HMS Queen Elizabeth one step closer to maiden operational deployment

HMS Queen Elizabeth is one step closer to being able to deploy on global operations after completing the first stages of Operational Sea Training.

Over the last few weeks, the Ship’s Company have been put through their paces with simulated fires, floods and responding to battle damage, as well as carrying out warfare training and mission rehearsals.

The Portsmouth-based aircraft carrier has been at sea since late April to prove she will be ready for her maiden operational deployment next year, and the UK can deliver on its commitment to have a Carrier Strike Group ready to deploy from the end of this year.

This latest round of training has made the next big step of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s programme possible – the embarkation of the UK’s operational F35 Lightning jets.

Before the F35s join, the ship will make a planned return alongside at Portsmouth to load essential stores and kit necessary to operate the jets at sea.

The brief stop will see engineers and equipment from 617 Squadron join the carrier, ready for her return to sea and continuation of training and embarkation of the Squadron’s F35 Lightning aircraft.

All appropriate measures have been taken to ensure the health and wellbeing of the crew is protected as additional personnel join HMS Queen Elizabeth. All additional personnel are isolated for 14 days prior to boarding and tested for Coronavirus.

It is a chance for us to put to the test everything we have learnt over the last two years and show our FOST assessors we are ready for anything.

Commander Charlie Guy, Second in Command of HMS Queen Elizabeth

Last week, HMS Queen Elizabeth continued Operational Sea Training under the watchful eyes of the renowned Royal Navy Sea Training experts.

This phase is based on the survivability of a major incident at sea where the ship’s company will have to work together to overcome any emergencies or threats such as significant floods and fires.

Second in Command of HMS Queen Elizabeth Commander Charlie Guy said: “This is the first Basic Sea Training period for a Queen Elizabeth-class carrier. It is a chance for us to put to the test everything we have learnt over the last two years and show our FOST assessors we are ready for anything.”

Preparing for this stage of training saw HMS Queen Elizabeth cleaned, painted and scrubbed and equipment checked from breathing masks for fighting fires to the ship’s sea boat.

It also saw Chinook, Merlin and Wildcat helicopters land and take off from the four-and-half-acre flight deck.

The next stage will see more qualifying training for UK F35 Lightning fighter jet crews, who will be conducting practice Combat Air Patrols from her decks, giving vital experience to the aircrews and ship’s company involved in air operations. 

This period at sea will prepare the ship for further training later in the year with other Royal Navy ships to ensure they are ready to deploy as a task group next year.