Rebecca Speare-ColeMon, 1 March 2021, 5:26 pm
Epic pictures show the massive carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth setting sail from its naval base in Portsmouth.
The £3bn warship has left the port for planned trials and training ahead of its first deployment later in spring.
The carrier, which took over the role of fleet flagship in June, will return to the naval base by the end of the month.
It comes after Boris Johnson confirmed last year that the ship will be at the centre of a carrier strike group deployment to the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and east Asia.
Hundreds of well-wishers lined the sea shore in Portsmouth to wave off the ship as it set sail on Monday.
20 double-decker buses long
At 280 metres long, HMS Queen Elizabeth is the same length as 20 double-decker buses or 2.6 football pitches.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-8&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1365722994799165443&lang=en-gb&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fuk.yahoo.com%2Fnews%2Fjohn-swinney-caves-over-disclosing-193357675.html&theme=light&widgetsVersion=889aa01%3A1612811843556&width=550px
The ship’s width at deck level is 90 metres – almost the same as the height of the Statue of Liberty or Big Ben.
Meanwhile, its height is 56 metres – the same as the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Deployment to the Mediterranean
HMS Queen Elizabeth will embark F-35B jets from 617 Squadron (the “Dambusters”) and Royal Navy Merlin helicopters.
It will be escorted and supported by Royal Navy Type 45 destroyers, Type 23 frigates and support ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
Watch: Introducing Britain’s biggest-ever warship 0:01 1:30 Introducing Britain’s biggest-ever warship
The ship and its F-35B Lightning jets will also be joined by a detachment of the stealth fighters from the US Marine Corps as well as a US Navy destroyer during the deployment.
They will take part in a war-fighting exercise with other Nato navies during Exercise Strike Warrior off Scotland in May before the ship departs for the Mediterranean.
Last month, following talks with defence secretary Ben Wallace, Japan welcomed the decision to send the carrier to the Indo-Pacific region amid growing tensions with China over navigation rights.
Wallace said: “The most significant Royal Navy deployment in a generation demonstrates the UK’s commitment to working with our partners in the region to uphold the rules-based international system and promote our shared security and prosperity.”
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said it was part of the UK’s “tilt” towards the Indo-Pacific region following Brexit.