HMS Queen Elizabeth Arrives in Gibraltar for First Overseas Visit

The Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived in Gibraltar for her first overseas port visit, on Feb. 9, 2018.

The 65,000-tonne future flagship will be conducting a routine logistics stop having left her home in Portsmouth last week for helicopter trials.

On leaving Gibraltar HMS Queen Elizabeth will return to sea to conduct these trials with specially equipped Merlin and Chinook aircraft from the Aircraft Test and Evaluation Centre at MOD Boscombe Down.

The data collected will be analysed to work out their operating parameters at sea, ahead of fixed wing flying trials with the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter off the east coast of the United States in the summer.

The carrier reached a major milestone last week when a Naval Air Squadron embarked in the ship for the first time, marking another first in the regeneration of the Royal Navy’s carrier strike capability. Merlin Mk2 helicopters of Culdrose-based 820 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) have been working with the ship since she sailed from Rosyth for the first time in June last year.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “As the Rock casts its shadow over the flight deck of our world-class aircraft carrier, Gibraltar rightfully marks HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first overseas stop as she refuels and takes on supplies before continuing her sea trials. I’m sure our friends in Gibraltar will be proud to see our future flagship sail through British waters into their famous port.”

Captain Jerry Kyd, the Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth, said: “It is a great privilege for me to be bringing our new aircraft carrier into Gibraltar for her first ever overseas port visit.

The Commander of British Forces in Gibraltar, Commodore Mike Walliker, said: “Today is a landmark day for Gibraltar and its long-standing and illustrious relationship with the Royal Navy.

Since departing the UK for the first time since being commissioned into the Royal Navy, HMS Queen Elizabeth and her ship’s company of 1,000 men and women have been undergoing intensive training.

Under the guidance of the Royal Navy’s Flag Officer Sea Training organisation, all those on board have been honing their skills in dealing with a series of lifelike exercise scenarios including fires, floods, man overboard drills and a simulated crash on deck.

On leaving Gibraltar HMS Queen Elizabeth will return to sea to conduct helicopter trials with specially equipped Merlin and Chinook aircraft from the Aircraft Test and Evaluation Centre at MOD Boscombe Down. The data collected will be analysed to work out their operating parameters at sea, ahead of fixed wing flying trials with the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter off the east coast of the United States in the summer.

The ship was escorted in to Gibraltar by the Royal Navy’s Devonport-based Type 23 frigate HMS Somerset.

Royal Navy



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