HMS Queen Elizabeth: Portsmouth Royal Navy carrier arrives in western Scotland for the first time
THE Royal Navy’s flagship vessel has ventured up to western Scotland for the very first time.
Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived at the new Northern Ammunition Jetty at Glen Mallan, in Loch Long, today as part of final preparations before her first operational deployment.
The £3bn vessel, which was built at Rosyth in Fife, has spent the last two weeks at sea testing and trialling her latest equipment.
Captain Angus Essenhigh, HMS Queen Elizabeth’s commanding officer, said: ‘We are very proud of the close connection our ship has with Scotland, especially with our affiliated city of Edinburgh.
‘HMS Queen Elizabeth embodies the best of British engineering and craftsmanship, including Scottish shipbuilding, and it is a privilege to return to her birthplace of Scotland.’
This is the first time HMS Queen Elizabeth has visited western Scotland, after she became a familiar sight in the Firth of Forth where she was assembled.
She berthed at the jetty for a routine loading of operational stores.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: ‘HMS Queen Elizabeth has a very proud affiliation to Scotland and it is only fitting she returns before her first operational deployment later this year.
‘The £64m investment into the new Northern Ammunition Jetty reaffirms our commitment to supporting our core capabilities and defence estate across all corners of the UK.’
The 65,000 tonne carrier is due to return to Portsmouth later this month, before being deployed to the Mediterranean Indian Ocean and east Asia later this year, as part of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group.
Due to operational security, local authorities have warned that drones and aircraft must not be flown near the ship.
Scotland Police tweeted: ‘Please be advised that for the duration that HMS Queen Elizabeth is visiting Glen Mallan, no aircraft are allowed to fly within three nautical miles of the ship and below 6,000 feet within the three nautical mile radius.
‘Drones must not fly within three nautical miles either; this includes while the ship is travelling to and from the harbour.
‘If anyone sees someone flying near to the ship, or preparing a drone for flight near the ship, they should contact Police Scotland on 999.’