Images of the flight deck have been released by the Royal Navy showing the rapid progress of HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Specialist teams have also been developing a protective coating using a combination of aluminium and titanium in order for the deck to withstand temperatures of up to 1,500 °C and is expected to provide protection through the 50-year life of the carriers.

Crown Copyright 2016.

The specialist thermal coating is being applied to sections of the vast flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth. Approximately 2,000 square metres of the 19,000 square metre flight deck will be coated, with the work due to be completed prior to sea trials in early 2017.

Crown Copyright 2016.

Ian Booth, managing director of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, said:

“There is incredible momentum behind the programme to prepare HMS Queen Elizabeth for sea trials and integrate the F-35B Lightning II aircraft. Working with experts in the UK, we have developed a unique coating to provide the necessary protection to the flight deck of the aircraft carriers and this will ensure they can deliver the UK’s carrier strike capability for the next fifty years.”

For the original images and for additional updates, please follow the twitter account of HMS Queen Elizabeth!

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Dave Powell

Upgraded harriers would look great on here

Adam Hicken

Not really practical though

Dave Powell

Better than nothing

Daniel Adams

Why would It need a massively outdated aircraft when the ships not ready? The F35b will be in service by the time she is ready for flight trials.

andy reeves9

its amazing the dreadnaught was built in one year, at pompey dockyard the length of time these carriers have taken to build is a disgrace.

I think we can all agree that it’s been a long time coming, but once it’s all set up it’s going to be great.

UK Defence Journal

Nothing? Aside from F-35, Apache, Chinook, Wildcat and Merlin you mean?

Chris Power

Yes, absolutely what we need is a ground attack aircraft designed in the early 80’s

James Bass Pulsebass

always one person has to spoil it

James Bass Pulsebass

Let me guess .. Naval typhoons ?

Chris Pyke

Chris Power. That’s funny ..hahaa

Kev Turnbull

Harriers! Thats hilarious!!

David Anthony Simpson

Dave Powell – please join Planet Earth.

andy reeves9

can i come too?

David Anthony Simpson

And just how much do you think that would cost and where would they come from? Complete codswallop…

andy reeves9

this is what you get when you build carriers without CATOBAR systems


Nuclear powered Harriers. And catapults so that it can launch Nimrod.

Phil Jolly

Hopefully V-22 Ospreys?

Martyn Torrontes Smith

Sorry I liked Dave Powell ‘s post…I really did think he was joking. He was joking right?

Willem Moseley

Phil Jolly looking likely, that’s from the inside 😉


Willem Moseley – COD, troop transport or air-to-air refuelling? AEW, although exciting, seems unlikely. Refuelling would be exciting. On-board capability there would be helpful to increase F-35B combat radius.

How many have China built in the last five years……completed? To be honest the length of time this has been ‘under construction’ is the joke.

Roughly? None. They tarted up an old Russian one, though. Bought in 1998, first deck landing 2012, officially in service in 2013.

QE Class contract announced 2007, signed 2008, first steel cut 2009, in service 2017.

Daniel Baxter

The answer to your question is none, China only have 1 aircraft carrier and even that was 70% built by the Soviets. Furthermore, that carrier has been plagued by reliability problems since its launch.

Bloke down the pub

It’s quite possible that USMC Harriers will be early visitors

andy reeves

should have been there anyway the gripen has just achieved an after burner take off from a 45 meter runway, we’ve bought the wrong aircraft(but we already know that)


Looking good. After her first visit to Portsmouth doesn’t she head across the Atlantic pretty early on? Does anyone know when that is scheduled to happen? I’m wondering whether, for symbolic reasons, that might be when the first F-35B to touch down on her deck might be one of our 4 aircraft currently all based in the USA.

andy reeves

we could /shouldhave fitted all 72 of the harriers we sold on board


I hope it is a British F-35 landing on first. An 809 Squadron one would be best but don’t think they stand up until 2020ish so will have to be an RAF aircraft 🙁

Lewis Whyte

Jonathan Gray

Simon Wicksted

Looking forward to seeing it without it scaffolding on.

Pete John Stoneham

Looking awesome.

Graeme Robertson

Good to see her in service

Steve Barnett


Barış Yerli

George Daniel

Daniel M. Swain


David Anthony Simpson

Actually from the 1960s!

Ian Harvey

Can’t wait to see her deployed

Scott David Lowden

Sea trials next year⚓️⚓️⚓️⚓️


As far as I am aware the first UK fighter aircraft which will fly off HMS Queen Elizabeth will be aircraft from 17(Reserve) squadron currently based at Edwards Airforce Base in the US before moving to the US Marine Corps base at Beaufort. 17 squadron operates independently under UK regulations and is the test and evaluation squadron for the UK 35B’s. I believe the first F35B tests will be from late 2018 off the east coast of the US. That has been the plan for a while now. Alongside that there will be the formation of 617 squadron at RAF… Read more »

Mike Day

Camrex laid in the UK climate, it’ll lift within a year….


It isn’t Camrex…


They’ve done this kind of thing before.

David Hume

Now to solve the navy man power crisis and get some people to crew her

David Anthony Simpson

Two thirds of the crew are already mustered at Rodyth. Done early members for PoW are also up there now.

