11 Dec 2017

The Queen commissions Royal Navy’s largest ever ship into the fleet

Her Majesty The Queen has commissioned the UK’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth into the Royal Navy.

The Queen spoke at a ceremony in Portsmouth’s naval base, attended by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and military chiefs.

Her Majesty addressed guests before the Ship’s Commanding Officer, Captain Jerry Kyd, read the commissioning warrant. The iconic White Ensign was then raised, symbolising the commissioning of the nation’s future flagship into the Royal Navy’s fleet.

Having successfully completed her second stage of sea trials off the south coast of England, the carrier is back alongside at her home port of Portsmouth. Over 10,000 people across the UK have contributed to the delivery of the ship under the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.

Completing final build activity and preparing for helicopter trials in the New Year, HMS Queen Elizabeth will head to the United States for initial flight trials off the coast in autumn 2018. There are currently 150 Royal Navy and RAF personnel training in the US on our 13 F-35 jets.

The UK has worked closely on both the F-35 and carrier programmes with the US, enabling us to fly aircraft from each other’s ships. Both of the UK’s new carriers will be able to operate alongside NATO and coalition allies.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Today marks the start of a hugely significant chapter for the Royal Navy, and indeed the nation, as the future flagship is commissioned into Her Majesty’s fleet. It is an honour to witness the crowning moment of an extraordinarily busy year for the Royal Navy that has seen us name the second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, cut steel on the first Type 26 frigates and launch the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

“Our new aircraft carrier is the epitome of British design and dexterity, at the core of our efforts to build an Armed Forces fit for the future. For the next half a century both carriers will advance our interests around the globe, providing the most visible symbol of our intent and commitment to protect the UK from intensifying threats, wherever they may come from.”

image © UK MOD Crown Copyright

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