HMS Queen Elizabeth’s crew take up residence ahead of Portsmouth arrival

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The Ship’s Company of HMS Queen Elizabeth has now taken up residence on board the nation’s future flagship.

Over the last couple of months, the 700-strong crew has been getting to know the ship, navigating their way around the 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier, familiarising themselves with the new and high tech systems on board, undergoing training and eating meals prepared in the state of the art galley.

Living on board marks an important step in the process of bringing to life the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier. The Ship’s Company can now become familiar with its new home, socialise together in the mess, personalise cabins and make the living spaces their own.

With the Ship’s Company away from home for long periods of time, the QE Class carriers will be a home from home. With 1,600 bunks in 470 cabins, including accommodation for a detachment of up to 250 Royal Marines, each member of Ship’s Company will be able to use the state of the art facilities on board including a cinema, fitness suite, and access to e-mail and internet.

Commanding Officer, Captain Jerry Kyd Royal Navy, said: “The effort from our industry colleagues, Ministry of Defence and Naval personnel to get us to this point has been immense. It has been a massive team effort and I am proud of every individual contribution.”

Sub Lieutenant Reece Statham-Quilty, Weapons Engineer, said: “It is fantastic to be part of such a large project, and working within the team driving it forward. Living on board is a significant milestone for both the programme and the Ship’s Company. We can really see the ship come to life.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth is in advanced stages of her test and commissioning phase and will undertake her maiden sea trials programme in the summer. The months leading up to this milestone have involved a range of critical tests to prove the various systems on board, including successful testing of radars and ship communication, combat systems to calibrate the Ship’s long range radar, and a live test involving a Royal Navy Hawk aircraft.

This work all forms part of the test and commissioning phase for the aircraft carrier, the largest vessel ever built for the Royal Navy. HMS Queen Elizabeth will be a highly versatile defence asset, able to meet the widest range of tasks around the world. The carrier will serve as a significant player on the global stage in peacetime, wartime, and when conducting humanitarian operations over the 50 years of her working life.

The Queen Elizabeth Class will be the centrepiece of Britain’s maritime capability. Each aircraft carrier will provide the armed forces with a four-acre military operating base, which can be deployed worldwide.