HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH: What happens next?

It's official: HMS Queen Elizabeth is part of the Royal Navy.

Thursday, 7th December 2017, 5:26 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th December 2017, 5:30 pm
HMS Queen Elizabeth. Picture: Royal Navy
HMS Queen Elizabeth. Picture: Royal Navy

The 65-tonne carrier was formally commissoned earlier today by Her Majesty the Queen during an historic ceremony.

It has already undergone two sets of sea trials and first arrived into Portsmouth back in August.

But now that HMS Queen Elizabeth is offiically a Royal Navy ship, what happens next?

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Step 1: Aircraft integration

More trials will be carried out at the start of next year to get the carrier ready to ‘go out on the world stage’, according to its commanding officer Captain Jerry Kyd.

The aircraft that will be used on HMS Elizabeth have already been trialled, and in the new year helicopters will be placed on the ship.

They successfully landed on the flight deck during sea trials earlier this year.

Step 2: America-bound

After initial trials the carrier - and her 700-strong crew - will head to America to embark the new F-35B stealth fighter.

Captain Kyd called the new jet the ‘real teeth of the ship’.

Back home it will be tested alongside RFA Tidespring - a new tanker vessel which will travel around the globe refuelling HMS Queen Elizabeth and its fellow supercarrier HMS Prince of Wales.

Step 3: Future deployment

The ship is expected to be deployed for the first time in the early 2020s, and will support various naval missions across the world.