In photos: HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Gibraltar

HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived in Gibraltar this morning for her first overseas visit. Here are some images of her arrival and operations since leaving Portsmouth last week.

Escorted by HMS Somerset

Looking really purposeful…

Photo: David Sanchez / @86_dmjs

Photo: David Sanchez / @86_dmjs

image: Moses Anahory / @MAnahory

Approaching Gibraltar

Image: @HMSQNLZ

Image: Boatshed Gibraltar / @boatshedgib

“It is a great privilege for me to be bringing our new aircraft carrier into Gibraltar for her first ever overseas port visit. It’s the perfect stop for HMS Queen Elizabeth as we conduct our flying trials in the waters off the Iberian Peninsula. Our visit also underlines the incredibly rich history and special relationship the Royal Navy and Royal Marines share with Gibraltar. I am personally very lucky to have visited the Rock many times in my naval career, but well over a quarter of my sailors have not yet experienced what, for the Royal Navy, is something of an iconic run ashore.” Captain Jerry Kyd, CO, HMS Queen Elizabeth

Wild

Wildcat from HMS Somerset providing force protection lands at RAF Gibraltar. Photo: David Sanchez / @86_dmjs

As the ship made her way in heavy seas towards Gibraltar, the fifty FOST personnel on board have been testing the ship’s company’s response to fire, flood and casualties

While at Anchor in Mounts Bay on the 6th February, Merlins from 820 Naval Air Squadron and MOD Boscombe Down landed on to carry out flying trials.

Merlin goes down on the aft lift

The first 27 Squadron RAF Chinook, configured for trials, was brought down on the aircraft lift and into the hangar. It’s a tight fit but the QEC hangars and lifts were designed to handle this aircraft from the outset. The non-folding rotors are very unlikely to be addressed unless the RN can find some money and persuade the RAF to marinise a few aircraft. The operation looks precarious but the decks have non-slip coating and wheels are locked with brakes and chocks while the aircraft and rotors are secured by multiple lashings. It is interesting to speculate what would be the highest sea state in which this evolution could be safely undertaken.

From this angle it does not look like such a tight fit – with some clearance to spare

The Chinook in the hangar. On the Invincibles and HMS Ocean, this would only have been possible by removing the blades entirely, a lengthy and difficult procedure. Although non-folding blades are far from ideal, with careful arrangement other aircraft can be stowed around or even partially under the rotors in the very large hangar.

4 Merlins and 2 Chinooks in the hangar

4 Merlins and 2 Chinooks in the hangar

Reflecting on the demise of HMS Ocean
One of our submarine orders is missing