Queen Commissions HMS Queen Elizabeth
On Thursday, the Queen of England commissioned the UK's new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth. She spoke at a ceremony in Portsmouth Naval Base this morning, attended by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson and the nation's military chiefs.
Commanding officer Captain Jerry Kyd read the commissioning warrant and the White Ensign was raised, symbolizing the commissioning of the nation's future flagship. "Today marks the start of a hugely significant chapter for the Royal Navy, and indeed the nation, as the future flagship is commissioned into Her Majesty's fleet. It is an honour to witness the crowning moment of an extraordinarily busy year for the Royal Navy that has seen us name the second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, cut steel on the first Type 26 frigates and launch the National Shipbuilding Strategy," said Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson.
Over 10,000 people across the UK have contributed to the delivery under an alliance structure, which allowed multiple yards to build portions of the ship in blocks. After completing final build activity, HMS Queen Elizabeth will head to the United States for flight trials in autumn 2018.
The Royal Navy is also decommissioning its current flagship, the helicopter carrier / landing platform HMS Ocean, which will free up manpower and resources for the two new carriers. The government of Brazil has authorized its navy to negotiate for the purchase of the Ocean from the British government, and it hopes to complete the transaction by next summer. The 1998-built Ocean is currently on her final deployment, which included significant contributions to the relief effort in the Caribbean in the wake of Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
"The Queen Elizabeth-class carriers will sit at the heart of a modernised and emboldened Royal Navy, capable of projecting power and influence at sea, in the air, over the land and in cyberspace, and offering our nation military and political choice in an uncertain world," said Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff. "But our greatest strength of all is the young sailors and marines upon whose shoulders our continued security and prosperity rests."