David Hume

Ah I had heard from chaps in that they are struggling massively with manpower and manpower retention. Perhaps crossed wires.

Paul Middleton

I agree David Hume we are struggling at the moment to keep on top of our nato commitments.
We are now calling P200 university training vessels “warships”.
Have a read

David Hume

Sadly we don’t seem to have the surface vessels to even protect the carriers when at sea. Six destroyers and the duke class aren’t enough without slotting her into an American battle group??

Robert Thornhill

We do not have enough planes to do carry a big threat

Willem Moseley

138 on order my friend!

Robert Thornhill

Thank you ,I hope we get the full order as promised

Ian Pears

1 aircraft can be sufficient, the CVF can carry a tailored air group of up to 50. That is a credible force.

I really don’t know why people can post such ignorant comments when so much data on the UK F35 is available everywhere on line.

Keith Kirk

It doesn’t matter how good the ship & it’s aircraft are – will there be sufficient personnel to man it when the time comes. Critical shortages already & getting worse. The RN are already employing US Coastguard engineers to plug gaps!! Pitiful bounties/incentives being offered to retain experienced men but it doesn’t appear to very effective.


Makes me want to join the Navy.

Lee Hoey

I mean just look at it there’s scaffolding an barriers in the way ?

Lee Hoey

As if planes are going to take off on that ramp

David Anthony Simpson


Lee Hoey


James Punt

Shaun Kelly

Kai Humphreys

Just a thought would it be possible for the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers to have additional sister ships for an example HMS Hood (R10) , HMS Ark Royal (R11) , HMS Repulse (R12) and HMS Queen Mary

Simon Bereit

Watched a brilliant YouTube clip of the Ark Royal from the late 60’s. What a ship and the Navy Phantoms that flew off them were superb. ?

David Anthony Simpson

Fine yes indeed…. Now let’s join the 21st Century …. 50 years is a long time ago!

Paul Gosnell

well put.

Paul Gosnell

ark Royal. was better

Paul Middleton

Just need to find enough crew to man one yet alone 2.
I doubt the pow will ever go to sea.


I think the marketing campaign once they have this beauty at sea might be rather fantastic.

I can see it attracting a lot of attention. Indeed the QE might help crew her sister!

What tosh. By the way the first PoW crew members are already on site at Rosyth

COOL !!!!!! What an awesome engineering achievement – well done !

John Stevens

The Royal Navy will have enough personnel to man the Queen Elizabeth class carrier, even though there are some personnel shortages. Great to see the pictures of the flight deck!

Greg Holden

I love it…bring back the Harrier, bring back an up to date Harrier, we haven’t got the crew, we haven’t got enough destroyers to protect her, what do we do for ASW?

Please, please, please read up on all the information available before commenting utter rubbish.

John Cullen

I wonder what influences the UKs position in the world…having two of these mighty carriers or being a province of Brussels….VOTE FOR INDEPENDENCE!!

Paul Gosnell

ark Royal any day

John Stevens

I agree with the above comment.. There is too much pessimism about the new carriers, there will be enough crew and aircraft to fly off them in the future. When it comes to the escorts, imagine in the Gulf or in the European theatre, there could be two RN escorts plus two other NATO escorts protecting our carrier, it’s all about working closely with our allies in NATO and other military allies these day’s.. So i don’t think there will be a problem with escort numbers, and if there was a one off type operation that involved the RN working… Read more »

david southern

We’re British! pessimism is a national sport!

Greg Holden

The Harrier / F-35 debate in the 19th century:

“Nice gun,but we’ve no bullets for it”.

“We don’t plan to test fire the gun for another two years so, we don’t need bullets yet”.

“We should have kept those musket balls”.

“But musket balls won’t fit and are now obsolete, we’ve ordered the newly designed bullets and they will be ready when the gun is ready”.

“So, what do we fire from the gun in the meantime”?

“Nothing because the gun isn’t ready”.


Agree. Most here probably wish there was more money for our military but when there isn’t then hard choices have to be made. Selling the Harriers and leaving the gap in STOVL capability saved a lot of money to be spent elsewhere. Sure, if we still had the Harriers it would have been nice to be able to use them for a bit on the QE until F-35B was available but at a huge cost for an obsolete aircraft to fill a few years of capability gap at a huge cost. The cost of having kept them in service for… Read more »


Quick question… Anu idea when POW is likely to be launched? And is there an official day when QE is hoped will journey to Portsmouth? I want to take my children to see her!

Ray Pilley

We have managed without fixed wing naval power for the past 10 years-why? These two Carriers should have had a catapult which could have accommodated the F35A and other European and American aircraft capable of operating from Carriers. The armament for a STOL aircraft is limited.
Another part of the problem is the lead time to get things into service and tailoring the weapons to the changing global scenario. Drone trials on US Carriers have proved very successful and it might be they will play a bigger part.
Unfortunately I do not share the optimism about NATO interoperability.

S.E. on 890 1953.

If Donald Trump cancels the F35B as he has , suggested he may, what use will H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth be without a catapult & arrester system?. All other friendly nations have conventional fixed wing landing & take off facilities & their aircraft will not be able to operate from this ship so it will be the worlds largest helicopter carrier. Useless as a strike carrier!!!!!.