HMS Queen Elizabeth Makes Debut in Portsmouth
LONDON – Britain’s future flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed into its home port of Portsmouth for the first time on Aug. 16, the U.K. Ministry of Defence said in a release.
Sailors lined the flight deck of the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy as it passed Portsmouth’s Round Tower. HMS Queen Elizabeth was also greeted with a fly-past from the Fleet Air Arm, including Wildcat and Merlin helicopters and Hawk jets.
“Today we welcome our mighty new warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth to her home for the very first time. She is Britain’s statement to the world: a demonstration of British military power and our commitment to a bigger global role,” Secretary of State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon said. “The thousands of people across the U.K. who have played a part in building her and her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, should be immensely proud as our future flagship enters Portsmouth. She has made good progress in sea trials and will now embark on the next phase of preparations that will see the return of Britain‘s carrier strike ability.”
He noted that the carrier program “has brought together the best of British industry, with construction taking place across six cities and involving more than 10,000 people. This includes 700 businesses and suppliers, 800 apprentices and nearly 8,000 jobs at shipyards around the U.K. The United Kingdom has 11 state-of-the-art F-35 Lightning II jets and 120 UK personnel training in the United States. By the end of this year that will be 14 jets, with trial flights from the carrier’s deck on track to begin next year.”
Capt. Jerry Kyd, the commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth, said, “The ship will berth at the newly-named and upgraded Princess Royal Jetty at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth, which will be home to both of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers. The second, HMS Prince of Wales, will be officially named in a ceremony at Rosyth next month. The berth has been upgraded and strengthened to support the carriers as part of a £100 million raft of infrastructure upgrades which took place ahead of the arrival of the ship.
Sir Peter Gershon, Chairman of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, said, “Over 10,000 people have come together to bring HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales to life, from early design to the magnificent ships they are today. It is thanks to their industrious endeavors and pride that we have achieved this historic moment in the program to bring HMS Queen Elizabeth into service.”
Each carrier weighs 65,000 tons and is 280 meters in length. The top speed is upwards of 25 knots. The carriers will have a crew of around 700, increasing to 1,600 when a full complement of F-35B aircraft and four Crowsnest helicopters are embarked. The flight deck is 70 meters wide and 280 meter long.