Royal Navy aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales set for reshuffle in Portsmouth

ROYAL Navy supercarrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is set to depart from Portsmouth tomorrow, mariners in the city have been warned.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 12:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 12:55 pm

The 65,000-tonne giant has been given a window to leave the naval base between 11.15am and midday, the Queen’s Harbour Master has announced.

It comes after the Royal Navy cancelled an earlier departure of the £3.1bn aircraft carrier on Tuesday.

The navy refused to confirm why the trip had been postponed. Speaking to The News on Tuesday evening, a spokeswoman said: ‘HMS Queen Elizabeth did not sail today. This will not affect her training programme.’

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HMS Queen Elizabeth returning pictured returning to Portsmouth after her deployment in America. Her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, is pictured in the background. Photo: Royal Navy

She added: ‘We do not discuss ship’s programmes in detail and all ship’s movements are subject to change.’

Navy sources have not yet officially confirmed whether the vessel will set sail from Portsmouth tomorrow.

An announcement could be made later today or early tomorrow on the Royal Navy’s social media accounts.

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It’s not clear how long the vessel will be at sea for. However, it’s understood the ship, when it does leave, will continue with a work-up that will see her preparing for her first operational deployment in 2021.

These preparations will include flight trials of the F-35 stealth jet in British waters.

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth’s sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, is also scheduled to move from her home at the naval base’s Victory Jetty tomorrow.

If Queen Elizabeth is given the green-light to depart, Prince of Wales will be shifted over to the neighbouring Princess Royal Jetty, where planned maintenance work will continue.

Prince of Wales is expected to leave Portsmouth on her first overseas adventure later this year, where she will sail to Florida.

The 280m giant will carry out her first tests of the new multi-million pound stealth jet.

Her first operational deployment is expected to take place in 2023.