BRITAIN ‘is back in the premier division’ of the globe’s military elite.
That’s the view of a senior navy commander after fresh pictures emerged of the nearly-completed flight deck of the UK’s biggest-ever warship.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is in the final phases of her lengthy construction in Rosyth, Scotland.
The flight deck of the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier, which will sail into her home city of Portsmouth in less than a year, is nearly finished.
For months, it has been covered in large white tents while a space-age heat-resistant metal coating was applied.
Now a captain of one of the UK’s last aircraft carriers, the former HMS Illustrious, has told of his delight at the future flagship’s milestone.
She puts us back in to the first division of major military nations
Vice-Admiral Bob Cooling, president of the HMS Illustrious Association, told The News: ‘All the maritime community are absolutely delighted to see this magnificent ship becoming a reality.
‘She puts us back in to the first division of major military nations.
‘And it is right and proper her home port should be Portsmouth, which has been the home of the navy’s capital ships and air power ships for decades.’
He added the Royal Navy had ‘sorely missed’ carrier capability since Portsmouth-based Illustrious was decommissioned in 2014.
The government revealed earlier this year that the iconic 22,000-tonne warship is to be sold for scrap.
But Vice Adm Cooling said the famed warship’s spirit would ‘live on’ through HMS Queen Elizabeth – whose first captain, Commodore Jerry Kyd, was a former Illustrious commanding officer.
Speaking of Cmdr Kyd, Vice Adm Cooling said: ‘He is an outstanding naval officer and we are very proud that he is now the commanding officer of Queen Elizabeth.
‘Illustrious’s spirit and soul is being maintained by the next generation.
‘A number of Queen Elizabeth’s ship’s company also served on Illustrious.
‘This is fantastic because Queen Elizabeth needs skills these young men and woman learned on Illustrious.’
Queen Elizabeth is due to arrive in Portsmouth in late spring 2017.