The Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived in Portsmouth for the first time early this morning, August 16, after completing a first phase of sea trials.
These are some of the first photos of the UK’s largest ever warship sailing into her home port.
After the first steel on the HMS Queen Elizabeth and sister vessel HMS Prince of Wales was cut in 2009, work accelerated and HMS Queen Elizabeth was formally launched in 2014. In the same year it was finally confirmed that HMS Prince of Wales would be brought into service on a full-time basis to allow the Royal Navy to maintain a ‘continuous at sea’ carrier presence.
The second carrier should be handed over to the navy in 2019. In the 2015 defence review, the purchase of the full complement of 48 F-35Bs was confirmed to allow both carriers to simultaneously embark at least one squadron of jets.
Not surprisingly HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Commanding Officer, Commodore Jerry Kyd, believes the cost and hard work involved will be worth the effort. “The premier nations of the world are investing billions of dollars in aircraft carriers,” he told AFM. “The ship will provide the British government with an incredibly flexible tool. HMS Queen Elizabeth and her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, are to give Britain a global presence. Anywhere she goes in the world it will [provide] Britain [with] a serious punch.”
A full report on HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first weeks of operations will appear in the September issue of AFM, on sale on August 17.