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 ยฐC 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!


  1. 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.

  2. 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 ๐Ÿ™

  3. 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 Marham in 2018, and I am assuming that squadron will start to train on HMS Queen Elizabeth from 2019 onwards.
    But before that there will be a lot of work to be done with reference to the builders and ship trials not to mention the extensive trials for the wide range of helicopters which will operate from her.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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 the extra 13 years or so would have been an absolutely crippling cost, probably enough to have killed off any chance of affording to retain and operate the second carrier, all for the capability of having a few obsolete jets on QE for the first 4 or 5 years of her life.

  9. 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 by it’s self, it probably could do a surge of escorts for a while to protect the carrier.. Will take a while for all of this to come into being, but it will be worth it.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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!!!!!.


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