Posted on October 20, 2018
HMS Queen Elizabeth Begins New York Visit
The aircraft carrier will be in the city for a week.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to embark on its first operational deployment in 2021(Picture: MOD).
Britain’s biggest warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth has arrived in New York to begin a week-long visit.
The £3.1 billion aircraft arrived in the city with more than 1,000 personnel onboard, anchoring two miles from Manhattan in the Hudson River.
It is the biggest aircraft carrier to sail into New York for half a century.
On Friday, the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson tweeted that the carrier is “a symbol” of the UK’s commitment to security.
Ahead of the visit, Captain Jerry Kyd who is due to hand over command of HMS Queen Elizabeth on Wednesday, addressed the ship’s company for the last time, telling those gathered in the vast hangar to “enjoy New York”.
Thanking and praising them for their efforts, teamwork and professionalism during his stint at the helm, he said HMS Queen Elizabeth is “now the future of the Royal Navy”.
“When the Prince of Wales joins this ship next year, this is a navy we can be really proud of.
“We are back on the world stage, we are back in power projection operations, and we are back in protecting your families, the British people at home and our interests around the world.”
Both HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales have been designed to work alongside the F-35, with the two projects totalling around £14 billion.
The aircraft carrier has conducted 98 take-offs with the F-35B Stealth Lightning II Jets from her decks and most recently the aircraft completed its first ever Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing.
On Tuesday all F-35Bs left the carrier for maintenance and will return for more flight trials at the end of the month.
It means no F-35Bs will be on the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth as she arrives in New York.
Officially accepted into the Royal Navy fleet in December, the ship left her home of Portsmouth Naval Base in Augustand sailed across the Atlantic to begin her maiden four-month deployment, named Westlant 18.
As well as the F-35 flight trials, the Royal Navy said the deployment will also test the ship’s ability to operate with other nations’ ships and aircraft, and a US Navy Osprey helicopter has already landed on deck.
During his speech to the ship’s company, Captain Kyd revealed that in the 17 months since the ship left Rosyth dockyard she has “steamed 32,000 miles”, and has seen nine different aircraft types on the deck.
Captain Kyd further paid thanks to his crew for their hard work and professionalism, adding:
“I know you will serve your new captain well, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart… this ship has been something truly special.”
Gavin Williamson is expected to visit the vessel on Saturday where he will make a speech during a special Trafalgar Day dinner held onboard.
Other dignitaries and special guests, including the head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, will also attend.