Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has picked up an item of debris around one of her propeller shafts officials have confirmed, quashing earlier rumours of a major malfunction.

The UK Defence Journal received information that the supercarrier had experienced issues relating to her propeller from a source at Invergordon, where the vessel is currently berthed and taking on fuel.

“Divers were down at the propellers yesterday” said the source who then added that he believed it was something to do with one of the propeller shafts. The source also pointed out to us that it was a similar story from many of the crew he spoke to at Invergordon.

We reached out to the Aircraft Carrier Alliance and a spokesperson confirmed that divers had been investigating the debris around one of the propeller shafts:

“HMS Queen Elizabeth is making progress through her sea trials programme, which is designed to test the full spectrum of her systems. The ship is performing well, however an item of debris was caught around one of the propeller shafts. This was subsequently cleared and an investigation has been undertaken.

The ship is currently in Invergordon for one of her planned stops during the trials programme, to store and re-fuel the ship. As a precautionary measure, we will use this opportunity to complete further thorough checks and ensure sea trials continue safely.”

The sea trials will monitor speed, manoeuvrability, power and propulsion as well as undertaking weapons trials and additional tests on her levels of readiness.

Following this initial period, HMS Queen Elizabeth will return to Rosyth for further testing and maintenance before heading back to sea for a second stage which aims to test her Mission Systems. She will transit to her home port of Portsmouth Naval Base to be handed over to the Royal Navy later this year.

Admiral Sir Philip Jones First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff said:

“This is a hugely significant moment for the Royal Navy, for all our Armed Forces and for our island nation. Once in service HMS Queen Elizabeth will be the largest aircraft carrier in the world outside the United States, and the first designed from the outset to operate a fifth generation aircraft.

Already this ship represents the best of the UK’s industrial and engineering expertise, and once in service she will symbolise our military power and authority in the world for decades to come. There is still much work to do between now and then, but be in no doubt: a new era of British maritime power is about to begin.”

It should be noted that the point of sea trials is to find issues and rectify them. Things will go wrong as the vessel is essentially a giant prototype and while this isn’t one of those ‘things going wrong’, we remain confident that she’ll pass her trials with flying colours.

18 COMMENTS

  1. probably a fishing net…or something similar..as we the human population have dumped crap in the ocean for as long as we have been around…

  2. Yep Happened to me once ( on a much smaller scale ) my engine seized and I bumped into a ( stationary ) tanker !

  3. It must be a pretty serious piece of debris to have not been ripped to shreds by all the power going through those props. Still, in a way quite a good early test of how she handles a fouled propellor, how the stresses manifest themselves further up the prop shaft, in the various bearings, etc. Also useful experience for the crew in terms of handling such an issue.

    I’m glad to hear it’s not any sort of design or build issue.

  4. She is a brilliant ship, unlikely to be a design or engine problem, too well designed for that.
    still she needs more weaponry, especially if only 6 escort vessels are now available for active service. The QE will need at least 2 type 45s and 2x type 23s to go wherever she goes as her carrier battle group. That leaves just 2 available warships for other duties currently.
    A good state of affairs that we are all happy with a sleeping well in our beds, content that the RN is powerful and we are in no danger?. I think not. As time goes on I become increasingly alarmed at the state of the armed forces in general but the RN in particular. Yet all we get from the politicians is just rubbish.
    “rising defence budget, backed by our £178 billion equipment budget”
    Yet the RN has not got enough sailors to man her ships, no anti ship missiles from 2018.
    No landing helicopter ship from 2018 with retirement without replacement of Ocean
    No forward repair ship with retirement without replacement of RFA diligence.
    Only 19 escort warships when minimum required for current tasking (before strike carriers come into service) is 26.
    Just 7 subs when minimum needed is 10.
    Really sad state of affairs, the political class are simply too RAF focussed and “Sea Blind”.

    • I could understand their RAF focus if it was properly equipped and manned. The lack of anti ship missiles is laughable in both services. From 2018 the only assets we have to sink an enemy ship will be submarines. How many of those are available at any one time, one perhaps? Yet Fallon sees fit to openly ridicule Russia, does he even understand how badly off the RN is?

