE Systems’ £2million facility in Warton, Lancs.
He said: “The most important thing about a simulator is that the people who use it feel immersed in an environment.