UK: First Sea Lord Given a Tour of Queen Elizabeth Class Carrier
The head of the Royal Navy Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, who will be handing over the position next month, has paid a visit to the new Queen Elizabeth class carrier as it takes shape in Rosyth.
The two 65,000 tonne Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers will be the centre piece of the UK’s military capability. They will be based in Portsmouth where significant investment is already underway to prepare for their arrival.
Adm Stanhope, who was shown around the ship by the Senior Naval Officer Captain Simon Petitt, said:
“Apart from 1989, the UK deployed her aircraft carriers in support of our national interests every year between World War II and 2010. Air power from the sea was an important part of our national story last century and it will continue to be a vital part of our national story this century.”
Adm Stanhope was joined on his tour by some of the youngest Royal Naval recruits, keen to see the future of the Service – OC Ben Harvey, aged 18, and Trainee Stewards AB Jordon Whittard, 18, from Leeds and AB Clancey Welford, 18, from Weymouth.
OC Harvey said:
“This was a fantastic opportunity to be one of the first people to see the carrier before it comes into operation. It was also a privilege to meet the First Sea Lord at the end of his long and distinguished career while I am about to embark on my career in the Royal Navy.”
AB Clancey said:
“The QE is absolutely massive, I can’t describe how big it is. It’s completely built on the outside, but the inside is still being fitted out. Being chosen to visit the ship was a complete shock, but I feel really privileged to have been given the chance to look around.”
While AB Whittard added:
“We were given a tour of a minehunter that is in for refit before we were taken on the QE and the difference in scale is amazing. I’d love to get a draft on the QE when she’s finished.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales will be in service for over 50 years and will provide the nations conventional deterrence from 2020 onwards. They will be able to embark a tailored air group of fixed wing and helicopters in order to project maritime power from the sea using the 5th generation Lightning II aircraft.
In addition their vast decks are flexible and reconfigurable, enabling them to conduct a wide range of missions from maritime power projection, amphibious support, Special Force insertion, humanitarian aid or non-combatant evacuation operations in areas where host nation support is unavailable or where access is restricted.
Both ships demonstrate UK Government intent to project its influence globally and the Queen Elizabeth class will be the backbone of the Royal Navy’s Task Groups for many years to come.
Both ships are being constructed in numerous shipyards in one of the most demanding and revolutionary shipbuilding programmes ever undertaken, with the pieces being slotted together in a specially-extended dry dock at Rosyth on the Forth to create two 65,000-ton leviathans.
Naval Today Staff, March 26, 2013; Image: Royal Navy