aircraft carrier flight deck

The UK Royal Navy will name the first of two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers as HMS Queen Elizabeth during a ceremony scheduled to be held at Rosyth dockyard in Fife on 4 July.

Completion of the ceremony will also mark the moment that the 65,000t battleship, the biggest ever carrier for Britain, will be floated out for the first time.

The warship construction has sustained more than 7,000 jobs at more than 100 companies across the country.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to undergo sea trials in 2017 followed by flight trials with F-35 Lightning II aircraft in 2018.

First sea lord George Zambellas said: "The first-of-a-class that will return fast jet carrier operations to our nation’s war-fighting credibility."

"This occasion will mark a major milestone in regenerating the UK’s aircraft carrier fleet."

Work is underway on HMS Prince of Wales, the second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, which is due to be assembled in Rosyth dockyard later this year.

UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "This occasion will mark a major milestone in regenerating the UK’s aircraft carrier fleet and its power projection capability, with the first Lightning II aircraft due to begin flight trials off the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2018."

With an operational range of 10,000nm and the capacity to carry 40 aircraft with a total runway area of 13,000m², 280m-long and 74m-wide Queen Elizabeth-class carriers will have a full-load displacement capacity of 65,000t.

The two aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince Of Wales, are expected to enter service in 2016 and 2018 respectively.

Image: An illustration of Royal Navy’s new aircraft landing aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth flight deck. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.

Defence Technology