Military

The Royal Navy's largest-ever warship comes home for the first time

The Royal Navy's largest-ever ...
HMS Queen Elizabeth entered its homeport of Portsmouth for the first time this Wednesday
HMS Queen Elizabeth entered its homeport of Portsmouth for the first time this Wednesday
View 12 Images
HMS Queen Elizabeth has been undergoing sea trials
1/12
HMS Queen Elizabeth has been undergoing sea trials
HMS Queen Elizabeth with its tug flotilla
2/12
HMS Queen Elizabeth with its tug flotilla
HMS Queen Elizabeth with Portsmouth in the background
3/12
HMS Queen Elizabeth with Portsmouth in the background
HMS Queen Elizabeth negotiating the narrow channel and Promotion Point
4/12
HMS Queen Elizabeth negotiating the narrow channel and Promotion Point
HMS Queen Elizabeth was met by a Fleet Air Arm fly past
5/12
HMS Queen Elizabeth was met by a Fleet Air Arm fly past
HMS Queen Elizabeth with the restored HMS Warrior in the foreground
6/12
HMS Queen Elizabeth with the restored HMS Warrior in the foreground
HMS Queen Elizabeth entered its homeport of Portsmouth for the first time this Wednesday
7/12
HMS Queen Elizabeth entered its homeport of Portsmouth for the first time this Wednesday
HMS Queen Elizabeth with helicopters landing and taking off
8/12
HMS Queen Elizabeth with helicopters landing and taking off
A helicopter leaving HMS Queen Elizabeth 
9/12
A helicopter leaving HMS Queen Elizabeth 
HMS Queen Elizabeth with crew on deck
10/12
HMS Queen Elizabeth with crew on deck
The crew of HMS Queen Elizabeth dressing ship
11/12
The crew of HMS Queen Elizabeth dressing ship
HMS Queen Elizabeth infographic
12/12
HMS Queen Elizabeth infographic

The Royal Navy's largest-ever warship came home today for the first time, as HMS Queen Elizabeth entered her new homeport of Portsmouth. The 65,000-tonne (71,650-ton) aircraft carrier was met early this morning by flag-waving crowds and a fly-past of Fleet Air Arm Wildcat and Merlin helicopters and Hawk jet trainers, as she squeezed through the narrow passage by Portsmouth's Round Tower under the guidance of a flotilla of specially-built tugs.

Queen Elizabeth was guided to her new berth at Princess Royal Jetty at Her Majesty's Naval Base Portsmouth, that was built to receive the £3 billion (US$3.8 billion) carrier and her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, which is currently being fitted out at Rosyth. The new berth and associated infrastructure cost £100 million (US$128 million).

The berth and its approach channel had to be dredged to make it deep enough for the supercarriers, moving 3.2 million m³ (113 million ft³) of bottom sediment – enough to fill 1,280 Olympic swimming pools. During the dredging, a large number of artifacts from the Royal Navy's long use of the harbor were recovered, including a human skull, which was turned over to the local police.

HMS Queen Elizabeth negotiating the narrow channel and Promotion Point
HMS Queen Elizabeth negotiating the narrow channel and Promotion Point

Before arriving at Portsmouth, HMS Queen Elizabeth carried out a series of sea trials to test her operating and combat systems, as well as the first helicopter landing. During this exercise, there was a slight mishap when some stray fishing gear entangled one of the propellor shafts, requiring minor repairs back in port.

On her way south, the carrier encountered the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth and a NATO carrier group commanded by the USS George H W Bush. The Bush is playing host to some of the 120 aircrew of Queen Elizabeth training with the US Navy in handling the 11 F-35 Lightning II strike fighters that, along with four Crowsnest helicopters, will form the British ship's initial complement with deck trials aboard the Queen Elizabeth expected to begin next year.

The crew of HMS Queen Elizabeth dressing ship
The crew of HMS Queen Elizabeth dressing ship

"HMS Queen Elizabeth's first entry into her homeport of Portsmouth is an historic, proud and exciting occasion, not only for those of us serving in her, but also for the wider Royal Navy, the city of Portsmouth and the entire nation," says Captain Jerry Kyd, Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth. "The UK's future flagship, as well her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, will be powerful symbols of Britain's outward facing global character and ambition. The Royal Navy has a very special relationship with Portsmouth dating back half a millennium and both carriers will ensure the Navy's city remains the focal point of our great nation's maritime power for generations to come."

The video below shows HMS Queen Elizabeth entering Portsmouth Harbour.

Source: Ministry of Defence

HMS Queen Elizabeth enters Portsmouth

3 comments
gbsderm
"Welcome back to the fight. This time I know our side will win."
dugnology
What's with the two control towers? Why did they go for the straight off the deck approach as opposed to the angled deck of the American carriers? Why do grown men have a little black bow on their caps?
michael32
So the global banking elite parade their latest toy, the Royal Navy’s 'newest and biggest’ ship HMS Queen Elizabeth. 'Spectacular’, ‘mighty’, ‘astonishing’ – drool the lackeys in the BBC and the ''newspapers'', but this charmless heap of floating steel In no way represents the British public. The flag of piracy would be more appropriate. ​Aircraft carriers are tools of offensive war and 'Big Liz' will be of no use whatsoever ​in dealing with the security threats that we really do face. At a time when public services are being decimated by cuts, ​one ​might have​ expect​ed​ greater scrutiny over the construction of this £3 billion-pound killing machine that is not even fit for purpose. It's a bomb magnet, vulnerable to attack by unsophisticated missile systems available to all ''our'' enemies, including Yemen. On the eve of the unveiling, an amateur drone enthusiast managed to fly a £300 drone onto the ship's deck. It is laughable that such an expensive ship ​does​ not have defences ​against​ such transgressions. If it is as state-of-the-art as we are told, how could it be breached so easily by a member of the public ? It is in fact a white elephant that will be redundant militarily even before it's fully equipped (for another £3 billion).