THE biggest warship ever built by the Royal Navy – HMS Queen Elizabeth – is ready to leave Portsmouth.
But the Senior Service has confirmed today the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier won’t be sailing from the city today, contrary to speculation elsewhere.
The mighty warship and her crew are waiting for the perfect moment to leave Portsmouth after their historic homecoming in August.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Navy explained it was a tricky task safely manoeuvring the behemoth out of the city’s narrow harbour entrance.
But she said the plan was for Queen Elizabeth to leave to begin the final part of her sea trials later this week – although no exact date has been finalised yet.
The official said: ‘Following a successful engineering period HMS Queen Elizabeth is in final stages of readiness to undertake the second phase of her sea trials.
‘She will sail from Portsmouth when we can ensure a safe exit. A number of factors will determine when we sail, including the weather conditions in Portsmouth.
‘We plan to sail later this week when we can ensure a safe exit.’
Queen Elizabeth has been alongside at Portsmouth Naval Base for the best part of two months.
While there, an army of engineers has been working on her, making sure she is fit and ready for the next phase of her sea trials.
It came after she successfully completed tests for her speed, manoeuvrability and power, which began in June.
It is expected that flying trials with the new F-35B stealth jet will take place off the American coast next year.
The aircraft carrier is the first of the two Queen Elizabeth-class of warships which will be based in Portsmouth. Her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales was officially named last month.
Queen Elizabeth is due to come into service in the early 2020s.
She will be capable of both high-intensity war-fighting and humanitarian missions.
As previously reported, an estimated £1bn boost is expected to bolster Portsmouth’s economy during the 50-year lifespan of the both the carriers, Portsmouth City Council boss Councillor Donna Jones has claimed.
Queen Elizabeth’s arrival has already seen a surge in visitors coming to the city, supporting businesses across the area.