    • RN Harpoon is well past its sell by date and needs to go. Its dumber than a PTI in a spelling test. In today’s risk adverse rules of engagement (bar a full on blue water ” Red Storm Rising” shooting war) you are never going to fire it. To much chance that after its 60 KM + flight the target will have moved and you will hit a civvy instead.
      It needs replacing but I think they are holding out for the new LRASM.

      As for Dilly its simply not required. Where was it when Nottingham or Brazen hit rocks? No where near them. Its far easier to STUFT an Oil rig support vessel when needed. Something like a Stena Inspector… 😉

    • I agree with this statement. Being a retired US Navy sailor even we find ourselves having to make do with what we have till newer ships are built. Part of the problem is financial another is political. Smaller Navies, in comparison with the US, (I mean that as NO INSULT to the UK) just dont have the financial AND political backing to have the sort of Naval Power Projection they need or want. The QE and the Prince of Wales are magnificent ships. It seems to me that the UK Navy is now having to sort of re-learn what they need to do/have to protect their new class of “big deck” carriers. Rest assured the gov’t will EVENTUALLY come to their senses and do the right thing, it’s just going to take some time, and I dare-say money.

  5. The sun is always shining in the offices of UKDJ

    “It should be noted that the point of sea trials is to find issues and rectify them. Things will go wrong as the vessel is essentially a giant prototype and while this isn’t one of those ‘things going wrong’, we remain confident that she’ll pass her trials with flying colours.”

    • Steven could you please stop whinging? Unless you know that she is poorly designed and will not pass with flying colours, you are not in a position to say anything at all.

  6. Per the article, part of the function of the sea trials will (be) “…undertaking weapons trials”. Erm, there are no visible weapons embarked. Please God don’t have them on TV firing a jimpy off the guardrail or something. This ship needs sea ceptor, phalanx and decoys. Given the limited chance of ever embarking a full load of aircraft, it might be wise to fit a strike-length MK 41 VLS. It wouldn’t be a terrible use of space.

    On the escort issue, Mr. Bell is spot on (as usual).

    • It will be Weapon Engineering Trials so things like Radar trial involving aircraft tracking serials, HF comms and VHF comms trials, WEMITT…all good pinky WE stuff.

  7. I would of thought 3 escorts would be enough… one type 45 plus two type 23’s might be supported by other NATO escorts also. That would leave 3 escorts for other duties plus a patrol vessel based in the Falklands and possible RFA ships and one other patrol vessel to carry out lower risk deployments. ( anti piracy and drug running and so on)

    I certainly agree that we need extra escorts in the future though but i do think the RN will just about be able to manage for now. I also think if need be in some crises somewhere the RN could add that extra escort to protect the carrier deployment.

    • It depends on the level of threat but with the T45 as the sole specialist AAW asset it worries me that, if anything were to happen to that, it totally removes the top-tier (Sampson + Aster) AAW defence from the CBG.

      So many people comment about lack of Sea Ceptor in QEC but for me perhaps the even more perplexing thing is, in a £6. billion project, why they couldn’t stretch to Sampson instead of Artisan for the QEC main radar. That would have given some redundancy if there is only a single T45 AAW escort and, being mounted higher than on a T45, would have actually been a more valuable radar in the task force than the one on the T45. Yes, I know there will be AWACS as well but Sampson is by all accounts an amazing piece of kit and adds a whole load of value in terms of tracking and managing intercepts for incoming missiles. I wonder how much more Sampson would have been vs Artisan.

  8. Ah!. Sea Trials. I remember them well on Sirius 51 years ago. Best bit being the turbine blade strength test – going from ahead to astern and back as fast as possible for some 30 minutes . Tiring on the arms but “Such Fun” as us Tiff’s took it in turns in pairs knowing that for once our “Buttons” were safe in the event of a disaster😎

  9. Can we postpone the war , while we work out what is wrong , and please can you allow us to repair our at the moment our one and only Aircraft Carrier…..How crazy is this…..Plus how crazy is it…To not have other aircraft carriers in service , until this one is ready to go….It’s called cover…. If I had been in Command of this ship…I would have blown my top , it’s a warship….It needs to be fit for war…When not , we need back up ( we don’t have )..

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