Epic pictures show HMS Queen Elizabeth setting sail from naval base in Portsmouth


Rebecca Speare-Cole
Mon, 1 March 2021, 5:26 pm

The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Portsmouth Naval Base in Hampshire as it sets sail for exercises at sea. Picture date: Monday March 1, 2021.
The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Portsmouth Naval Base in Hampshire as it sets sail for exercises at sea. (PA)

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.

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Hundreds of well-wishers lined the sea shore in Portsmouth to wave off the ship as it set sail on Monday.

PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: HMS Queen Elizabeth departs from the Naval base on March 01, 2021 in Portsmouth, England. The £3 billion aircraft carrier is expected to undertake an additional series of sea trials in preparation for her first active deployment planned to begin in May. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images
HMS Queen Elizabeth departs from the Naval base on March 01, 2021 in Portsmouth, England. (Getty Images)

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.

The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth moored up at HMNB Portsmouth after its departure from the naval base for training exercises at sea was postponed for the second day in a row after a number of crew members tested positive for Covid-19.
The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth moored up at HMNB Portsmouth. (PA)

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.

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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.