June 26 saw the British Royal Navy’s biggest-ever warship, which had been under construction since 2009, put to sea from Rosyth Dockyard, Scotland.
The 70,600-tonnes, 280-metre, electric-motor powered aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth had been constructed, in modular form, at six shipyards in UK, under the overall project management of BAE Systems, with the modules being transported by barge to Rosyth for assembly.
The carrier has a maximum capacity of 70 aircraft, including Merlin, Apache and Chinook helicopters, and from 2018, F-35B fighter bombers. Sensors include the very advanced Artisan 3D search and target acquisition radar, and fixed armament consists of three Phalanx close-in weapon systems, and four remotely controlled 30mm cannon.
Two Almaritec 13.1 metre fast personnel transfer boats, of a new design will be carried, while force protection patrols in harbour, and at anchor, will be provided by a number of Pacific 24 RIBs, including remotely operated versions.
Queen Elizabeth will shortly commence 11 weeks of sea trials, followed by helicopter flying trials. First operational deployment is expected in 2020.
Maritime security expert and columnist, Trevor Hollingsbee was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, Senior Superintendent with the Hong Kong Marine Police, Assistant Secretary for Security in the British Hong Kong Government Security Branch, and Intelligence Analyst in the UK Ministry of Defence. As an independent defence and security analyst he has had some 1,500 articles on maritime security, and geopolitical topics, published in a range of international journals and newspapers. He is an Associate Fellow of the Nautical Institute, and a past Vice-Chairman of the Institute’s Hong Kong branch.