HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s new flagship aircraft carrier, has arrived at its home port in southern England. Thousands of people were present at Portsmouth Naval Base on Wednesday to welcome the 919-foot long vessel that is estimated to serve the Royal Navy for next 50 years. The ship was accompanied by a fleet of ships, helicopters, and Hawk Jets when it reached the harbor. The 3 billion-pound ship had left the dockyard in June this year and was undergoing tests at sea since then.
The 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth is Britain’s largest and most advanced warship. The country spent approximately 3-billion pounds to build this grand vessel, despite massive budget cuts for the defense ministry. The construction took place across six cities in the UK and involved hundreds of business and suppliers as well as thousands of workers at different shipyards who worked round the clock to build this state-of-the-art, grand vessel.
Currently, no planes have been deployed on this ship. According to Royal Navy officials, flying trials will start next year. Presently, 120 British naval personnel are being trained in the U.S. to prepare for first trial flights of F-35 Lightning II multirole fighter jets from the carrier’s deck in 2018. The ship is expected to become fully operational by 2023.
At Portsmouth, the vessel has been berthed at the newly-upgraded Princess Royal Jetty at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth. This base is also home to another new aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales that will be officially named next month. The Princess Royal Jetty was recently upgraded to support the new carriers. The harbor was made deep and wide to accommodate the new vessels.
In June, Britain’s defense secretary said that Russia would feel envious after seeing capabilities of the British aircraft carrier. Russia’s defense ministry spokesman quickly responded to describe the British ship as a “conveniently large sea target” that should stay near U.S. protection assets.
According to UK Prime Minister Theresa May, British people should feel proud on this new aircraft carrier that would play an important role in maintaining peace and security in region. PM Theresa May said the UK wants to remain an active global power and will continue to work with its allies for welfare of the people and peace in the whole world.