Four years after her debut in the Big Apple, aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth returned to New York to focus on Anglo-American military, political and strategic relations.
The 65,000-tonne warship is the floating venue for the Atlantic Future Forum, a conference that brings together thinkers from defence and beyond to strengthen UK and US bonds.
The vessel dropped anchor within sight of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour. The carrier was welcomed into New York by the UK’s Ambassador to the US, Dame Karen Pierce.
“HMS Queen Elizabeth is not only the United Kingdom’s flagship, but is a fantastic demonstration of the soft power and the close working relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the transatlantic relationship,” she said.
Over the next few days, Captain Ian Feasey, HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Commanding Officer, will welcome hundreds of guests to the ship, which has been transformed into a conference venue for the forum.
AFF Director Stephen Watson said the fifth iteration of the forum would see “political, military and business leaders to address some of the challenging questions of our time.”
The carrier debuted in New York in 2018, again to host the forum, ahead of fast jet trials with F-35 Lightnings.
Now fully operational, the ship led an international carrier group to the Pacific Rim last year.
HMS Queen Elizabeth will return across the Atlantic and spend the remainder of the autumn leading operations and exercises in European waters upon completion of the visit.
The vessel was joined in New York by its frigate escort, HMS Richmond, which sailed up the Hudson River for a berth on Manhattan Island.
Earlier on, the navy informed that HMS Queen Elizabeth will replace its sister vessel HMS Prince of Wales which recently suffered a mechanical issue.
To remind, aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales left Portsmouth on 27 August for “landmark aviation trials” in the US. However, soon after departing Portsmouth Naval Base, the ship experienced a mechanical issue and had to be anchored for further inspection. The officials revealed that “the fault will require repairs which may impact the ship’s program“.