HMS Queen Elizabeth: Major upgrades for navy’s aircraft carrier ahead of sea trials

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AIRCRAFT carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has set sail after weeks of modifications at the naval base.

The supercarrier left Portsmouth Naval Base this morning with 30 engineers from BAE Systems aboard.

HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Portsmouth on Sunday June 10. Picture: Ian Pears

HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Portsmouth on Sunday June 10. Picture: Ian Pears

She will be undergoing further sea trials ahead of her visit to the United States later this year.

During her 13-week stop at the naval base, a number of upgrades were installed by the defence giant.

This included the capabilities that will allow her to integrate with the F-35B Lightning II aircraft once in place. And engineers have put in place the infrastructure that will allow the Phalanx close-in weapons system to be installed.

The Junior Rates’ Scullery has also been doubled in size, including the installation of a new dishwasher system that uses a conveyor system to do the washing up more efficiently.

HMS Queen Elizabeth leaving Portsmouth yesterday     Picture: BAE Systems

HMS Queen Elizabeth leaving Portsmouth yesterday Picture: BAE Systems

Now BAE Systems has announced that further upgrades will be installed during the sea trials.

Testing of those already installed will be carried out, ensuring the ship is ready to travel to the United States for fixed-wing trials with her fast jets that will fly from her four-acre flight deck.

Dean Kimber, head of QEC Class output management at BAE Systems, said that the new upgrades are an exciting prospect for everyone serving on board the ship.

He said: ‘Thirty people from our maritime services business will be on board the ship to continue the work we’ve been doing for a number of weeks while she’s been alongside.

‘Their hard work will directly help get her ready for flight trials in the United States later this year, so it’s an exciting time for all of us in Portsmouth.’

BAE Systems supports and maintains more than half the Royal Navy’s service fleet, including the Type 45 destroyers – and is the support partner for both of the new QE carriers, with HMS Prince of Wales coming to Portsmouth later this year.

Since HMS Queen Elizabeth was commissioned byt he Queen in December, BAE Systems teams have been carrying out a number of tasks that include painting the non-slip coating on sections of her deck and installing new funnel badges.

Mr Kimber added: ‘Everyone at Portsmouth Naval Base has pulled together to complete this work – our team, our industry partners, the ship’s company and the Ministry of Defence – and without this team Portsmouth approach we wouldn’t have been able to achieve everything we have.’