The first commanding officer of the HMS Queen Elizabeth will hand over the reins to his successor while in New York City.
Captain Jerry Kyd will be handing the command of the £3.1bn to Captain Nick Cooke-Priest this week.
The HMS Queen Elizabeth will be hosting national and international events while in New York for the next seven days.
Captain Kyd said: ‘I am delighted and proud to have brought HMS Queen Elizabeth into New York Harbour for the first time.
‘This visit is very symbolic of the intimate relationship the Royal Navy has with the US Navy and Marine Corps and comes at the mid-way point in the F-35 flight trials – we have over 170 embarked US staff at the moment on board in support.'
Captain Cooke-Priest will take the future flagship through her second spell of Lightning trials after taking over the reigns in the coming days.
Speaking about the recent flight tests, Captain Kyd added: ‘It has been a superb effort by everyone across the Integrated Test Force and HMS Queen Elizabeth so far – I could not be more pleased with the team spirit and dynamism shown by all.
“That has delivered a volume of quality data which has put us well ahead of where we expected to be at this stage.
‘I am very grateful to all the Integrated Test Force folk who have been focused, professional and willing to go the extra mile.’
HMS Queen Elizabeth’s historic flight trials will resume with far more achieved in the first three weeks than anticipated.
So far there have been:
- 98 take-offs using the ski ramp
- the first ‘rolling’ landing, bringing the F-35 to a stop on the flight deck instead of the aircraft dropping down vertically
- night flying
- and even some rough weather trials to begin pushing the conditions in which the carrier can operate her air power safely.
The Portsmouth-based carrier was welcomed into the city which never sleeps by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson who hailed the leviathan’s arrival as a key moment in Anglo-American relations.
‘HMS Queen Elizabeth is not just a warship, but a symbol of our enduring commitment to our security, and the security of our allies too,’ he said.
‘This state-of-the-art ship is built on more than 470 years of proud Royal Navy history and her entry into New York Harbor shows that our armed forces are ready to stand by our allies for generations to come.’
With 1,500 men and women aboard – a mix of military and civilians, ship’s company, Royal Marines commandos, test pilots and aviation engineers – the 65,000-tonne warship had just 100 miles to sail from the exercise area off Virginia where she conducted Lightning trials, including the first landing and take-off, to her anchorage in New York.
During the seven days in the Big Apple there will also be time for the ship’s company to relax and explore one of the world’s greatest cities.