The first of two new aircraft carriers for the UK Royal Navy has been officially named Queen Elizabeth by the Queen Elizabeth II in a ceremony in Scotland.
They are being built at the Rosyth dockyard on the Firth of Forth, and at 70,000 tonnes when loaded, will be the largest vessels to ever enter service with the RN. The vessels will embark up to 48 aircraft including F-35B Lightning II fighters and helicopters.
“HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest ship that the Royal Navy has ever had, and is a true demonstration of the UK at its best, with over 10,000 people across the nation working together to deliver her,” UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said in a statement. “This occasion marks a major milestone in regenerating the UK’s aircraft carrier capability, enhancing our ability to project power anywhere in the world.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth is not due to be launched until later this year and, after a fitout, will commence sea trials in 2017 and aircraft trials with F-35Bs in 2018. She will be joined by HMS Prince of Wales in 2020.