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The HMS Queen Elizabeth afloat—2nd post

27 August 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.

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.

Pictured is an aerial view of HMS Queen Elizabeth as she conducts vital system tests off the coast of Scotland.
HMS Queen Elizabeth left Rosyth, where she has been under construction since 2014, to conduct sea trials. The Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers are the biggest warships ever built for the Royal Navy with four acres of sovereign territory, deployable across the globe to serve the United Kingdom on operations for 50 years. HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales will be the most advanced warships in the Royal Navy fleet and are the future flagships of the nation. Initially the ships will carry helicopters. The vast flight deck and hangar can accommodate any helicopter in Britain’s military inventory. From 2020, however, the primary punch will be delivered by the F35 Lightning II—© Crown Copyright image

Pictured is an aerial view of HMS Queen Elizabeth conducting vital system tests off the coast of Scotland and bet displaying the unique twin island structures of the class—© Crown Copyright image

The HMS Queen Elizabeth riding at anchor awaiting low tide before departing at the start vital system tests off the coast of Scotland—© Crown Copyright image by Andrew Linnett

 A Royal Navy Merlin helicopter in a fly past of the HMS Queen Elizabeth—© Crown Copyright image by LPhot Caz Davies

An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Tomcatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31, bottom, and an F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the “Blacklions” of VFA-213 fly in formation above the HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) during exercise Saxon Warrior 2017—U.S. Navy photo by Capt. Jim McCall

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. theflyingyorkshireman permalink
    27 August 2017 21:22

    Didn’t we recently see a similar design for China’s newest aircraft carrier: twin island structures and ski ramp for takeoffs without a catapult? Wonder who copied from whom?

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      28 August 2017 18:47

      I have to check on that!

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      28 August 2017 18:52

      I did a quick check. The Chinese Navy’s aircraft carriers have a single, though enormous island and ski jump ramps spanning the bow, unlike the HMS Queen Elizabeth. Unlike the HMS Queen ELizabeth, as well, both Chinese Navy carriers have angled flight decks.

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  1. The HMS Queen Elizabeth afloat—2nd post — Travel for Aircraft – ianwattsblog

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