RAF £9 billion fleet to land on HMS Queen Elizabeth during Trump visit

First of RAF’s £9billion stealth fighter fleet to land on new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth during Donald Trump visit in July

  • Britain will put on a display of military might when Donald Trump visits in July
  • Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is drawing up plans for an aerial display
  • RAF £9bn stealth fighter fleet to land on aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth

Britain will put on a display of military might when Donald Trump visits next month – with a flypast of its American-made fighter planes.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is drawing up plans for the US President to watch the first of the RAF’s £9 billion stealth fighter fleet land on new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

But because the F-35 Lightning IIs were developed by American firm Lockheed Martin, the Ministry of Defence is considering adding a display by the Red Arrows for a more ‘patriotic’ touch.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is drawing up plans for the US President to watch the first of the RAF’s £9 billion stealth fighter fleet land on new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth

The first of 48 stealth fighters will arrive next week following a ten-year test programme hit by spiralling bills and technical problems. The RAF’s legendary Dambuster squadron reformed earlier this year to fly the jets.

The £3 billion HMS Queen Elizabeth entered active service in December, while its sister aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales is preparing for sea trials.

They are the biggest warships ever built for the Royal Navy, with the MoD describing each as ‘four acres of sovereign territory’ and a ‘symbol of our international influence’.

Details of the display for Mr Trump have not been revealed, but it is likely to be at Portsmouth, where HMS Queen Elizabeth is based.

An MoD source said: ‘Given that it is Trump, we thought that something a bit macho would be appropriate. But they are American planes, so the Red Arrows could come out to add a more patriotic – and independent – touch.’

Mr Trump is being kept away from Central London during his three-day visit starting on July 11, to avoid protesters.

He is expected to meet Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers and take tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle.

Mr Trump is also expected to visit one of the golf courses he owns in Scotland, although plans for him to play a round with a celebrity golfer are understood to have foundered.

A full state visit is still being planned for the President next year.

 

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