HMS Queen Elizabeth comes home – in pictures

Today is a day to celebrate a great British achievement. HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived safely in her home port for the first time this morning. She remains several years away from becoming fully operational and there are serious challenges ahead, both for the aircraft carriers and the Navy as a whole, but the engineering achievement of her builders and the hard work of her ship’s company should be recognised. Here are some of the best images from her arrival.

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On board USS George HW Bush as she helps the RN back into the aircraft carrier game

The USS George HW Bush deployed from the United States in January and has been in the Arabian Gulf and Mediterranean conducting strikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The Bush is arguably the most potent warship afloat in the world today and her visit to UK waters is very significant for the RN and US relations with Europe. Unlike the 65,000 ton HMS Queen Elizabeth, at 100,000 tons, the Bush is too large to enter Portsmouth and on her arrival in the Solent on 27th July, she anchored in Stokes Bay before hosting media and a VIP evening reception.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth sails from Invergordon, an echo of the Royal Navy’s illustrious past

After nearly sixteen days alongside in Invergordon for replenishment and repairs, HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed last night to resume sea trials. Her time in the port was slightly longer than anticpiated but today’s departure from the Cromarty Firth provides an opportunity to take in some historical perspective.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth Invergordon

HMS Queen Elizabeth’s extended stop at Invergordon explained

HMS Queen Elizabeth has been alongside in the deepwater port of Invergordon for more than 10 days now and there is growing speculation about the reason for her extended stay. The planned stop at Invergordon had always been in the programme to allow refuelling and replenishment after 12 days at sea which included full power trials. Replenishment alone would not require 10 days, so it is clear there are engineering issues involved.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth at sea

HMS Queen Elizabeth – her first week at sea

On the afternoon of 26th June HMS Queen Elizabeth put sea for the first time. This was a significant milestone in modern Royal Navy history. She is the first British aircraft carrier completed since 1985 and the first true aircraft carrier in the world designed to operate 5th generation fixed wing aircraft.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Rosyth

HMS Queen Elizabeth sails for the first time today. Here’s the plan.

This afternoon HMS Queen Elizabeth is due to cast off lines ready to depart from the fitting out berth in Rosyth Dockyard to begin sea trials. Taking the ship out of the basin and down the river Forth will be a complex and delicate evolution.

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HMS Daring

HMS Daring’s deployment at the sharp end. Eventful. Successful. Important.

Today HMS Daring returned to Portsmouth after 9 months away, visiting 12 countries and steaming 50,000 miles. Another warship completing a Gulf tour could be considered somewhat routine for the RN but it demonstrates the Type 45 destroyers are reliable mature platforms, the enduring global reach of the RN and the conclusion to a job well done.

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