Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth takes role as fleet flagship

28 January 2021 (Last Updated January 28th, 2021 15:19)

The British Royal Navy’s first-in-class aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has assumed the role of the ‘Fleet Flagship’.

Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth takes role as fleet flagship
HMS Queen Elizabeth is the new Fleet Flagship, having taken over from HMS Albion. Credit: LPhot Belinda Alker/ Royal Navy.

The British Royal Navy’s first-in-class aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has assumed the role of the ‘Fleet Flagship’.

With the latest milestone, Royal Navy moves closer to the deployment of the technologically advanced carrier strike group.

The Portsmouth-based ship assumed the role following a signal at 13:30 local time on 27 January, with Fleet Commander vice-admiral Jerry Kyd on the carrier to mark the transfer of the role from HMS Albion.

In October last year, the Royal Navy’s new Carrier Strike Group led by HMS Queen Elizabeth assembled for the first time, marking the service’s return to carrier operations.

The Carrier Strike Group includes HMS Defender, HMS Diamond, and USS The Sullivans, along with HMS Kent, HMS Northumberland, HNLMS Evertsen, RFA Tideforce, and RFA Fort Victoria.

First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin said: “The position of Fleet Flagship is a symbol of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s importance to the nation, not just in restoring our carrier strike capability, but as a rolling statement of British commitment to global security, prosperity and trade.

“It’s right that we bestow such a historic title now. In the coming months HMS Queen Elizabeth will lead the most ambitious Royal Navy deployment in decades. She will be a focal point as we look forward to an extraordinary year.”

According to the UK Navy, HMS Queen Elizabeth and its strike group will first take part in a war-fighting exercise with other NATO navies for exercise ‘Strike Warrior’ off Scotland during the spring before it leaves for the Mediterranean.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, one of the most powerful warships ever constructed for the Royal Navy, is capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft.

It was officially christened by The Queen in July 2014 and entered service in December 2017.

HMS Albion commanding officer Captain Simon Kelly said: “While it is with some sadness that we hand over the responsibility to HMS Queen Elizabeth, we are proud to be part of the transfer which marks a new era for the Royal Navy and the nation.”

UK CVF Royal Navy aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, are the largest warships ever constructed in the UK.