HMS Queen Elizabeth

The UK Royal Navy has successfully completed the inclining test of the recently christened HMS Queen Elizabeth-class (QE) aircraft carrier in a bid to determine its exact weight and centre of gravity.

As part of the tests, the carrier was initially allowed to float very slowly at the build dock in Scotland without any support from brows or cables and with relaxed mooring lines.

Further, weights were transferred to a predetermined distance across the flight deck in a bid to measure the heel angle using on-board pendulums.

The deployed team will now use the gathered data to deal with the condition of the vessel during final stages of its build, paving the way to determine the location for deployment of the final quantity of solid ballast.

The ballast system will facilitate in maintaining the vessel’s stability and level, which is vital, particularly for the taking-off and landing of aircraft, during sea deployment.

Weighing 65,000t and featuring a flight deck spanning around 4.5 acres, the first QE-class carrier can launch, land and maintain aircraft 24-hours-a-day for war efforts and humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations.

The 300m-long vessel will boost sustained operations and has an air wing of about 40 aircraft, besides the AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin HM2 multi-role rotorcraft, the Merlin HC4 amphibious support helicopters and the new Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II jets.

With scheduled sea trials due to commence in August 2016, the vessel will be commissioned in May 2017 and will execute flight trials using the Lighting II aircraft in 2018.

Work on HMS Queen Elizabeth’s sister ship, the HMS Prince of Wales, has already begun, with structural completion expected by July 2016 and planned sea trial expected to start in January 2019, followed by acceptance in August of the same year.

Image: The UK Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Firth of Forth. Photo: courtesy of UK Navy.

Defence Technology