HMS Queen Elizabeth visits Canada on deployment’s first port call

The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on September 12 for the ship’s first port call to the city.

HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Halifax, Canada. Photo: Royal Navy

The 65,000-ton warship, the biggest ever built for the Royal Navy, will be joined in harbor by other ships from the UK carrier strike group who are on a deployment called Westlant 19.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group includes destroyer HMS Dragon and the tanker RFA Tideforce.

They will be joined when they return to sea, by frigate HMS Northumberland which is currently taking part in exercise Cutlass Fury, a Canadian forces-led multi-national, joint maritime exercise designed to promote and enhance regional cooperation in the Atlantic, involving 20 ships and 36 aircraft.

The main purpose of Westlant is to conduct operational tests with UK F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jets for the first time, off the east coast of the USA.

The carrier has made Canada her first port of call, since crossing the Atlantic from her home port of Portsmouth.

Welcoming the carrier as she prepares to anchor south-east of George’s Island in Halifax Harbour, Commander of the Maritime Forces Atlantic (COMMARLANT), Rear Admiral Craig Baines, Royal Canadian Navy said: “The Royal Canadian Navy and the sailors of Maritime Forces Atlantic are pleased to welcome and host one of our oldest allies to our home station of Halifax. We recognise that our city has a unique place in the heart of the Royal Navy and this week’s visit represents a meeting of the old and the new – emphasising the Royal Navy’s historical ties to one of Canada’s oldest ports and providing the opportunity for the Royal Navy to showcase their newest capability.