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Images obtained by the UK Defence Journal show the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth just about finished with the vessel planned to sail on sea trials next month.

The cover image of this article shows the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth after a ‘FOD Plod’. FOD or Foreign Object Damage, is where small items left on the deck could damage an aircraft or a person once the carrier starts flying operations. A FOD Plod is where the personnel line out on the flight deck, and slowly work from one end to the other, picking up everything that they can find.

This was just an exercise as HMS Queen Elizabeth has not gone to sea yet, but in a very short amount of time she will be operating out at sea with rotary wing aircraft.

Other images show the ships company starting to move their belongings on to the ship in advance of Ships Staff Move On Board (SSMOB). SSMOB is a key milestone in the ships generation. The ship is nearly ready to go to sea for the first time. The images were provided courtesy of BAE.

According to Bob Hawkins MBE, First Lieutenant of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth the plan was for the carrier to sail in March, he was quoted here (in mid 2016):

“The build process continues up here in Rosyth. Some of you may have experienced this from the RN side of the house, perhaps in a new class of ship, in a new build. The frustrations are many and varied. Add to this the sheer scale and complexity of the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers and you can imagine that each day brings a new challenge in moving towards Ships Staff Move On Board (SSMOB) then its sequel, Ready For Sea Date (RFSD).

SSMOB is planned for 9 January; RFSD 10 March. Using Andrew St George’s 12 principles of Leadership in the Royal Navy, I subscribe to his No.2, Cheerfulness. A glass half empty as opposed to a glass half full approach is a choice, and I choose to remain optimistic. Draw from that what you will.

Timing of First Entry Portsmouth (FEP) is dependent upon achieving RFSD and the subsequent success of Power and Propulsion Trials. This initial Contractor Sea Trials period we call euphemistically ‘5-1-5’, i.e. from RFSD, five weeks at sea, one week alongside (Invergordon), five weeks at sea, then FEP: a standard package that must be executed in full from whichever start date we achieve.

Clearly, FEP will shift right if RFSD does, or indeed if ‘5-1-5’ needs to be extended to accommodate any set-backs thrown up during the trials.”

Ian Booth, managing director of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance said at the start of 2017:

“Pretty much everything is now installed in the ship and working. We’ve had lots of prior factory testing before putting systems on board and so far, it’s all looking pretty good.

Over the next few months we will finish compartment handovers, and complete work to coat the flight deck. We will also conduct harbour events and acceptance trials for virtually all systems – propulsion, steering, navigation, or communications – here [at Rosyth] before we go.”

There has been a small slip in the timing of the vessel leaving Rosyth for trials, this really isn’t something to worry about as the vessel remains on track to enter service with the Royal Navy on time.

32 COMMENTS

  1. Earlier today there was an article about HMS Severn, Mersey and Clyde being decommissioned. This article appears to have vanished – why?

  2. Why is the new ship Rusty ? And no point in a flight deck if you got No!! Planes overseas
    Aid budget 12billion ????? Yet no matter planes no school lunch no busary got Nurses
    Why why why 12 billion stop giving my money to people to waste

  3. Not sure where it has gone but think it said Severn was decommissioning in 2017 when (I think) Forth comes into service, and the other two in 2019, again when their replacements are ready. Shame that Severn and her sisters couldn’t be used by Border Force to patrol the channel.

  4. It was an honour to have helped in delivering materials and to have helped out any way I can. I’m sure anyone that has been involved will feel some kind of Good feelings in the construction of these mighty Vessels.
    From delivering the first sheets of Steel at Govan Shipyards, to Shipping anything needed to Roysth Port. Shows you what mankind in general can achieve when we all worked together.

    Thank you

  5. She is a true beauty! So much for the sensationalist piece in the Sun regarding paint issues on the deck and an impending huge bill to repaint! Thank goodness for the UK Defence Journal-Navy News hasn’t posted for over a month due to this weird diktaat that prohibits publishing in an Election period!?!? Do any of you know why this seemingly strange situation prevails? Also the Aircraft Carrier Alliance hasn’t posted any News since April and I can’t see any way of contacting them to ask them why they cannot keep us updated

    • Do we know for sure that the Sun article isn’t true. Even if it is true it wouldn’t affect the sea trials, in fact theoretically it wouldn’t even effect commissioning since there will only be rotary operating at first but I would expect they would want to fix it before then.

