HMS Queen Elizabeth sets off from Portsmouth

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THE Royal Navy’s new carrier has set sail from Portsmouth.

Crowds of people gathered to see the Royal Navy’s new £3bn aircraft carrier depart from her home port for the first time.

Picture: Malcolm Wells

Picture: Malcolm Wells

The HMS Queen Elizabeth left Portsmouth just after 12.45pm.

Around 1,000 people gathered to wave off the 919ft (280m), 65,000-tonne vessel on her month-long deployment at sea.

Clusters of people, some waving Union flags, headed for the Round Tower at the entrance to the harbour and gathered along the seafront to watch in the sun as the ship - capable of carrying 40 aircraft - left the naval base.

She left as planned this afternoon supported by a group of four tugboats until she was out to sea. Bad weather conditions saw her departure delayed from last week.

The carrier is due to spend a month at sea around the south-west of the United Kingdom testing out its radar, communications and other technical equipment, the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA) said.

Tests will also be carried out to see how air across the flight desk will affect aircraft taking off and landing.

Speaking after the ship left the port, Captain Jerry Kyd said: ‘She was stable and strong, which is important for aviation operations from an aircraft carrier flight deck. Very quickly we were able to run her at full power and she performed extremely well.’

The ACA operates the vessel until it is commissioned into the Royal Navy, which is expected to take place by the end of the year.

Tens of thousands of people lined the walls of the harbour in August to welcome the navy’s largest warship for the first time.

She arrived after setting out from Scotland’s Rosyth dockyard in June for initial training and sea tests.

Our video shows clips from our Facebook Live broadcast of the ship’s departure. To watch full footage, see our Facebook page here.