HMS Queen Elizabeth has sailed to conduct further trials ahead of her first visit to the United States later this year.
The second phase of helicopter trials is expected to involve Apache and Wildcat helicopters.
She has been alongside at Portsmouth Naval Base for a 13-week support period, during which time BAE Systems’ teams have been working hard to upgrade her systems and carry out planned maintenance tasks.
They will continue to upgrade her capabilities during this latest sea trial period, as well as testing those that have already been installed, ensuring the ship is ready to travel to the United States later this year for fixed wing trials with her fast jets.
BAE Systems’ Dean Kimber, Head of QEC Class Output Management, said:
“Thirty people from our Maritime Services business will be onboard the ship to continue the work we’ve been doing for a number of weeks while she’s been alongside. Their hard work will directly help get her ready for flight trials in the United States later this year, so it’s an exciting time for all of us in Portsmouth.
Everyone at Portsmouth Naval Base has pulled together to complete this work– our team, our industry partners, the ship’s company and the Ministry of Defence – and without this Team Portsmouth approach we wouldn’t have been able to achieve everything we have.”
Since she was commissioned by Her Majesty in December last year, BAE Systems teams have been carrying out a number of tasks that include painting the non-slip coating on sections of her deck – something which will be done in stages every time she’s alongside for planned maintenance periods – as well as installing her new funnel badges.
BAE Systems teams have also upgraded the capabilities that will allow her to integrate with the new aircraft and have put in place the infrastructure that will allow the Phalanx close-in weapons system to be installed and set to work. According to a release:
“Our teams have even doubled the size of the Junior Rates’ Scullery, having identified early in the build process that it would need to be bigger to cope with demand. Having the ship alongside for the first part of 2018 has allowed that work to take place, including the installation of a new dishwasher system that uses a conveyor system to do the washing up more efficiently.”