Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth was due to sail this afternoon, that has now been postponed.
Conditions for @HMSQNLZ to depart today not ideal despite the sunshine, so a late decision to postpone. Sorry if you’ve already made your way down to see her – next opportunity Monday around 3.30pm. pic.twitter.com/FgmIzDUDsr
— HMNB Portsmouth (@HMNBPortsmouth) September 18, 2020
The vessel will soon sail to participate in the UK’s Carrier Strike Group exercise (GROUPEX) and Joint Warrior 20-2 (JW202).
HMS Queen Elizabeth will sail with HMS Kent, HMS Defender, HMS Diamond, HMS Northumberland, RFA Tideforce, RFA Fort Victoria, Dutch Frigate HNLMS Evertsen, American Destroyer USS The Sullivans and an unnamed British nuclear submarines.
This is in preparation for next year when HMS Queen Elizabeth will deploy with two frigates, two destroyers, a nuclear submarine and support vessels.
Commodore Michael Utley, Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group, is reported by Save The Royal Navy here as saying that HMS Queen Elizabeth will be escorted on her ’round the world deployment’ by two Type 45 destroyers, two Type 23 frigates, a nuclear submarine, a Tide-class tanker and RFA Fort Victoria.
Earlier in the year, HMS Queen Elizabeth cleared her penultimate hurdle for front-line duties after ten weeks around the UK, preparing for her maiden deployment in the new year.
“A final package of training in the autumn – working alongside NATO and US allies – will confirm her ability to act as a task group flagship, so that she can lead a potent carrier strike force on front-line operations anywhere in the world.”
The Royal Navy said at the time that in view of the size and complexity of the carrier, she received a dedicated training package, initially off the south coast, to test the ability of all 1,100 men and women on board to deal with everything they might expect to face in peace and war. The training package reached its climax with 18 fictional fire and flood incidents raging simultaneously – with the ship expected to continue flying operations while damage control teams toiled in the carrier’s depths.