The moment HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Portsmouth next spring will be one that defines a generation.
She is, after all, the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy – and one of the biggest naval vessels the globe has seen.
The 65,000-tonne behemoth is the future flagship of the nation and will be the symbol of British naval power, alongside her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, for 50 years.
But there is still much to be done before she arrives in Portsmouth Naval Base in a year’s time.
Today The News reports on how the magnificent vessel is inching ever closer to be finished.
And although the exterior of the ship looks almost complete, with finishing touches for the flight deck still to come, there is plenty of work that needs to be tackled before she becomes the leviathan that leads the next generation of the Senior Service’s ships.
But it’s not just the nuts and bolts and state-of-the-art radar systems that are the issue – it’s creating a ship’s company that can use them. Because without the right people for the job Queen Elizabeth is merely 65,000 tonnes of metal. Building work aside, this is arguably the biggest challenge now facing the navy.
The fleet is tackling this, with more than 500 of the aircraft carrier’s 700-strong ship’s company already in Rosyth, getting to grips with the seafaring juggernaut. But it’s a lot of trial and error. After all, the navy has never built or operated a ship of this magnitude.
However, the navy is one of the best institutions in the world when it comes to training, so no doubt by the time the ship comes into full service in 2020, her crew will be a well-oiled machine.
This will be key when it comes to Queen Elizabeth being deployed. She will be an international symbol of safety and security, with the ability to bring the fight to the enemy – wherever they may be. Both the new Queen Elizabeth-class ships will be a welcome addition not just to Portsmouth but to the UK. They’re the next phase of the Royal Navy’s long and illustrious future and one The News can’t wait to see sail into the city.