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The HMS Queen Elizabeth afloat

25 July 2017

The United Kingdom’s newest aircraft carrier is the HMS Queen Elizabeth and, pursuant to the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier design history, innovative—after all, it was the Royal Navy which invented the aircraft carrier. The most obvious innovation is her two island structures—the forward island controls ship operations and the aft island controls flight operations. Much of the ship’s aircraft arming is mechanized to increase sortie rates [But, can aircraft maintenance keep up?] and, in theory, can be crewed by as few as twelve. A pair of Rolls Royce Trent gas turbines deliver the ship’s primary power of nearly 100,000 hp allowing for the design maximum speed of more than 26 knots.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth—© Crown Copyright image by Cpl Paul Oldfield RAF

The HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest warship built in the UK, displacing over 70,000 tons. She is sans catapults, instead using a ski ramp which has the Queen Elizabeth married to the Lockheed F-35B Lightning II to not become a helicopter carrier. It is the F-35B Lightning II (which has V/STOL abilities) which gives her fangs and it is the helicopters, with V-22 Ospreys, which gives her claws. Unlike other navies, the Royal Navy uses helicopter borne airborne early warning systems—in present case the AugustaWestland Merlin Crowsnest. The Boeing Vertol Chinook, Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, Boeing Apache, the AugustaWestland HM2 Wildcat and AugustaWestland HC4 Merlin round out the vertical flight compliment—for as many as 70 aircraft all up.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth laying at anchor (note the ski jump and forward island controlling ship operations)—Rolls Royce image

The Royal Navy’s largest ever warship HMS Queen Elizabeth is gently floated out of her dock for the first time in Rosyth, Scotland in July 2014. In an operation that started earlier that week, the dry dock in Rosyth near Edinburgh was flooded for the first time to allow the 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier to float. It then took only three hours this morning to carefully manoeuvre HMS Queen Elizabeth out of the dock with just two metres clearance at either side and then berth her alongside a nearby jetty. Teams will now continue to outfit the ship and steadily bring her systems to life in preparation for sea trials in 2016. The dock she vacates will be used for final assembly of her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, which will begin in September 2014—© Crown Copyright 2014 image HMS Gannet

A computer generated image (CGI) of one of the two new Royal Navy aircraft carriers soon to be in service, passing Round Tower and out of the Naval Dockyard at Portsmouth, Hampshire. Marking the start of the manufacture of the Royal Navy’s largest ever warships. Together with the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft and the brand new Type 45 destroyers, they will form the cornerstone of Britain’s future ability to jointly project air power worldwide from land or sea at a time and place of UK’s choosing—© Crown Copyright image by BVT Surface Fleet

The HMS Queen Elizabeth under tow for trials—Rolls Royce image

The HMS Queen Elizabeth under tow for trials—Rolls Royce image

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 3 August 2017 04:04

    “The HMS…” sounds odd to older British ears – The her majesty’s ship…

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      3 August 2017 15:33

      Yes and yes, I would think so. I used the information in the caption which the Defence Ministry provided, so…

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