The U.K.’s newest aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth was commissioned into the Royal Navy fleet this morning by Her Majesty The Queen.
Serving as the ship's Lady Sponsor, The Queen addressed guests before the ship's Commanding Officer, Captain Jerry Kyd, and read the commissioning warrant at a ceremony in Portsmouth Naval Base. The ceremony, attended by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson and military chiefs, marked the first time the Queen has visited the new warship since the formal naming ceremony in Rosyth in July 2014.
The aircraft carrier is presently at her home port of Portsmouth after recently completing a second stage of sea trials off the south coast of England. Next, after final building activity and helicopter trials in 2018, HMS Queen Elizabeth will head to the U.S. coast for flight trials in autumn.
“In hoisting the White Ensign from HMS Queen Elizabeth today, Britain has confirmed her place among the world's great maritime powers in the most majestic and muscular terms,” said Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff. “The Queen Elizabeth-class carriers will sit at the heart of a modernized and emboldened Royal Navy, capable of projecting power and influence at sea, in the air, over the land and in cyberspace, and offering our nation military and political choice in an uncertain world.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth and sister ship HMS Prince of Wales
, which are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defense
), will be able to perform a wide range of tasks, from humanitarian and disaster relief to fighting terrorism and high-end warfighting.
“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,” said Defense 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.”
This year the Royal Navy has had steel cut on the first of the Type 26 frigates and Dreadnought submarines, the launch of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, provisioning for a new class of frigate, the Type 31e, float out of the fourth Astute submarine, HMS Audacious, the naming of two Offshore Patrol Vessels and the arrival of our first two MARS Tankers in the U.K.