HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Portsmouth-based aircraft carrier, has sailed to undergo training for conducting the first operational deployment next year.

It will undergo training and assessment with the staff of Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) to ensure the UK has the capability to deploy a Carrier Strike Group (CSG) by the end of this year.

Senior US defence leaders have agreed to the continuation of the training.

The company that developed HMS Queen Elizabeth will ensure that UK defence remains prepared for future global threats and maintains deployment as scheduled.

Multiple Royal Navy and Royal Marine personnel from the regular and reserve forces continue to support the national fight against the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

HMS Queen Elizabeth will move to UK waters off the south coast as part of the training exercise.

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The vessel will be trained to face simulated battle damage, fires and floods, warfare training, and mission rehearsals.

More qualifying training for UK F35 Lightning fighter jet crews will be included.

The fighter jet crews will practice manoeuvres from the ship’s decks, providing a vital experience in air operations to the aircrew and the ship’s personnel.

Scheduled for later this year, this exercise will prepare the ship for further training with other Royal Navy ships. The training is to ensure the fleet is ready for deployment as a task group.

All of the ship’s crew have undergone testing for coronavirus.

Before the training starts with FOST staff, HMS Queen Elizabeth will conduct a period of isolation at sea as an additional precautionary measure.

The training will be exercised in waters close to the UK coast. The Commanding Officer has the powers to cease the training if deemed necessary.

Deployment of the aircraft carrier marks a significant milestone in the regeneration of the UK’s carrier strike capability.