HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed from Portsmouth for a period of operational training, say the Royal Navy.

According to a news release, the aircraft carrier will undergo several weeks of training and assessment with the staff of Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) to ensure the UK can deliver on its commitment to have a Carrier Strike Group ready to deploy from the end of this year.

“While many Royal Navy and Royal Marine personnel from the regular and reserve forces remain ashore supporting the current national fight against COVID-19, the ship’s company of HMS Queen Elizabeth are focused on ensuring that UK Defence remains prepared for future global threats. HMS Queen Elizabeth will be put through her paces in UK waters off the south coast, facing simulated battle damage, fires and floods, as well as warfare training and mission rehearsals.

The training will include more qualifying training for UK F35 Lightning fighter jet crews, who will be conducting practice manoeuvres from her decks, giving vital experience to the aircrews and ship’s company involved in air operations. This training will prepare the ship for further training later in the year with other Royal Navy ships to ensure they are ready to deploy as a task group next year.”

The sailing comes after outbreaks caused issues for the USS Theodore Roosevelt, kept the USS Harry Truman at sea and forced the return of the FS Charles de Gaulle. So what are the Royal Navy doing to keep the crew safe?

The whole of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s ship’s company was tested for COVID-19 prior to her departure.

Stephen Morgan, the Shadow Minister for Defence, the Armed Forces and Defence Procurement, asked via a written question:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what contingency plans are in place to tackle an outbreak of covid-19 on board HMS Queen Elizabeth while that vessel is on exercise.”

According to James Heappey, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, the following actions were taken:

“The whole of HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH’s ship’s company will be tested for COVID-19 prior to her departure for a period of Operational Sea Training. The Royal Navy is well prepared to respond to COVID-19 and has well-rehearsed plans in place for dealing with health matters. Public Health England (PHE) guidelines on social distancing will be followed by the ship’s company where practical. It is acknowledged that it is difficult to socially distance within a warship, and there will be a number of essential operational and training tasks where this will not be possible.

To reduce the risk of transmission, further emphasis is being placed on the cleaning of communal areas and personal hygiene. In addition, members of the ship’s company who are, or whose households are, symptomatic will be isolated before embarking, in accordance with PHE self-isolation guidelines. QUEEN ELIZABETH will sail with a medical facility including a full complement of medical staff and doctors. Any individual who experiences symptoms will be isolated onboard in accordance with PHE guidelines and receive the appropriate medical attention.”

The planned sailing of aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth had been postponed to allow Covid-19 testing for the ship’s company to take place, additionally, the Captain of the vessel also has authority to cut the deployment short, should that be required for health reasons.

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Interesting to see how many test for COVID 19 but show no symptoms – and therefore may not deploy….from my experience this is a real problem – I hope they have around 20-40% of the proposed ships company ”extras” to be able to cover those slots….!


How many false positives or false negatives will they get from these tests?


VERY few false positives (high specificity), but a not-insignificant false negative rate (modest sensitivity) which also depnds on the technique of the swabber.

Blood tests are generally more sensitive, but thats not the current methology for testing.


I had a nose swab test this week. They are done randomly here by testing teams who set up in shopping areas etc and ask if you want a test. No cost, no fee. When they took the swab, It felt like there was a Scaffold pole being rammed into each nostril ! I didnt know my eyes could bulge that much. The result was posted online for me to log in and view 12 hrs later. It was no great surprise to me, possibly due to the amount of internally taken Gin based alcohol based sanitiser I have been… Read more »


It’s the quinine in the tonic. I read that 8 gallons can have a therapeutic effect on Covid.


8 gallons only…I better cut back. I may be in danger of Overdosing!

BV Buster

Don’t blame the chaps, any guys dressed as a 3 bean salad doing the testing only hade a few hours training. They are doing well with little complaints their end, for the most part its their first use operationally.

Emotional words for a 15 year old Chinese kid.



If it did not feel like someone is trying to swab out your eyeballs and scrap off you tonsils, it’s not being done right.

Give it a year and a few swabs later and you will start to avoidance behaviours in the population.

Geoffrey Roach

Brilliant picture. Love to see something similar soon with a real line up of aircraft on her decks.


Couldn’t agree more Geoffrey, A lovely action packed shot.


Thumbs up!


Wishing the crew to keep safe and well.


I saw the USN & USAF did a flypast over New York, to show solidarity with New Yorkers. Would be nice if QE could manage to put an F-35 & a helicopter over New York, if the chance allows.


Over New York and not the UK?


They will be in the South Coast Exercise areas not across the pond.


No mention of any other vessels accompanying her. Unless there’s an Astute accompanying her that obviously wouldn’t be confirmed or denied.


I have seen conflicting reports as to where they will be.


They have FOST onboard so the south coast areas mean they are in helo transfer range abd can play with the Hawks and Falcons doing air defece training.
No doubt they will go into the south western approaches to playbas well