      I agree that the Sun article was sensationalist though. They seemed to have arrived at a repair cost by assuming the whole deck will need to be redone whereas, if it is true at all, it might simply be a few patches here and there that need to be reapplied because a few bits of the deck surface weren’t prepared properly or something happen during the curing process.

      I’d like to see a proper report and update on the issue, of the type that this site has done in the past to set the record straight on some issue, because that paint always scared me in case something didn’t go as expected. It is, as I understand it, materials science that is pretty untested in real life applications.

      • Agree with your assessment on reasons for paint failure-curing problems on such a huge batch-either in the mix or thanks to Scottish ambient conditions, despite protective covers. Also, the risk of spot contamination in such a big area resulting in adhesion problems is hard to avoid in an exposed surface.

      • The coating was developed for North Sea oil rigs, so the conditions should be no worse than those already experienced.

        • I thought this coating was so challenging and super special because of the heat. I read that F-35B exhaust is over 920C and during takeoff and landing that’s directed downwards so effectively one hell of a monster blowtorch pointing at the deck. Are the heat resistant aspects derived from North Sea oil platform technology? I didn’t know they had to deal with those sorts of temperatures but then I know very little about all that oil & gas stuff.

    • “Do any of you know why this seemingly strange situation prevails? ”

      It’s called purdah. I think the idea is to stop the government putting out a string of good news announcements and initiatives in the weeks before an election in an attempt to buy votes. Note this relates to actual announcements of faxt (e.g. we’re cutting the basic rate of tax to 18% from April 6th) as opposed to manifesto promises that everyone (who’s ever paid any attention) knows are just promises that might well be broken. For stuff like RN news I think it’s reasonable to see why a flurry of “steel cut on latest £x billion pound whatever”, latest whatever goes into service, etc, etc could be created to give a misleading impression of reconstruction of UK forces.

      The flip side though is that purdah is designed to stop announcements that could be beneficial to any candidate so a bad announcement, e.g. a cost over-run or delays on some program, could be beneficial to the opposition so is also blacked out during purdah. It doesn’t stop papers digging up such stories but they won’t be sourced from official government announcements.

      Details and explanation here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purdah_(pre-election_period)

  6. I do hope they put this to good use! Start by taking all the traitors in gov and all the pedophile grooming gangs/ terrorists plus family’s and sink it out in the Atlantic! This will achieve 3 things! No1 government war mongers and sell outs no longer in power! No2 for the children to be safer pedophiles​ must be done away with! No3 terrorists gone will make the country better! Oh and when I say terrorists I don’t just mean the jihad’s type infact lots of stupidly rich elites are supporting terror by funding them! The Brucie bonus? Sinking this ship too will stop government bombing other countries means less risk of radical jihad’s!

  7. Not exactly sure why the MOD doesn’t update during a GE campaign, but it may be that we don’t have a parliament during GE. We have a government as PM is appointed by the Queen and ministers are appointed by the Queen on PM’s recommendation, but there are no MPs after parliament is dissolved. I’ve heard people ask why parliament wasn’t recalled after Manchester attack, but of course there are no MPs to recall as they are no longer MPs, just candidates until elected and eligible to sit in the Commons again. There is a huge difference between parliament in recess and a dissolved parliament.

  8. Its a shame she’s called QE. I find it boring; there’s plenty of other names that would have been more suitable.

    • I think as a monarch who has dedicated her life from her early twenties to our country, has had to smile at butcher dictators because “it has to be done” That there is no more fitting memorial to her than a class of Ships… “Princess” Tony Blair can dodge the war crimes and dodge the de-commssioning of the royal yacht Britannia upon where deals were signed and we showed the world we were still here. He wanted to be president of Europe, we want to be a part of it and of NATO. I’m sure that HMS Queen Elizabeth sailing into any port or stationed off shore, in any country will be accompanied by our entrepreneuriall business ladies and gents.
      And, that, is how we do it 🙂

  9. I recently went north by train, when approaching the bridge and more importantly Inverkeithing I was keen to see what impression QE gave. The tents were off, I had seen Invincible class carriers, No disrespect – great ships but I was not impressed, however when I saw QE I immediately thought OMG she is massive; as a deterrent she is half way there. It is not until you see her does her sheer scale hit home. Like many I have questioned the F35B option and Semi-LHA solution however I cannot be anything but enthusiastic about the potential; a limited number of V-22’s in the AAR role would not go amiss however (you would be forgiven for thinking they were designed for the QE Class).

