The British Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has left Babcock’s Rosyth dockyard in Scotland after successfully completing its first planned dry dock inspection period.

During the carrier’s dry dock stay, workers changed 284 hull valves, removed and cleaned both rudder blades, and inspected sea inlet pipes.

The maintenance also included replacing all sacrificial anodes and applying a renewed coat of anti-foul paint to the vessel’s bottom.

In addition, port and starboard anchors and cables were laid out in the dock to enable inspection.

With the successful completion of the dry docking period, HMS Queen Elizabeth would not require being docked for another six years.

HMS Queen Elizabeth Marine Engineering head commander Mark Hamilton said: “It’s the first time that such a short docking period has taken place with a Royal Navy ship of this size.

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“It’s real testament to the great working relationship forged between the Ministry of Department and industry to make this such a success. We’ll now carry the concept forwards to future docking periods, as well as to those of our sister ship HMS Prince of Wales.”

Bad weather caused an initial delay to the vessel’s entry to the basin. However, it did not prevent the carrier from entering dry dock ahead of schedule last month.

Rosyth secured the maintenance contract from the Royal Navy in January.

“It’s the first time that such a short docking period has taken place with a Royal Navy ship of this size.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth is set to undergo a period of sea trials and training ahead of its ‘Westlant 19’ deployment to the US east coast later this year.

During Westlant 19, the vessel will perform operational testing with UK F-35B Lightning II fighter jets.

Last year, the carrier’s Westlant deployment involved developmental tests with US trials jets.

The aircraft carrier is scheduled to enter operational service next year and will be ready for its first deployment in 2021.