Royal Navy will formally commission its newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth in just three weeks’ time, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced.
He added that the vessel will be commissioned by Her Majesty the Queen, the namesake of the carrier.
Defence Secretary announced the news as he made his first landing onto the deck of the carrier today, while at sea, sailing on trials around the south coast of England.
The carrier is currently making great progress through her sea trials and will return to her home port in Portsmouth in a few weeks’ time. The Queen will then visit the ship in Portsmouth on 7 December for the formal commissioning ceremony.
Her identical sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, has also been formally named and is now structurally complete. Both of the UK’s aircraft carriers are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnering relationship between industry and the UK Ministry of Defence.
HMS Queen Elizabeth:
HMS Queen Elizabeth is one of two new aircraft carriers being built for the Royal Navy at a cost of more than £6bn.
It is the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy (RN) with a length of 920 ft (280 m) and displacement of about 65,000 tonnes. The flight deck of the carrier is of the size of three football pitches. The ship will have a crew of 1,000 and embark 40 aircraft once in service.
The air wing includes F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters and a wide complement of helicopters including Chinook, Apache AH64, Merlin HM2 and HC4, Wildcat AH1 and HMA2 and Merlin Crowsnest AEW.
The warship is the Royal Navy’s first aircraft carrier since HMS Ark Royal which was scrapped in 2010. HMS Prince of Wales (R09), the second ship of the class is set to be handed over to the Navy in 2019 and be fully ready for frontline duties around the globe from 2023.