Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth becomes Fleet Flagship

AIRCRAFT carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has become the Fleet Flagship of the Royal Navy.

By Millie Salkeld
Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 6:07 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 6:13 pm

The ship, based in Portsmouth, assumed the role at 1.30pm today with Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Jerry Kyd on the carrier to mark the transfer of the role from HMS Albion.

The First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, said: ‘The position of Fleet Flagship is a symbol of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s importance to the nation, not just in restoring our carrier strike capability, but as a rolling statement of British commitment to global security, prosperity and trade.

‘It’s right that we bestow such a historic title now. In the coming months HMS Queen Elizabeth will lead the most ambitious Royal Navy deployment in decades. She will be a focal point as we look forward to an extraordinary year.’

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HMS Queen Elizabeth Picture: LPhot Belinda Alker

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Last week it was announced US Navy warship, Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS The Sullivans, anda squadron of US Marine Corps F-35 stealth jets will join the aircraft carrier during her first operational strike group when she sets sail from Portsmouth in May.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, confirmed last year that HMS Queen Elizabeth will be at the centre of a Carrier Strike Group deployment to the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and East Asia. She will embark F-35B from 617 Squadron, Royal Navy Merlin helicopters, and be escorted and supported by Royal Navy Type 45 destroyers, Type 23 frigates and support ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

The strike group are due to spend time developing collective war-fighting skills when NATO navies gather for exercise Strike Warrior off Scotland during the spring, before departing for the Mediterranean.

Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd RN on the left with the Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth, Captain Angus Essenhigh RN on the right, on the bridge. HMS Queen Elizabeth today assumed the role of Fleet Flagship.

Commanding Officer, Captain Angus Essenhigh, said: ‘It is a fantastic privilege for Queen Elizabeth to be made the Fleet Flagship as we prepare to sail at the heart of UK’s very high readiness Carrier Strike Group.

‘We look forward to doing the nation proud as we deploy on operations for the first time.’

Assault ship HMS Albion had been flagship since March 2018.

CO of HMS Queen Elizabeth, Captain Angus Essenhigh RN on the left with the Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd on the flightdeck. HMS Queen Elizabeth today assumed the role of Fleet Flagship as the Royal Navy.

Commanding Officer of HMS Albion, Captain Simon Kelly, added: ‘While it is with some sadness that we hand over the responsibility to HMS Queen Elizabeth, we are proud to be part of the transfer which marks a new era for the Royal Navy and the nation.’

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