The British Royal Navy's future flagship Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has arrived at its homeport of Portsmouth harbour for the first time.
The 65,000t vessel will berth at Princess Royal Jetty at Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Portsmouth, which will serve as the homeport for both of the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers.
Princess Royal Jetty has been refurbished and strengthened to support the two new carriers as part of a £100m infrastructure upgrade programme, which was carried out ahead of the first vessel's arrival.
The 280m-long HMS Queen Elizabeth underwent sea trials prior to its arrival in Portsmouth, after setting sail from Scotland's Rosyth dockyard in June.
More than 10,000 people were employed across six UK cities to build the new carrier.
HMS Queen Elizabeth has been delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, which is a partnership between the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and various industry partners.
The carrier will support deployment of F-35 Lightning II fighter jets, which are slated to commence trial flights next year from the vessel’s deck.
UK Defence Secretary of State Michael Fallon said: “When she enters service, she will help keep Britain safe at a time of increased threats, able to fill multiple roles from providing air power anywhere at any time to fight future campaigns, supporting allies or delivering humanitarian aid.”
The carrier will carry a crew of nearly 700 members and be able to reach a top speed of more than 25k.
It will also have the capacity to accommodate a total of 1,600 personnel when a full complement of F-35B aircraft and four Crowsnest helicopters are on-board.
The second aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, is scheduled to be officially named at Rosyth next month.
Image: The British Royal Navy’s future flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth. Photo: courtesy of the Royal Navy.