    • Interesting report and I agree on the V-22.

      “(you would be forgiven for thinking they were designed for the QE Class)”

      Yes, especially since the USA is developing the refueling rig as a ro-ro module. Imagine if Crowsnest or its successor could also be adapted for ro-ro carriage on a V-22 then a single group of embarked V-22 could not only cover AAR but also lift the AEW to 25,000 feet vs 15,000 feet on the Merlin (V-22 cabin pressurisation challenges not withstanding).

      • Agreed without doubt, to a large degree the vision of the QE class to deliver similar effect to the US Super Carrier’s at a fraction of the cost would be a step closer; it would be a true success story – lets hope.

        • What’s the AW607? I know AW609 that I was aware of before but not AW607.

          If you mean AW609 then a big issue there is that it has a far lower payload than V-22 which doesn’t really make it up to the job of AAR and probably not AEW either. Some people argue that even V-22 doesn’t have enough payload capacity to make it a viable AAR aircraft but I’m not sure I agree with than view.

          It would be great if AugustaWestland did have a heavier version, ideally even heavier than V-22 but still carrier deployable, but I’m not aware of anything. I would love to be proved wrong and educated on this matter.

      • Julian – I stand to be corrected but I think ‘Crowsnest’ is a removable system on the Merlin HM2 aircraft given they are also intended for ASW roles as well. I think the issue is the dedicated crew training required for each distinct role and the current lack of people. So I guess it could be equally well installed / removed in an Osprey which would also have to double up in AAR, RAS and troop carrying roles.

        I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on an Osprey launching off a bow ramp …??

        • Yes, it is also my understanding that Crowsnest is ro-ro but it would still need extensive work to re-host as a V-22 ro-ro module (presumably using the same attachment points at the refueling rig) but would definitely be worth looking at very seriously if the V-22 were ever to be embarked on the carriers – that extra 10,000 in service ceiling is compelling.

          One issue is that although the radar itself is ro-ro on Merlin I believe that it uses the same operator consoles as the ASW role so those don’t roll on and off. Any V-22 ro-ro would need to accommodate consoles in some way.

          • Do you know how much additional radar coverage do you get with an extra 10,000 ft?

          • About an extra 50 miles, e.g. for an object at sea level up from 173 miles at 15,000 feet to 223 miles at 25,000 feet (miles not nautical miles). It’s worth having. For example for an aircraft coming in at 600 mph it’s another 5 minutes to classify and plan. As stand-off weapon ranges and speeds increase it becomes even more critical since overall reaction times get reduced.

  10. I was thinking about the bow ramp a while ago, though it was for drone launches rather than Osprey. I was thinking that a drone could act as AWACS for the carriers, relaying radar data to the ship rather than having operators sitting at consoles on a Merlin. The advantage would be a vastly increased patrol time, though launching and recovering would pose problems for Predator type drones due to size and take off/landing requirements.

  11. Great ship but not enough other warships or subs for the QE class to be properly protected or to form a capable carrier battle group not without the RN doing nothing else.
    Also we are so cash strapped nationally that we cannot afford the aircraft numbers needed to truly exploit the QE carriers potential. Needs 36+ F35b + some ospreys as well as Merlins to form a potent TAG.
    in short unless the government wakes up soon to the weakened and perilous state of the royal navy and actually commits to a massive ship building programme. we are heading for a military defeat I am afraid , by an opponent who has invested in their Naval capability eg Russia or China.

  12. You’re right, Mr. Bell. I wrote to the defence procurement minister six years ago to point this out. Royal Navy frigates and destroyers will have to dramatically scale back current responsibilities if they are to escort the carriers. The initial response was that Royal Navy escorts routinely work in task groups protecting large ships. I replied that US carrier battle groups typically consist of at least four surface escorts and an SSN. The minister alluded to a lack of voter enthusiasm for extra defence expenditure. So, it seems the government is putting its head in the sand. Our carriers will not be adequately defended or the existing frigate and destroyer responsibilities will be quietly reduced. It all seems pretty poorly thought-out to me.

  13. I have also flown over the ship and compared to the late Ark Royal the QE is massive. I have a general question regarding operating with other Navies. How easy would it be to convert the ship to STOBAR i.e. Short Take Off and Barrier Recovery? The reason for this is that God forbid an accident on board a conventional carrier prevents deck landing operations. Could the QE class recover traditional fixed wing aircraft?

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