Royal Navy flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth enters Suez Canal for the first time
AIRCRAFT carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has entered the Suez Canal for the first time as she continues with her carrier strike group deployment.
The £3.2bn warship – the largest ever built for the Royal Navy – was pictured sailing through the 120-mile long waterway on her way to the Red Sea.
It is the latest chapter in the 65,000-tonne behemoth’s 26,000-mile voyage to the Far East and back.
Pictured with a number of F-35B stealth jets on her flight deck, the trip down the canal marks the second phase of Queen Elizabeth’s deployment.
In a tweet on HMS Queen Elizabeth’s official Twitter account, a spokesman for the ship said: ‘A hazy day as we pass through the Suez Canal, next the Red Sea and then onto the Indian Ocean. #GlobalBritain.’
The man-made canal in Egypt is one of the world’s busiest and most important shipping routes.
It connects the Mediterranean and the Red seas and separates the African continent from Asia, with billions of pound of international trade passing through every year.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently on her 28-week maiden deployment which will take the Portsmouth-based warship to the Indo-Pacific region.
The carrier is expected to make at least 40 stops during her time at sea, having left the port city of Limassol in Cyprus on Sunday.
The warship’s arrival in the Suez comes as American forces pulled out of Afghanistan in the early hours of the morning.
As previously reported, Queen Elizabeth’s embarked squadron of American and British F-35s have already been earmarked to support any withdrawal of allied troops from Afghanistan, in a move that is set to end a 20-year long mission in the country.
Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth’s sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, is carrying out a first of her own – visiting the British territory of Gibraltar.
The warship, which is fractionally larger than her older sister, has been undertaking flight trials with at sea as she works towards her first operational mission in 2023.
Prince of Wales arrived off the coast of ‘The Rock’ earlier this morning.
‘Hello #Gibraltar. It’s been a fair few years since the name @HMSPWLS has graced your shores. We are looking forward to it,’ the ship announced on its Twitter page.