'A fantastic sight': Warship HMS Queen Elizabeth spotted off the coast
PUBLISHED: 09:40 13 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:32 14 February 2020
Britain's most powerful warship has been spotted off the coast at Lowestoft.
With HMS Queen Elizabeth currently in the North Sea, F-35 Lightning jets from RAF Marham have been landing on the Royal Navy aircraft carrier to carry out training flights in UK waters.
The 65,000-tonne warship has been conducting flight trials with the F-35 Lightning jets during sorties, which are believed to be the first time fighter jets have operated from a British carrier in home waters in a decade.
Having been visible off the coast of Lowestoft in recent days, it has provided quite a spectacle for enthusiasts who gathered to capture a rare glimpse.
The Royal Navy aircraft carrier was first spotted off the coast at Lowestoft on Monday, alongside a couple of frigates.
According to onlookers it was closer to shore on Tuesday, and was clearly visible at Gunton Cliff.
Keen photographer David Graham, from Lowestoft, captured these images at Gunton Cliff.
"It was a fantastic sight," he said.
"It really has been very popular and it is certainly not something you see every day."
Aviation historian Bob Collis said Lowestoft has strong links with Naval aviation.
Mr Collis, from Lowestoft, said: "Lowestoft has long-held associations with Naval aviation.
"The very first aeroplane to visit Lowestoft in July 1912 was a Short S.41 biplane, a seaplane flown by a Royal Navy Officer, Lt Charles Sampson.
"He alighted on the sea with engine trouble during the course of a reconnaissance flight to check out potential seaplane bases around the east coast.
"The Lowestoft Journal described the aircraft as a'Hydro-plane'.
"Fighter aircraft from the Royal Naval Air Service, based at Yarmouth, destroyed a German Zeppelin eight miles off Lowestoft in November 1916.
"During the Second World War, two squadrons of Fleet Air Arm Barracuda aircraft were based at Ellough, near Beccles and became a frequent sight in the Lowestoft area flying day and night patrols over the North Sea."
As HMS Queen Elizabeth is based in the North Sea, conducting carrier qualification for Royal Navy and Royal Air Force pilots from the UK Lightning Force, the jets are flying daily to and from the ship's four-and-a-half acre deck.
Merlin Mk2 crews from Culdrose - the frontline Fleet Air Arm helicopter pilots, weapons experts and engineers of tomorrow - are also spending a month aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth in the North Sea.