HMS Queen Elizabeth is back at sea after an extended period at Invergordon where she had minor rectification work completed.
It was confirmed to the UK Defence Journal that HMS Queen Elizabeth was having rectification and repair work done after a propeller issue was identified in sea trials.
Multiple sources, some on board the vessel, have told the UK Defence Journal that an issue has been identified with the prop shaft, specifically that the part of the frame/bracket holding the prop shaft in place is 12mm out of alignment, causing the prop to be slightly at an angle leading to ‘cavitation, excess noise and drag’. It’s likely that this may have been caused by debris as earlier in the month as HMS Queen Elizabeth picked up an item of debris around one of her propeller shafts.
The Aircraft Carrier Alliance confirmed at the time that divers had been investigating the debris around one of the propeller shafts:
“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.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth visited Invergordon for a planned stop to re-fuel and store the ship however she has been alongside longer than planned. We understand that the opportunity has been taken to undertake some engineering work, but sources close to the programme assure us that “this is very much in hand and, whilst I’m aware of the speculation, we expect this to be routinely undertaken and for sea trials to continue successfully.”
We reached out to the ACA for comment who responded by suggesting that this isn’t out of the ordinary:
“HMS Queen Elizabeth is making progress through the sea trials programme, designed to test the full spectrum of her vast and complex systems.
We fully anticipate this will identify areas for improvement that will be addressed at sea, during routine port stops or as part of the planned engineering period.”
Sea trials monitor speed, manoeuvrability, power and propulsion as well as undertaking weapons trials and additional tests on her levels of readiness.