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Ultra’s Electro-Optical Landing System aids first SRVL on HMS Queen Elizabeth

Ultra’s Electro-Optical Landing System aids first SRVL on HMS Queen Elizabeth

An F-35B Lightning aircraft has made the first ever Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing (SRVL) on HMS Queen Elizabeth, with the aid of a pioneering Electro-Optical Landing System with hardware and software developed and supplied by Ultra Electronics Command & Sonar Systems.

Ultra’s electro-optical (EO) camera system provides a 360 degree EO tracking and monitoring capability and captures every detail of the final approach to enable an F-35B jet to land safely with fuel and weapons. SRVL augments the normal vertical landing mode, which the system also monitors.

With SRVL the jet takes a more conventional landing pattern, approaching the ship from the aft end, at speed, using the thrust from the nozzle and lift created by air over the wings, to touch down and come to a stop as soon as possible, saving time and money and reducing heat stress on the ship’s deck.

Ultra’s EO Landing System monitors the aircraft’s recovery glide path using a Glide Path Camera system (GPC), which is a 2-axis stabilised system located on the aft island and a Centre Line Camera system (CLC) on the stern of the platform. The GPC and CLC are controlled from a single operator position, the Landing Signal Officer (LSO) in Flying Control (FLYCO), using Ultra’s graphical and user interface software.

The first landing trials were successfully conducted in November 2018 on board Queen Elizabeth.

Commander Air, or ‘Wings’ on board, Cdr James Blackmore, said: “It’s fantastic to have achieved this. Absolutely brilliant. It was text-book, just what we expected. This is the first step in proving this capability, another milestone in aviation for the Royal Navy.”

Ultra also supplies the Electro-Optical Surveillance System (EOS) on this class of ship, which consists of a 2-axis stabilised EO system fitted to each island and providing the ship with a 360 degrees general purpose EO surveillance capability. Features include tracking hand over, digital video distribution and recording. The EOS, GPC and CLC are all integrated into a single EO system.

Mike Williams, MD of Ultra Electronics Command & Sonar Systems, said: “Our system has the potential to provide a unique capability to aircraft carrier general purpose surveillance and landing operations and demonstrates the capability of this business to meet unique and complex requirements in short timescales. We’re proud to have contributed to this key moment in the history of carrier landing operations.”

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