History was made today as Her Majesty The Queen officially named the Royal UK Navy’s new aircraft carrier.
At 56 metres she is taller than Niagara Falls and, with a flight deck the size of 60 tennis courts, she is the largest ship ever built for the Royal Navy.
Today, at HMS Queen Elizabeth’s naming ceremony in Rosyth, Scotland, hundreds of workers who helped build her joined the ship’s company, the Prime Minister and the Defence Secretary to witness Her Majesty christen her namesake with a bottle of whisky.
Whilst traditionally a bottle of champagne is used to smash against the bow, given the carrier’s Scottish roots, it seemed most fitting for a bottle of Islay whisky to be used instead.
Operating with Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jets, the Queen Elizabeth Class will be versatile enough to be used in a full range of military tasks, from war-fighting to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
Incorporating the latest technologies, including a long-range 3D radar that can track a tennis ball travelling at 2,000 miles per hour, the carrier can also carry enough fuel to transport a family car to the moon and back 12 times.
The UK at its best
The construction of HMS Queen Elizabeth has been an example of British engineering at its best, sustaining around 8,000 jobs at more than 100 companies across the UK.
Blocks of the ship were manufactured at yards up and down the country, in Devon, Portsmouth, on the Clyde, and on the Tyne, before being assembled in the dockyard at Rosyth.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest ship that the Royal Navy has ever had, and is a true demonstration of the UK at its best, with over 10,000 people across the country working together to deliver her.
“This occasion marks a major milestone in regenerating the UK’s aircraft carrier capability, enhancing our ability to project power anywhere in the world.”
A new dawn
Admiral Sir George Zambellas, the First Sea Lord, said: “The naming of HMS Queen Elizabeth heralds a new dawn, not only for the Royal Navy but also for the delivery of our nation’s security. Her journey ahead will be global, strategic and one of inter-service and international partnership.
“Powerful, versatile and credible, this ship will be at the heart of the UK’s defence capability for the next 50 years, but she already stands testament to the best of British shipbuilding, engineering and technology.”
Now that she has been named, the dock will be flooded to enable HMS Queen Elizabeth to float for the first time. Work to prepare the ship for sea trials in 2017 and flight trials with Lightning II aircraft in 2018 will continue.
Work is already underway on HMS Queen Elizabeth’s sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, which will start to be assembled in Rosyth dockyard later this year.
Press Release, July 04, 2014; Image: UK Navy