Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has commissioned the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, in Portsmouth Naval Base.
The iconic White Ensign was raised symbolising the commissioning of the country’s £3.1bn future flagship Queen Elizabeth-class carrier into the Royal Navy’s fleet.
UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “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.”
Williamson further said that both the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will carry out their operations across the globe.
The two vessels will have the capability to perform several tasks, ranging from humanitarian and disaster relief to fighting terrorism and high-end combat.
The navy vessel returned to its home port of Portsmouth after successfully completing her second stage of sea trials off the south coast of England last month.
HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed for the trials in October.
“The ship is slated to complete its final build activity and prepare for helicopter trials early next year.”
The second phase of tests were carried out to assess the aircraft carrier’s latest mission systems, which include the vessel’s radar and communications systems.
In addition, air flow pattern tests were also conducted to demonstrate how air across the flight deck would affect the taking off and landing of the aircraft on-board.
The ship is slated to complete its final build activity and prepare for helicopter trials early next year.
At the start of quarter three next year, the UK Navy vessel will sail to the US for initial flight trials off the coast.
There are currently 150 Royal Navy and Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel carrying out training in the US on the 13 units of the F-35 fighter jets.