The Royal Navy at Portsmouth naval base has been officially joined by the British supercarrier HMS Queen Elizabeth today. On the hangar deck of the 65,000-tonne ship, her Lady Sponsor, The Queen Elizabeth II, formally oversaw the ceremony as Captain Jerry Kyd, the Commanding Officer, read the commissioning warrant that confirmed the flagship as an active part of the Royal Navy fleet. The White Ensign and commissioning pennants were raised for the first time in the ceremony.
The US$3.8 billion worth of HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently at the berth at Princess Royal Jetty, which will act as host to her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales. The HMS Prince of Wales is currently being fitted out at Rosyth, Scotland. The commissioning ceremony was also attended by Princess Anne, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, Chancellor Philip Hammond, Military Chiefs and The Queen’s Elizabeth’s company.
The carrier recently completed the second stage of her sea trials in the English Channel. The Ministry of Defence says that she will carry out the first series of helicopter trials before sailing for the United States in the third quarter of 2018 for further trials.
About 150 Royal Navy and RAF personnel are training abroad US Marine Corps assault carriers both to prepare to deliver the first 13 F-35B fighters to Queen Elizabeth. It is also done to allow the British and US fighting forces to learn to work together as a team which is capable of operating from one another’s ships. The first F-35s are expected to fly from the British strike carrier next year. They will be joined by Wildcat and Merlin helicopters.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson says, “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 honor 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 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 protecting the UK from intensifying threats, wherever they may come from.”