HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to Portsmouth base from Westlant 19

5 December 2019 (Last Updated December 5th, 2019 12:56)

The British Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier has returned to its home base of HMNB Portsmouth following the completion of a three-month-long deployment overseas.

HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to Portsmouth base from Westlant 19
Crowd welcoming the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier at the Portsmouth naval base. Credit: Royal Navy.

The British Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier has returned to its home base of HMNB Portsmouth following the completion of a three-month-long deployment overseas.

The vessel was welcomed at the base by sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, which is the second in the Queen Elizabeth class of aircraft carriers built for the navy.

HMS Queen Elizabeth was deployed to the US to undergo operational tests during the Westlant 19 exercise.

Other elements in the HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group, including HMS Northumberland and RFA Tideforce, also returned to their home bases.

HMS Dragon, which supported the battle group, returned home earlier this week ahead of the arrival of the main group.

The 65,000t, £3bn aircraft carrier left for the US in August to participate in trials with British F-35 fighter jets for the first time.

The carrier battle group was supported by Merlin and Wildcat helicopters.

HMS Queen Elizabeth commanding officer captain Steve Moorhouse said: “Homecomings are always a special occasion, but to be returning to Portsmouth with HMS Prince of Wales welcoming us home makes this a particularly special occasion.

“This has been an extremely successful deployment for HMS Queen Elizabeth. Embarking UK F-35 Lightning jets for the first time and integrating them within the carrier strike group is a significant milestone and we are well set for an equally demanding 2020 and our first operational deployment in 2021.”

The ship docked with Prince of Wales at the HMNB Portsmouth for the first time.

Prior to welcoming the two ships, Portsmouth conducted upgrade work on the jetties.