WATCH: HMS Queen Elizabeth heads to sea

HMS Queen Elizabeth departed from the Cromarty Firth today to continue sea trials.

Sea trials monitor speed, manoeuvrability, power and propulsion as well as undertaking weapons trials and additional tests on her levels of readiness.

Sea trials were planned beginning in March 2017 but minor technical issues delayed her sea trials until the end of June. Prior to the ship’s departure from Rosyth, an extensive survey was carried out of the Firth of Forth by HMS Gleaner and 42 Regiment, Royal Engineers to gather information on the tides, the depth of the river bed, and the height of the three river crossings (Forth Bridge, Forth Road Bridge, Queensferry Crossing). This was necessary as the most recent data available was 60 years old.

HMS Queen Elizabeth had her first stopover at Invergordon, where the ship was fuelled and provisioned, and where inspections of the hull were carried out.

Following this initial period, HMS Queen Elizabeth will return to Rosyth for further testing and maintenance before heading back to sea for a second stage which aims to test her Mission Systems. She will transit to her home port of Portsmouth Naval Base to be handed over to the Royal Navy later this year.


  1. HMS Prince of Wales to be officially named on the 8th of September.
    F35b’s undergoing further tests from the Ski Jump in the States.

  2. Watching HMS Queen Elizabeth on the water instead of CGI for years is an awesome sight. I wish they would just add Sea Ceptor though.

    • Yup! Totally agree. We have 4 acres of space to play with so find a spot! Sadly, we all know Sea Ceptor will never be added. Defence done the British way – on the cheap!

      • No, “on the cheap” would have been building an “Ocean plus” which some people were seriously advocating.

  3. I have to say this is a very impressive ship.

    Just keeps getting better every time I see it.

    Great job for those involved.

  4. I have a question that I am wondering if anyone knows the answer to.

    If an F35c can take off normally via a ski jump – would it be possible to have only arresting wires linked to some sort of piston that can be reset mechanically.

    or to put it another way – can we get by without catapults but have something to help landings which seem to be the major issue with carriers.

    It does seem that if we could do something with landings then we could go for the C variant and make both the airforce and the navy happy

    • There is no space for wires or any sort of mechanism. Flight Deck is effectively deck 1, the one bellow is deck 2 and all the way to the hull deck 9.
      There is no space or any form of cavity between Flight deck and deck 2 (one bellow the flight deck). The flight deck is effectively the ceiling of deck 2. The thickness of the steel on the flight deck is just above an inch, not to mention all the supporting beams on deck 2.
      So….ain’t going to happen.

      • Audi – Not quite true. I understand the ships have been passively engineered for later fitting of CATOBAR.

        And basically if we wanted to fit Arrester rams would fit them. Its what engineers do

        • Chris,
          Unless you are one of the navel architects who have designed her I don’t know how you “understand” this? I’ve worked on her for just short of 5 years and let me assure you that in her current build she doesn’t have the engineering base for CATOBAR. If you are so well inform you should know that one of the component on CATOBAR system is “arrestor wires” The wires obviously need to be “fixed” to pulley mechanism to be effective. There is NO SPACE anywhere on the catwalks, flight deck or on deck 2 that this can be done. The only anchor points on flight deck are the link plates (4400 of them) that are used for latching down aircraft, choppers, tractor plants etc . After all of this there is not a single element like pressure tanks for example that can hold the steam needed for CATOBAR launching system, I am not even going to mention that the deck is FLAT, no runners, no “holes” flat as a pancake.
          The bottom line: Is it possible for CATOBAR to be fixed..I would say yes it is but only if you take the whole deck out and engineering the ship all over again. However this is highly unlikely. It took BAE, Thales and Babcock just short of 10 years to put her on sea trails. I can’t even imagine how long it will take to be re fitted for CATOBAR…. yes the above statement is correct…the first steel was cut in November 2008…..Took Elon Musk half this time to build a space ship and to launch it successfully…..

    • Pacman27 -What you are suggesting is what the Russians and by implication the Indians do on their carriers. Su-33s and later MiG 29s use the ramp to take off and an arresting gear to recover. And they are pretty big and lethal aircraft.

      Have to say while I think the QEs are fabulous ships the way the Russians crafted their bow and ramp is a masterpiece

  5. Chris,

    I agree on the bow statement -thing of beauty.


    Thanks for the info – have to say I am shocked at this as it has always been stated that these vessels can be retrofitted with “Cats and Traps” and to take this further the ski jump on these carriers does seem to be an add-on that could easily be removed to accommodate a move to assisted launch and recovery.

    Its a pity if this is the case – another missed opportunity.


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