HMS Queen Elizabeth has sailed from Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time since arriving at her home port in August. The Royal Navy’s future flagship has embarked on the next set of sea trials to test the £3 billion ship’s capability.
Captain of Portsmouth Naval Base Captain Bill Oliphant said: “HMS Queen Elizabeth has been in Portsmouth Naval Base for two months of planned maintenance to allow her to sail to complete her sea trials today.
“This period at sea will mark an extremely significant milestone in the life of the ship leading towards her acceptance into the Royal Navy at her commissioning later this year, back in her home port of Portsmouth.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to be at sea for the next month and will be delivered to the Royal Navy by the end of the year; an exciting finale in 2017.
Her first phase of sea trials, conducted earlier this year, demonstrated the platform stability and manoeuvrability.
Commanding Officer Captain Jerry Kyd said: “She was stable and strong, which is important for aviation operations from an aircraft carrier flight deck. Very quickly we were able to run her at full power and she performed extremely well.”
The 65,000 tonne carrier is the biggest and most advanced warship to have ever been built by the Royal Navy and can accommodate up to 1,600 personnel, which would include a full air crew, but also provides space for embarked personnel such as Royal Marines.
The design, build, and development of the Queen Elizabeth Class has been a truly national effort, involving every region in the UK. Shipyards in six cities across the UK have constructed sections of the aircraft carriers and while many parts of the carrier arrived in Rosyth by road, the major sections needed to be transported by barge around the coast of the UK.
HMS Prince of Wales, the second of the fleet’s new aircraft carriers, is in the final phases of construction in Rosyth Dockyard and is expected to be floated out of its giant dock next spring.
To date, construction of the two ships has devoured 51 million man hours — enough to keep one person occupied for more than 5,800 years!