HMS Queen Elizabeth: 43 facts you may not know about the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers

Here are 43 facts about the navy’s new carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

HMS Queen Elizabeth recently left her home port of Portsmouth for her maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.

HMS Queen Elizabeth. Picture: Shaun Roster

HMS Queen Elizabeth. Picture: Shaun Roster

Read more: British sailors arrested in US on HMS Queen Elizabeth’s maiden voyage

43. The first HMS Queen Elizabeth was completed 100 years before the launch of the new one

42. The design of the Queen Elizabeth Class began in 1999

41. The Queen Elizabeth Class have their own fitness suites and cinemas

40. Designing, building and delivering the Queen Elizabeth Class involved more than 800 apprentices

39. The take-off ramp is officially called the ‘ski-jump’

38. The UK pioneered the design of aircraft carriers from the first flat top warship in 1918 to the first ‘island’ control tower, ski-jumps and optical landing system 

37. The Queen Elizabeth Class are the first aircraft carriers in the world to incorporate a twin-island design, which separates command of the ship from flying operations and increases survivability 

36. HMS Queen Elizabeth made her first arrival into her own port of Portsmouth in August 2017

35. The Queen Elizabeth Class have a range of 10,000 nautical miles 

34. Each ship has two propellers weighing 33 tonnes each. Together, they are heavier than entire patrol boats operated by the Royal Navy 

33. Shipyards in six cities across the UK helped constructed sections of the aircraft carriers...

32. …while the ‘brains’ of the ships, known as the mission systems, are designed, built and developed in facilities across the UK ranging from a naval base to a field on the Isle of Wight and even within an office block on a busy high street outside London

31. In fact, the design, build and development of the Queen Elizabeth Class has been a truly national effort, involving every region in the UK 

30. The ships have their own bakery, which can produce 1,000 loaves of bread per day, as well as other items such as scones, donuts and éclairs

29. The flight deck is 70 metres wide and 280 metres long, which is enough space for three football pitches 

28. The Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers each weigh 65,000 tonnes

27. Each of the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers is made up of 17 million parts 

26. Every job onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, across industry and the Royal Navy, is open to both men and women

25. The name HMS Queen Elizabeth is both the continuation of an historic Royal Navy name and a tribute to Her Majesty the Queen

24. The Queen Elizabeth Class programme has directly created 2,500 engineering jobs

23. The aircraft lifts are strong enough to carry the entire crew

22. The ships are designed for deployments typically lasting nine months

21. The Queen Elizabeth Class have a 50-year service life. That means the last captain is likely not yet born and there will be crew members whose parents are not yet born 

20. There are over 250,000km of electrical cable & 8,000km of fibreoptic cable inside each of the ships 

19. The Queen Elizabeth Class are designed to accommodate upgrades during their service lift as technology, requirements and threats evolve 

18. There are 364,000 metres of pipes inside each of the ships, which could stretch from Rosyth to Wales 

17. Each carrier has 30mm guns and mini-guns to help counter asymmetric threats 

16. The uniquely designed mast houses communication systems for flying operations and navigation

15. The Phalanx Close-In Weapon System can fire 3,000 rounds per minute at incoming enemy aircraft and missiles 

14. The ships have their own police office and cells

13. There have been more than 20 ships in the Royal Navy named Elizabeth, but only one other called Queen Elizabeth

12. HMS Queen Elizabeth inherits the crest and battle honours of the first HMS Queen Elizabeth

11. The surrender of the German Fleet in WW1 took place onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth in Rosyth, close to where the new HMS Queen Elizabeth was constructed 

10. The Queen Elizabeth Class have a fully integrated waste management system 

9. The Queen Elizabeth Class have their own dentist, pharmacy, surgery and operating theatre

8. Each ship has 15 lifts, which are for aircraft and munitions, as well as people 

7. An F35 Lightning II squadron, which consists of 12 aircraft, will be routinely deployed with the Queen Elizabeth Class

6. The Queen Elizabeth Class can convert sea water into more than 500 tonnes of drinking water each day, which is for both the crew and providing humanitarian relief 

5. HMS Queen Elizabeth carriers the pennant number RO8, while HMS Prince of Wales will be RO9

4. There are 7 departments in each of the ship’s companies

3. The ski-jumps are 6 metres high

2. The Queen Elizabeth Class will be used by all 3 branches of our Armed Forces

1. The first steel was cut in July 2009, exactly five years before HMS Queen Elizabeth was officially named