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HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy and capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft, is in the advanced stages of her test and commissioning phase and will undertake her maiden sea trials programme this summer.

The ship’s company of HMS Queen Elizabeth has now taken up residence on-board the nation’s future flagship. Over the last couple of months, the 700-strong company have been navigating their way around the 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier, familiarising themselves with the new and high-tech systems on-board, undergoing training and eating meals prepared in the state-of-the-art galley.

Living on-board marks an important step in the process of bringing to life the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier.

Unlike most large carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth is not fitted with catapults and arrestor wires but is instead designed to operate V/STOL aircraft; her air wing will typically consist of F-35B Lightning II fighter-bombers and Merlin helicopters for airborne early warning and anti-submarine warfare.

The design emphasises flexibility, with accommodation for 250 Royal Marines and the ability to support them with attack helicopters and troop transports up to Chinook size and larger.

She is the second Royal Navy vessel to bear the name HMS Queen Elizabeth and will be based at HMNB Portsmouth.

Images: © Crown Copyright


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F-35B Lightning II HMS Queen Elizabeth Royal Navy sea trials

Post written by: Mark Lane

Mark Lane is a defence writer for and the MoD’s Defence Contracts Bulletin.


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