The Royal Navy have released a series of images marking the arrival of aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and an escort vessel into Gibraltar for the first time.

The carrier will be conducting a routine logistics stop having left her home in Portsmouth last week for helicopter trials. Captain Jerry Kyd, the Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth, said:

“It is a great privilege for me to be bringing our new aircraft carrier into Gibraltar for her first ever overseas port visit. This is the perfect stop for HMS Queen Elizabeth as we conduct our flying trials in the waters off the Iberian Peninsula. And our visit also underlines the incredibly rich history and special relationship the Royal Navy and Royal Marines share with Gibraltar.

I am personally very lucky to have visited the Rock many times in my naval career, but well over a quarter of my sailors have not yet experienced what, for the Royal Navy, is something of an iconic run ashore.”

His Excellency the Governor of the territory, Lieutenant General Edward Davis said:

“From the moment Her Majesty appointed me as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Gibraltar I, and no doubt all Gibraltarians, have been eagerly awaiting HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first visit to the Rock.

My eagerness reflects two things. First, my pride in one of the world’s most advanced aircraft carriers as a manifest demonstration of the British Navy’s ambition and resolve to ensure that our nation’s maritime and amphibious capability remains a decisive global force for good. And second, my confidence that HMS Queen Elizabeth’s entry into service will see Gibraltar continuing to prove its vital relevance as a mounting and sustainment base for global Britain’s contribution to international security.

I wish HMS Queen Elizabeth and her crew God speed as they make us all proud to be British.”

Commander Tim Berry, the Commanding Officer of HMS Somerset, said:

“Escorting the largest and most technologically advanced carrier ever built for the Royal Navy past the Rock of Gibraltar is of course a huge privilege.

Importantly, it also brings about a new focus for my ship that is both challenging and exciting. Carrier Strike will undoubtedly play a key role in supporting Britain’s global narrative well into the second half of this century and for myself and my ship’s company to be part of this vision is inspiring and very rewarding.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to start fixed-wing flight trials with three or more F-35Bs off the eastern coast of the US around September this year. A fantastic info-graphic created by SaveTheRoyalNavy can be found here and details the timeline of the programme.

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John Clark

What a wonderful sight, congratulations to the QE crew on the progress so far.


here here….

It even made it onto the BBC – which is almost unbelievable given their lack of support for the military.

Daniele Mandelli

That is one of the best photos I have seen of her. Look at the size of it!


With the chinooks not being designed for maritime activities and the US choosing to use alternative airframes for the marine role, I am curious how much us using them like this will reduce their service life.


Can’t wait to see F35 taking off from her flight deck.

Geoffrey Roach



It looks like we are in danger of getting promoted back to the top division. Well done to everyone involved and some great images of a superb showpiece for British engineering. Cunningham, Nelson and Leach would be proud to see her at the Rock. Now we need a sustainable and modest increase in escorts and 3 more SSNs to ensure the UKs strongest arm is restored to good health. I for one do not want us to be superpower or anything like that but a strong navy for an island trading nation is essential allowing us to support our friends… Read more »


Sadly right now the battle is to stop SSN numbers dropping from 7 to 6 if all the rumours about the 7th Astute being under threat are to be believed. Personally I do believe the rumours but am at least somewhat hopeful that the battle might be won and the build of all 7 go ahead. I wonder whether BAE put in some horrendous cancellation clauses the might make it more expensive to cancel it than build it. I hope so.


The 7th Astute will be built as we already have a large amount of equipment on order. It is more like the MOD and BAE are haggling over the price. Single sourcing works so well doesn’t it.

andrew medcraft

Anyone know where she’s berthed? Not easy to tell from the pics. Is it the South Mole?

Alan Reid

I’m sometimes slightly sceptical about the claims made by supporters of the carrier project; although, in general terms, I’ve always supported the programme.
But even the heart of this dour old Scot burst with pride at the superb photographs of HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Somerset sailing into Gibraltar!
Whatever future challenges hold, good to see our Royal Navy getting back into the top tier of world navies.