Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to depart Portsmouth on Monday for routine trials after a maintenance period alongside.
On the official Queens Harbour Master Portsmouth website, the vessel is listed to depart in the ‘Shipping Movements and Planned Diving’ section.
‘PRJ’ is the ‘PRINCESS ROYAL JETTY’ where the vessel is currently berthed, ‘OSB’ is the ‘OUTER SPIT BUOY’ out in The Solent. Essentially, the vessel will leave the wall at 1pm and be out in The Solent just before 2pm.
What’s next for HMS Queen Elizabeth after trials?
The vessel is expected to return to Portsmouth again before heading for Scotland in May.
The Ministry of Defence say that HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Carrier Strike Group’s capabilities will be on show during Exercise ‘Strike Warrior’, which will take place off the coast of Scotland in May.
The UK-led war-fighting exercise, including several other NATO navies, will be the final test for the Carrier Strike Group before it undertakes its maiden deployment.
The Ministry of Defence say that the deployment is expected to include two Type 45 Destroyers, two Type 23 Frigates, two Royal Fleet Auxiliary logistics vessels and a submarine in addition to an American destroyer and potentially other allied vessels.
“The task of protecting an aircraft carrier involves many ships, submarines and people. A Carrier Strike Group has an escort in the form of Type 23 Frigates and Type 45 destroyers, giving the strike group the ability to defend against above and below the sea threats. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary also play a vital role, keeping the strike group replenished with food and armament. The Queen Elizabeth-class carriers will be deployed with up to two operational Lightning squadrons and 24 F-35Bs on board, with a maximum capacity allowing for up to 36.”
You can read more about the specifics of the Carrier Strike Group here.
Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander UK Carrier Strike Group, said:
“The new UK Carrier Strike Group is the embodiment of British maritime power, and sits at the heart of a modernised and emboldened Royal Navy. Protected by a ring of advanced destroyers, frigates, helicopters and submarines, and equipped with fifth generation fighters, HMS Queen Elizabeth is able to strike from the sea at a time and place of our choosing; and with our NATO allies at our side, we will be ready to fight and win in the most demanding circumstances. Carrier Strike offers Britain choice and flexibility on the global stage; it reassures our friends and allies and presents a powerful deterrent to would-be adversaries.”
After the work-up trial off the west Hebrides range, HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group will head to the Pacific.