Royal Navy's warship HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to Scottish waters

Royal Navy's warship HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to Scottish waters

March 15, 2021

Big Lizzie goes back to Scotland: Royal Navy’s most powerful ever warship HMS Queen Elizabeth that was built in Rosyth returns to Scottish waters on exercises

  • HMS Queen Elizabeth, launched in 2014, is the most powerful warship ever constructed for the Royal Navy
  • Built in Rosyth in Fife, she has been based in her home port of Portsmouth since 2017 while not at sea
  • The £3billion warship returned to Scotland for final preparations ahead of a first operational deployment

The flagship of the Royal Navy’s fleet has returned to Scotland as she continues her sea trials.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, the most powerful warship ever constructed for the navy, arrived at the new Northern Ammunition Jetty in Loch Long, Argyll and Bute, earlier today.

The visit comes as part of final preparations before the aircraft carrier’s first operational deployment.

The £3 billion vessel, which was assembled at Rosyth in Fife, has spent the last two weeks doing sea trials and equipment testing.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first of the Royal Navy’s fleet to visit the new £64 million facility, built at Glen Mallan by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).

HMS Queen Elizabeth, the most powerful warship ever constructed for the navy, arrived at the new Northern Ammunition Jetty in Loch Long, Argyll and Bute, earlier today

The £3 billion vessel, which was assembled at Rosyth in Fife, has spent the last two weeks doing sea trials and equipment testing out at sea after leaving Portsmouth at the start of the month

HMS Queen Elizabeth will soon return to see for a series of training exercises for its first operational deployment to the South China Sea. Pictured: Crew members waiting to disembark from the Royal Navy aircraft carrier

Last month, it was reported that flagship aircraft carrier will set out on its first operational mission with more US than British warplanes on board, under plans being examined by defence chiefs

Captain Angus Essenhigh, HMS Queen Elizabeth Commanding Officer, said: ‘We are very proud of the close connection our ship has with Scotland, especially with our affiliated city of Edinburgh’

Operated by Defence Equipment and Support through Defence Munitions, the Northern Ammunition Jetty is specifically designed to support the surface fleet, allowing them to continue entering and berthing at Glen Mallan

Captain Angus Essenhigh, HMS Queen Elizabeth Commanding Officer, said: ‘We are very proud of the close connection our ship has with Scotland, especially with our affiliated city of Edinburgh.

‘HMS Queen Elizabeth embodies the best of British engineering and craftsmanship, including Scottish shipbuilding, and it is a privilege to return to her birthplace of Scotland.

Operated by Defence Equipment and Support through Defence Munitions, the Northern Ammunition Jetty is specifically designed to support the surface fleet, allowing them to continue entering and berthing at Glen Mallan.

This is the first time HMS Queen Elizabeth has visited western Scotland, after she became a familiar sight in the Firth of Forth where she was assembled.

She berthed at the jetty for a routine loading of operational stores.

This is the first time HMS Queen Elizabeth has visited western Scotland, after she became a familiar sight in the Firth of Forth where she was assembled

A number of ship building yards around the country were involved in the build – these include Govan and Scotstoun in Glasgow, Appledore in Devon, Cammell Laird in Birkenhead, Wirral, A&P on the Tyne in Newcastle and Portsmouth

The 65,000 tonne carrier is capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft and is primarily used to launch F35 strike aircraft

The warship has a range of 8,000 to 10,000 nautical miles, and has two propellers – each weighing 33 tonnes and with a combined 80MW output of power – enough to run 1,000 family cars or 50 high speed trains

At more than 900ft long, the deck space covers four acres and will be used to launch the new F35 Joint Strike Fighter fast jet.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: ‘HMS Queen Elizabeth has a very proud affiliation to Scotland and it is only fitting she returns before her first operational deployment later this year.’

HMS Queen Elizabeth is due to sail for Portsmouth at the end of the month, and will deploy to the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and East Asia later this year, as part of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group.

The 65,000 tonne carrier is capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft and is primarily used to launch F35 strike aircraft. 

Big Lizzie: The 930ft-long £3billion aircraft carrier which is the joint largest in Royal Navy history

HMS Queen Elizabeth – named after 16th century monarch Elizabeth I – is the lead ship of the Queen Elizabeth-Class of aircraft carriers. Its sister ship is HMS Prince of Wales.

The ships, which together cost more than £6billion, are the largest in the history of the Royal Navy. 

Last month, it was reported that flagship aircraft carrier will set out on its first operational mission with more US than British warplanes on board, under plans being examined by defence chiefs.

HMS Queen Elizabeth could deploy with as many as 20 US F-35 jets and just 16 UK F-35s under one scenario, defence sources told the Daily Mail.

The Ministry of Defence is expected to rely on US jets to fill a gap in numbers because it has been too slow to buy its own F-35s. 

The aircraft carrier is expected to set sail on its first deployment in May.

Here are the facts and figures behind the vessel which was officially commissioned into the Royal Navy December 7, 2017:

– The aircraft carrier weighs 65,000 tonnes and has a top speed in excess of 25 knots.

– At 932 feet long, the Queen Elizabeth is taller than Nelson’s Column and considerably wider than the M25 at its widest point. 

– A number of ship building yards around the country were involved in the build – these include Govan and Scotstoun in Glasgow, Appledore in Devon, Cammell Laird in Birkenhead, Wirral, A&P on the Tyne in Newcastle and Portsmouth.

– A total of 10,000 people worked on construction of the ship, made up in sections at yards around the UK and transported to Rosyth, Fife, where it was assembled.

– It is the second ship in the Royal Navy to be named Queen Elizabeth.

– The ship has a crew of around 700, that will increase to 1,600 when a full complement of F-35B jets and Crowsnest helicopters are embarked.

– There are 364,000 metres of pipes inside the ship, and from keel to masthead she measures 56 metres, four metres more than Niagara Falls.

– Facilities onboard include a chapel, a medical centre and 12-bed ward, staffed with GPs, a nurse and medical assistants, as well as a dentist and dental nurse.

– There are also five gyms on the warship which include a cardiovascular suite, two free weight rooms and a boxing gym.

– Regular fitness circuit sessions and sporting activities such as basketball and tug of war are held in the hangar and on the flight deck, with weights and other items stored inside the flight deck ramp.

– There are five galleys on the warship which is where the food is cooked and those on board eat their meals everyday. This includes two main galleys, the bridge mess and an aircrew refreshment bar.

– The distribution network on board manages enough energy to power the town of Swindon.

– Its flight deck is 280 metres long and 70 metres wide, enough space for three football pitches.

– The entire ship’s company of 700 can be served a meal within 90 minutes, 45 minutes when at action stations.

– Recreational spaces enjoyed by the crew feature televisions and sofas, as well as popular board games including the traditional Royal Navy game of Uckers.

– Each of the two aircraft lifts on HMS Queen Elizabeth can move two fighter jets from the hangar to the flight deck in 60 seconds.

– The warship has a range of 8,000 to 10,000 nautical miles, and has two propellers – each weighing 33 tonnes and with a combined 80MW output of power – enough to run 1,000 family cars or 50 high speed trains.

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