Greeted by thousands of people, supercarrier HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived in her home port this morning.

Sailors lined the flight deck of the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy as she passed Portsmouth’s Round Tower.

HMS Queen Elizabeth was also greeted with a flypast from the Fleet Air Arm, including Wildcat and Merlin helicopters and Hawk jets.

Secretary of State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon said:

“Today we welcome our mighty new warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth to her home for the very first time. She is Britain’s statement to the world: a demonstration of British military power and our commitment to a bigger global role.

The thousands of people across the UK who have played a part in building her and her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, should be immensely proud as our future flagship enters Portsmouth. She has made good progress in sea trials and will now embark on the next phase of preparations that will see the return of Britain‘s carrier strike ability.

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 UK has 11 F-35 Lightning II jets and 120 UK personnel training in the United States. By the end of this year that will be 14 jets and more being delivered, with trial flights from the carrier’s deck on track to begin next year.

Captain Jerry Kyd, the Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth, said:

“HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first entry into her home port of Portsmouth is an historic, proud and exciting occasion, not only for those of us serving in her, but also for the wider Royal Navy, the city of Portsmouth and the entire nation.

The UK’s future flagship, as well her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, will be powerful symbols of Britain’s outward facing global character and ambition. The Royal Navy has a very special relationship with Portsmouth dating back half a millennium and both carriers will ensure the Navy’s city remains the focal point of our great nation’s maritime power for generations to come.”

The ship will berth at the newly-named and upgraded Princess Royal Jetty at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth, which will be home to both of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers. The second, HMS Prince of Wales, will be officially named in a ceremony at Rosyth next month.

The berth has been upgraded and strengthened to support the carriers as part of a £100 million raft of infrastructure upgrades which took place ahead of the arrival of the ship.

Sir Peter Gershon, Chairman of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, said:

“I am incredibly proud to witness HMS Queen Elizabeth arrive at her home port of Portsmouth Naval Base having successfully completed the first phase of her sea trials programme.

Over 10,000 people have come together to bring HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales to life, from early design to the magnificent ships they are today. It is thanks to their industrious endeavours and pride that we have achieved this historic moment in the programme to bring HMS Queen Elizabeth into service.

We’re excited to complete the remainder of her test and commissioning programme before delivering her to the Royal Navy by the end of the year.”

Leading Airman Liam Forgeron, 28, from Portchester, is an aircraft handler on board HMS Queen Elizabeth. He said:

“Being a local lad, I am extremely proud that Portsmouth will now be the base port for the nation’s future flagship.

The historic port has a long and proud association with the Royal Navy and the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth will cement this relationship for a further 50 years. As a Royal Navy aircraft handler, serving on board this mighty vessel is a real honour, as I too get to make history in my home town.”

Both aircraft carriers are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a partnership between the Ministry of Defence and industry.

17 COMMENTS

  1. If there was any doubt about the British opinion regarding the new carriers, just note how many people were lining the shoreline, and the number of small vessels there to follow her into port. I for one are pleased to see the UK with equipped with the means to operate alongside allies, with such capability. Long may it remain.

  2. It’s so great to finally see a real picture of her entering Portsmouth harbour rather than the photoshopped mockups that we’ve been seeing for so long. A great day.

    Just imagine when PoW is at sea as well, even when it’s only builder’s sea trials. There’s more good stuff to come.

  3. I am proud of the fine men and women who have designed and delivered this fantastic tool to our armed forces and of those who will sail aboard her.

    I do however dislike the bravado coming out of our media and the politicians surrounding this vessel. Not only does it feel un-British and arrogant it seems unwise. I much prefer the mantra: “speak quietly but carry a big stick”.

    Let us remember we have one carrier – only. A second is being constructed yet it seems unlikely we will have the aircraft needed to operate her.

    In WW2 we lost circa 8 carriers and many thousands of men. If any major conflict arises nowadays, which is looking increasingly likely, we need to accept that we too could lose the QE, a dozen $100m aircraft and worst of all, perhaps hundreds of lives.

    Bravado and arrogance are the last thing we need when contemplating such things. Awe and reverence are the appropriate responses.

    Yes we will soon have a tool to project our political will more forcibly but it comes with significant risks and I fear we Brits lack the humility to understand these. The old Biblical proverb: “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall” should call us back to a more balanced appreciation of our place in this world, our military might and the enormous consequences of getting it wrong. We are talking about people’s lives here and not mere chess pieces on a board.

    • I agree there,s to much flag waveing and boast. Yes the design and build of these two ships are a matter of pride , but quiet confidence and dignity should prevail. Not hubris.

  4. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the wonderful images of HMS Queen Elizabeth entering Portsmouth harbour shown across morning TV was priceless PR for the Royal Navy.

  5. Congratulations to everyone involved in bringing HMSQE to this important point in her career. It is a very proud moment for the RN and for the nation. There is still a way to go to see her deploy operationally, but it is getting closer every day.

  6. I’m suprised they did not ferry over a couple of f35s and park them on the decks for the photo shoot and to shut the “we have no aircraft for our (not yet operational)aircraft carrier” up.

  7. A great day for the Royal Navy and for our Country. Congratulations to all involved in getting our flagship to this milestone, you should be very proud.
    Looking forward to seeing her defensive Systems added and to the white ensign being hoisted for the first time

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