Britain’s future flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed into her home port of Portsmouth for the first time today.
Greeted by thousands of people lining the Portsmouth seafront, the 65,000-tonne carrier was met with the warmest of welcomes as she arrived in her home port this morning. Sailors lined the flight deck of the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy as she passed Portsmouth’s Round Tower. HMS Queen Elizabeth was also greeted with a flypast from the Fleet Air Arm, including Wildcat and Merlin helicopters and Hawk jets.
Secretary of State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon said, “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.
“The thousands of people across the UK 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.
“When she enters service she will help keep Britain safe at a time of increased threats, able to fill multiple roles from providing air power anywhere at any time to fight future campaigns, supporting allies or delivering humanitarian aid.”
The Carrier programme 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 UK.
The UK 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.
Carrier Key Facts
· Each carrier weighs 65,000 tonnes and is 280 metres in length.
· Top speed is upwards of 25 knots.
· The carriers will have a crew of around 700, increasing to1,600 when a full complement of F-35B aircraft and four Crowsnest helicopters are embarked.
· The flight deck is 70 metres wide and 280 metres long – enough space for three football
· Each carrier keeps 45 days’ worth of food in its stores.
· Each carrier is made up of 17 million parts.
· There are 364,000 metres of pipes inside each of the Ships.