Big Lizzie flies the flag: HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives on historic first visit to Canada after Marines practise ship attacks by abseiling onto new £3.2bn aircraft carrier’s deck
- The 65,000-tonne warship arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, this morning after setting sail from Portsmouth
- During the two-week Atlantic crossing, Marines from 42 Commando practised vertical assaults on flight deck
- Accompanying the Queen Elizabeth are destroyer HMS Dragon and the tanker RFA Tideforce
- Aim of the deployment is to conduct tests with the UK’s new F-35B Lightning II Joint Striker fighter jets off the U.S. east coast
The Royal Navy’s £3.1billion new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has arrived in Canada for its historic first visit after Marines practised ship attacks by abseiling onto the ship’s huge flight deck.
The 65,000-tonne warship, the biggest ever built for the Navy, arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, this morning after setting sail from Portsmouth in August.
Canada is the carrier’s first port of call since crossing the Atlantic and the ship is now anchored south-east of George’s Island in Halifax Harbour.
The Royal Navy’s £3.1billion new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has arrived in Canada for its historic first visit. The 65,000-tonne warship, the biggest ever built for the Navy, arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, this morning after setting sail from Portsmouth in August
Canada is the carrier’s first port of call since crossing the Atlantic and the ship is now anchored south-east of George’s Island in Halifax Harbour. Sailors left the ship on the Harbour Queen ferry, with the Theodore Too tugboat nearby
During the Queen Elizabeth’s two-week Atlantic crossing, Royal Marines from 42 Commando practised ‘vertical assaults’ by roping on to the carrier’s huge flight deck from their Merlin helicopters
During the Queen Elizabeth’s two-week Atlantic crossing, Royal Marines from 42 Commando practised ‘vertical assaults’ by roping on to the carrier’s huge flight deck from their Merlin helicopters.
Accompanying the Queen Elizabeth as part of the its strike group are destroyer HMS Dragon and the tanker RFA Tideforce; they are on a deployment named Westlant 19.
Together they are carrying Merlin anti-submarine warfare helicopters and Merlin Mark 4 helicopters, with seven F-35B jets set to join later in the carrier’s deployment.
The deployment’s main purpose is to conduct tests with the UK’s new F-35B Lightning II Joint Striker fighter jets off the east coast of the USA.
Captain Nick Cooke-Priest OBE, who was sacked from his role as Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth
Commodore Mike Utley, commander of the carrier strike group, said: ‘We have a rich maritime history with Canada, and so it is fitting that HMS Queen Elizabeth’s second ever international visit is to Halifax.
‘Our navies are so closely aligned in our approach to the global threats we face.
‘The benefit of training together, such as HMS Northumberland is currently doing during Exercise Cutlass Fury, ensures we are ready to outmatch the testing global maritime threats we face.
‘I know this close relationship will grow and endure for centuries more to come.’
The first ‘rapid refuelling’ of the vessel mid-ocean also took place.
The ship’s deployment comes after its former commander, Commodore Nick Cooke-Priest, was sacked for using his official car at weekends.
He had been the captain of the carrier, also known as ‘Big Lizzie’, since last October.
His sacking prompted a wave of criticism from former military commanders.
Admiral Alan West, former First Sea Lord and security adviser to Gordon Brown, said: ‘Nick Cooke-Priest is a very good officer and highly competent and nice officer and I would be surprised he has done anything dishonest but I don’t know the details so I cannot comment further.’
Inside Britain’s most powerful warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth
At 280 metres long, with a lifespan of half a century and a flight deck of four acres, HMS Queen Elizabeth is Britain’s largest and most powerful warship ever built.
Here are the facts and figures behind the vessel which was officially commissioned into the Royal Navy December 7, 2017
The aircraft carrier weighs 65,000 tonnes and has a top speed in excess of 25 knots.
A number of ship building yards around the country were involved in the build – these include Govan and Scotstoun in Glasgow, Appledore in Devon, Cammell Laird in Birkenhead, Wirral, A&P on the Tyne in Newcastle and Portsmouth.
A total of 10,000 people worked on construction of the ship, made up in sections at yards around the UK and transported to Rosyth, Fife, where it was assembled.
It is the second ship in the Royal Navy to be named Queen Elizabeth.
The ship has a crew of around 700, that will increase to 1,600 when a full complement of F-35B jets and Crowsnest helicopters are embarked.
There are 364,000 metres of pipes inside the ship, and from keel to masthead she measures 56 metres, four metres more than Niagara Falls.
Facilities onboard include a chapel, a medical centre and 12-bed ward, staffed with GPs, a nurse and medical assistants, as well as a dentist and dental nurse.
There are also five gyms on the warship which include a cardiovascular suite, two free weight rooms and a boxing gym.
Regular fitness circuit sessions and sporting activities such as basketball and tug of war are held in the hangar and on the flight deck, with weights and other items stored inside the flight deck ramp.
The Captain of the ship was Nick Cook-Priest
There are five galleys on the warship which is where the food is cooked and those on board eat their meals everyday. This includes two main galleys, the bridge mess and an aircrew refreshment bar.
The distribution network on board manages enough energy to power 30,000 kettles or 5,500 family homes.
Its flight deck is 280 metres long and 70 metres wide, enough space for three football pitches.
The entire ship’s company of 700 can be served a meal within 90 minutes, 45 minutes when at action stations.
Recreational spaces enjoyed by the crew feature televisions and sofas, as well as popular board games including the traditional Royal Navy game of Uckers.
Each of the two aircraft lifts on HMS Queen Elizabeth can move two fighter jets from the hangar to the flight deck in 60 seconds.
The warship has a range of 8,000 to 10,000 nautical miles, and has two propellers – each weighing 33 tonnes and with a combined 80MW output of power – enough to run 1,000 family cars or 50 high speed trains.