UK biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the Royal Navy

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Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the Royal Navy
It’s Britain’s biggest warship (Picture: PA)

The commissioning ceremony for Britain’s biggest warship – the HMS Queen Elizabeth – is officially underway.

At 280 metres long and with an estimated half a century working life, the £3,100,000,000 behemoth aircraft carrier is the biggest and most powerful warship ever built by the UK.

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The Queen, Princess Anne and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson are all in Portsmouth to witness the 65,000 tonne vessel being accepted into the Royal Navy.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth currently has a crew of around 700, but this will go up to 1,600 once the full complement of F-35B jets and Crowsnest helicopters are embarked.

Its flight deck is 280 metres long and 70 metres wide – big enough to fit three football pitches.

Onboard there is a huge a medical centre with a 12-bed ward, staffed with GPs, a nurse and medical assistants. There is also a dentist and a dental nurse.

Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the Royal Navy
Royal Navy ratings in the hanger of HMS Queen Elizabeth ahead of her commissioning ceremony (Picture: PA)
Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the Royal Navy
Royal Navy ratings march into the hanger of HMS Queen Elizabeth ahead of her commissioning ceremony (Picture: PA)
Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the Royal Navy
The ceremony is taking place in Portsmouth (Picture: Getty Images)

11.30am: HMS Queen Elizabeth

11.30am: HMS Queen Elizabeth

There are also five gyms on the warship – including a boxing gym – as well as a chapel.

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The most significant part of the ceremony is when the Blue Ensign is pulled down, and the White Ensign is hoisted above the warship.

This signifies that the ship is officially part of the Royal Navy.

Able Seaman Ellie Smith, a 20-year-old sailor from Hull, said she is pleased to have been given the task.

‘This is something to look back on for the rest of our lives and we can say “I was there”, which will be a really good thing to be able to say,’ she said.

Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the Royal Navy
Royal Navy ratings Able Seaman Ellie Smith (left) and Able Seaman Jessica Hewes practice raising the Ensign on the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth (Picture: PA)
Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the Royal Navy
The Blue Ensign is replaced with a White Ensign to signify that the ship is officially part of the Royal Navy (Picture: PA)

Afterwards, the youngest crew member serving on HMS Queen Elizabeth will cut a cake. This honour falls to Steward Callum Hui from Lynton in Devon.

Hui, 17, signed up to the Royal Navy soon after finishing school. He started his basic training in March, passed out in June, and then joined the ship in October.

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‘I am excited to say the least,’ he said. ‘This is my first ship, straight out of training, and just to have the honour of cutting the cake on commissioning day… It is exciting stuff.’

The cake itself has been created by Scottish company 3D Cakes, and took more than 100 hours to make.

It’s a massive edible replica of a ship, which weighs around 150kg and required more than 7kg of flour and 160 eggs to make.

Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the Royal Navy
The cake is a huge edible replica of the battleship (Picture: Getty Images)
Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the Royal Navy
Just like the ship itself, the cake is huge (Picture: PA)
Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the Royal Navy
A cake, made by Warrant Officer Jon Boreham, depicting the Queen at the commissioning ceremony of the Britain’s biggest and most powerful warship HMS Queen Elizabeth (Picture: PA)
Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the Royal Navy
It’s very detailed (Picture: PA)

 

Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the Royal Navy
Royal Navy ratings practice in the hanger of HMS Queen Elizabeth (Picture: PA)

HMS Queen Elizabeth

IN NUMBERS

Ordered: May 2008

Christened: 4 July 2014 in a ceremony by Queen Elizabeth II

Commissioned: 7 December 2017

In service: 2020 (planned)

Home port: Portsmouth

Cost: £3.1bn

Length: 280m (920ft)

Propulsion: 2 x Rolls-Royce Marine gas turbine alternators and four diesel engines

Range: 10,000 nautical miles

Capacity: 1,600

Troops: 250

Sensors and processing system: S1850m long range radar. Ultra Electronics Series 2500 Electro Optical System (EOS)

Armament: 3 x Phalanx CIWS, 4 x 30mm calibre gun, various Miniguns and GPMGs to counter asymmetric threats.

Aircraft carried: Up to 40 

Planned Carrier Air Wing of up to 40 aircraft

F-35B Lightning II

Chinook

Apache AH64

Merlin HM2 and HC4

Wildcat AH1 and HMA2

Merlin Crowsnest AEW

Aviation facilities:

Hangar below deck

Two aircraft lifts

Ski jump

Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the Royal Navy
Commanding officer Captain Jerry Kyd said the ceremony was a ‘major milestone’ (Picture: Getty Images)

Hui will be joined in the cake-cutting by the wife of the commanding officer Captain Jerry Kyd.

Speaking before the ceremony, Captain Kyd described the day as a ‘major milestone’.

‘Building aircraft carriers is not for the fainthearted,’ he said. ‘There are very few countries who can do this around the world.

‘So we should look at our British industry, our designers, all the skills, all the production companies around the country, the shipyards from Devon through to Fife, to the Royal Navy, who have come together to make this happen.

‘We should be really proud as a country. This has been a national endeavour. It has just been fantastic – it is really a culmination of all our hard work.’

Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the Royal Navy
Royal Navy ratings practice in the hanger of HMS Queen Elizabeth (Picture: PA)
Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the Royal Navy
Members of the ship’s company take part in a technical rehearsal in the hanger (Picture: Getty Images)

The aircraft carrier will now be the nation’s flagship. It can be pressed into action for various tasks, such as high-intensity war fighting, or providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

It will also serve as a floating military base for the F-35B stealth fighter jets, which will launch from the deck of the vessel to undertake missions.

Captain Kyd added that hosting the Queen and having her step on board the ship for the ceremony was a ‘complete honour’.

Petty Officer Dean Allen, the chef in charge of cooking the royal lunch agreed, saying that making food for the Queen is an experience that cannot be beaten.

Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the Royal Navy
After the ceremony, the Queen will enjoy a three course lunch (Picture: PA)

After the ceremony, Her Majesty will enjoy a three-course lunch on board the ship.

‘I don’t think you can go bigger than feeding the Queen… It’s the biggest catering moment of my career,’ the 37-year-old said.

‘The chefs are buzzing – they can’t wait. They have been looking forward to [today] for a long time – the commissioning, and feeding the Queen.’

Apparently the Queen is having a salmon tian for a starter, a double rib of British lamb with a bean cassoulet for main course, and a burnt blood orange tart with poached meringue for dessert.



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