HMS Queen Elizabeth was due to return for planned maintenance later this week but came home early as a “precautionary measure”.
The issue appears to be relatively minor although that isn’t likely to stop people blowing this out of proportion.
A Royal Navy spokesperson said regarding the issue:
“Following a minor issue with an internal system, the ship’s company were required to remove a small volume of water from the ship. An investigation into the cause is underway. HMS Queen Elizabeth has had a minor issue relating to water from an internal system. At no point was there damage or breach to the hull.
The issue was isolated as soon as possible and all water has now been pumped out.
The ship, which was due to return to Portsmouth for a planned maintenance period later in the week, is now returning earlier than planned. This is a precautionary measure and the cause of the issue is now under investigation.”
Later in the year, 617 Squadron will embark on HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time. The UK jets will conduct Operational Tests, alongside 17 Test and Evaluation Squadron, onboard the carrier in the USA during the WESTLANT 19 deployment, proving their capability at sea.
“It’s great to see our F35B Lightning jets already proving themselves on operations so early in their life cycle, ably demonstrating the fantastic capability these world-leading aircraft offer. This Autumn, our aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth will return to the East Coast of the United States to conduct Operational Trials with our Lightning Force, taking this 5th generation capability to the next level as they prove their ability to operate from the sea.
For decades to come, this exciting new combination of aircraft carriers and F35B Lightnings will provide a potent, globally deployable carrier strike capability, a powerful conventional deterrent and the centrepiece of our country’s expeditionary forces.”
The MoD say that this is vital step on the path to the first Carrier Strike Deployment planned for 2021.