Queen Welcomes Royal Navy's Largest Ever Ship into the Fleet
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Dec 07, 2017)
Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth led today’s commissioning ceremonies, which took place inside the ship’s own hangar. Its F-35B s aircraft will follow in the coming years. (RN photo)
Her Majesty The Queen has commissioned the UK’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth into the Royal Navy.

The Queen spoke at a ceremony in Portsmouth’s naval base this morning, attended by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, Chancellor Philip Hammond and military chiefs.

In her role as the ship’s Lady Sponsor Her Majesty addressed guests before the Ship’s Commanding Officer, Captain Jerry Kyd, read the commissioning warrant. The iconic White Ensign was then raised, symbolising the commissioning of the nation’s future flagship into the Royal Navy’s fleet.

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.

“Our new aircraft carrier is the epitome of British design and dexterity, at the core of our efforts to build an Armed Forces fit for the future. For the next half a century both carriers will advance our interests around the globe, providing the most visible symbol of our intent and commitment to protect the UK from intensifying threats, wherever they may come from.”

Having successfully completed her second stage of sea trials off the south coast of England, the carrier is back alongside at her home port of Portsmouth. Over 10,000 people across the UK have contributed to the delivery of the ship under the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.

Completing final build activity and preparing for helicopter trials in the New Year, HMS Queen Elizabeth will head to the United States for initial flight trials off the coast in autumn 2018. There are currently 150 Royal Navy and RAF personnel training in the US on our 13 F-35 jets.

The UK has worked closely on both the F-35 and carrier programmes with the US, our pre-eminent partner within NATO, enabling us to fly aircraft from each other’s ships. Both of the UK’s new carriers will be able to operate alongside NATO and coalition allies.

Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said: “In hoisting the White Ensign from HMS Queen Elizabeth today, Britain has confirmed her place among the world’s great maritime powers in the most majestic and muscular terms.

“The Queen Elizabeth-class carriers will sit at the heart of a modernised and emboldened Royal Navy, capable of projecting power and influence at sea, in the air, over the land and in cyberspace, and offering our nation military and political choice in an uncertain world.

“But our greatest strength of all is the young sailors and marines upon whose shoulders our continued security and prosperity rests. They are starting their careers as a new chapter opens for the Royal Navy - and like all those who have gone before them, they are ready to serve their Queen and Country.”

Both new aircraft carriers will be able to perform a wide range of tasks, from humanitarian and disaster relief to fighting terrorism and high-end warfighting. In what has been termed, ‘the Year of the Royal Navy’ the second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, was named in Rosyth and is structurally complete.

This year the Royal Navy has also had steel cut on the first of the Type 26 frigates and Dreadnought submarines, the launch of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, provisioning for a new class of frigate, the Type 31e, float out of the fourth Astute submarine, HMS Audacious, the naming of two Offshore Patrol Vessels and the arrival of our first two MARS Tankers in the UK.

Last month the Defence Secretary visited HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time while at sea, meeting the crew and thanking them for their work towards UK defence.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, said:

“Congratulations from the Royal Air Force to the Royal Navy on achieving another important milestone in the UK’s Carrier Strike capability. I know the RAF and RN F-35 crews are looking forward to starting to fly from HMS Queen Elizabeth next year.”

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British Aircraft Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth Begins 50 Years of Service
(Source: Thales; issued Dec 07, 2017)
In 2007, the British government ordered two new aircraft carriers. 10 years later the first of these, HMS Queen Elizabeth, entered service. We are now witnessing a landmark moment in the long history of the Royal Navy.

At 280 metres long and with four-acre flight decks, the ships are not only the largest and most powerful warships in UK history but also rank amongst the world’s most capable aircraft carriers. And they are going to be with us for the next 50 years.

In a world of intensifying global threats, we will all rely on HMS Queen Elizabeth and her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, to protect our national and international interests. But while we are all relying on the Royal Navy, the Royal Navy is relying on Thales. That’s nothing new. Thales has been supporting the Royal Navy for 100 years. The ever-deepening relationship can be traced right the way back to 1917, when we began equipping the navy’s submarines with periscopes.

Today, almost every single submarine and surface ship in the fleet uses various combinations of our sonar, radar, communications, electro-optical systems and electronic warfare technology.

What was truly revolutionary was the sheer scale of the project, delivered through a unique partnering relationship between Thales, BAE Systems, Babcock and the UK Ministry of Defence, in an enterprise known as the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.

All hands on deck

As a founding member of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, Thales has been deeply involved in the provision of the radar, communications, power and propulsion systems right from the start.

Competitive instincts were put aside and everyone worked in the best interests of the project; in the best interests of the Royal Navy and of the United Kingdom.

At its peak, the programme directly employed 8,000 people across six sites and a further 3,000 across the supply chain. Working together, members of the Alliance embraced a collective culture of trust, collaboration, innovation and mutual support.

Capability through collaboration

Close collaboration and a spirit of teamwork within the Aircraft Carrier Alliance created a solid foundation for equipping the new carriers with world-class capabilities. Thales and BAE Systems, for example, delivered the long-range S1850M radar, which can track up to 1,000 air targets simultaneously, at a range of around 400 kilometres.

Another radar system, is capable of detecting objects as small as a tennis ball, travelling at three times the speed of sound more than 25 Km away.

A fully integrated communications system provided by Thales is providing everything from on-board WiFi to satellite connectivity, as well as internal ship-wide communications, plus ship-to-ship, ship-to-air and ship-to-shore comms with complete security.

For power, Thales led a sub-alliance to deliver engines, generators and a distribution network which can generate 110 MW of electrical power - enough for a large town.

Both ships are driven by Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines, the most powerful in- service systems in the world. These drive two giant propellers, each weighing 33 tonnes, which can propel the 65,000 tonne carriers at speeds in excess of 25 knots.

The ships will also be protected by Merlin helicopters, one type fitted with the Thales Cerberus mission system and Searchwater radar for airborne early warning and the other with Thales FLASH dipping sonar for detecting enemy submarines.

Sea, air and land. Whatever it takes.

The Queen Elizabeth Class carriers will be used by all three sectors of the UK Armed Forces and are versatile enough to be used for operations ranging from deterrence and conflict, to humanitarian aid and disaster relief, to international influence and diplomacy.

Building her was an enormous achievement which epitomises an ethos of teamwork and a commitment to do ‘whatever it takes’ – a mirror to the values instilled in our armed forces.

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