The 2020 Sir John Slessor Memorial Lecture


On Wednesday 26th February 2020, Air League council member Robert Courts MP hosted the Sir John Slessor Memorial Lecture at the Members’ Dining Room, House of Commons.

The 2020 lecture, sponsored by Lockheed Martin, saw Cdr Ed Phillips RN (Commander Air, HMS Queen Elizabeth) outline the Royal Navy’s pioneering new era of military capability, the F-35B and Carrier Task Group Aviation. Following the lecture, Robert Courts MP chaired a panel discussion comprising of military and industry professionals including Cdr Phillips, Mike Mansergh (Head of Strategic Engagement – Maritime at Lockheed Martin UK), Tony Rae (Chairman of the Management Board – 2Excel Aviation Ltd), and Nick Childs (Senior Fellow – Naval Forces and Maritime Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies).

The Queen Elizabeth class carriers’ will deliver an unsurpassed military capability to the UK and represent the best of Britain, both militarily and industrially. The Royal Navy, supported by British industry has been developing world leading expertise which has seen this once in a lifetime opportunity to ‘write the manual’ for carrier operations. 

The lecture followed an intensive period for HMS Queen Elizabeth over recent months which has included Westlant 19 where the carrier and its air wing have been pushed to the limits. The deployment has also heralded a renaissance of carrier strike capability and the global influence it creates for the UK. Cdr Ed Phillips (Commander Air), has led the trials and integration programme which includes the F-35, rotary wing aircraft, as of course collaboration with the United States Marine Corps. The lecture provided key insights into the Royal Navy’s endeavours which are genuinely pioneering a new era of military capability for the UK. 

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