HMS Queen Elizabeth is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its arrival in Portsmouth today (Tuesday).
The flagship, which is the largest and most powerful ship the Royal Navy has ever built, made its debut in the Solent five years ago and was officially put into service in December 2017.
HMS Queen Elizabeth has five gyms, a chapel, and a medical center on board, in addition to cutting-edge weaponry and communications systems. She weighs 65,000 tonnes and can travel at speeds of up to 25 knots.
Since her arrival, she has traveled the world on numerous operations and exercises, demonstrating the United Kingdom’s commitment to global leadership and cooperation. In 2019, she supported the NATO task group in Westlant19, a significant milestone for the ship, which for the first time carried Royal Navy and RAF jets. The 5-week exercise, which took place on North America’s east coast, was designed to put the F-35 jets and the carrier’s capabilities through their paces through a series of mission briefs, weapon drops, and other activities.
In 2021, the flagship was at the heart of the Carrier Strike Group, a self-contained force led by the United Kingdom that provided cutting-edge air, surface, and underwater defense. During the seven-month deployment, HMS Queen Elizabeth worked with global allies and partners in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Indian oceans.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is still as busy as ever in between operations. She has received over 1 million hours of contractor support at her home port of Portsmouth Naval Base from companies such as BAE Systems, Babcock, and Thales. They have been crucial in supporting the ship’s maintenance and upgrading capabilities.
She has hosted major international events such as the Atlantic Future Forum, a two-day summit attended by Royal Navy personnel as well as political and business leaders to discuss new ways to combat global insecurity. The official 40th-anniversary commemorations of the Falkland Islands conflict were also held aboard the flagship. The reception was attended by 200 veterans from the Armed Forces, members of the South Atlantic Medal Association, and Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.
His Royal Highness was not the only Prince of Wales present at the event; HMS Queen Elizabeth’s sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, is also docked in Portsmouth. In May 2021, the sister ships sailed together for the first time to finish the Carrier Strike Group exercise. This was a turning point in the history of the Royal Navy.
Over the last five years, HMS Queen Elizabeth has inspired pride not only in the city of Portsmouth but also throughout the United Kingdom and abroad. Over the past five years, her work worldwide has shown how much the UK wants a modern and ready Royal Navy.