The British supercarrier HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joined the Royal Navy today at Portsmouth naval base. On the hangar deck of the 65,000-tonne (71,650-ton) ship, her Lady Sponsor, Queen Elizabeth II, formally oversaw the ceremony as Captain Jerry Kyd, the Commanding Officer, read the commissioning warrant that confirmed the future flagship as an active part of the fleet and the White Ensign and commissioning pennants were raised for the first time.

The £3-billion (US$3.8-billion) HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently at her berth at Princess Royal Jetty, which will also act as host to her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, which is currently being fitted out at Rosyth, Scotland. The commissioning ceremony was attended by Princess Anne, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, Chancellor Philip Hammond, military chiefs, and the Queen Elizabeth's company.

The carrier recently completed the second stage of her sea trials in the English Channel and the Ministry of Defence says she will carry out the first of a series of helicopter trials early next year before setting sail for the United States in the third quarter of 2018 for further sea trials.

About 150 Royal Navy and RAF personnel are training aboard US Marine Corps assault carriers both to prepare for the delivery of the first 13 F-35B fighters to the Queen Elizabeth and to allow the British and US fighting forces to learn to work as a team capable of operating from one another's ships. The first F-35s are scheduled to fly from the British strike carrier next year. These will be joined by a complement of Wildcat and Merlin helicopters.

"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," says Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. "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 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."

Source:
Royal Navy
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