News story

First Royal Navy crew join HMS Queen Elizabeth

The first sailors to join the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth have arrived in Rosyth to become the key members of the team building the UK's most powerful warship.

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Eight personnel have become the first of many members of the ship’s company to join the ship and will now work alongside the Aircraft Carrier Alliance as the new carrier begins to take shape.

They will learn about the ship and technological advances and feed this in to developing the ship’s organisation, routines and procedures so that she is ready to sail and operate as soon as the yard has finished building her.

Due to be handed over to the Ministry of Defence in 2016, HMS Queen Elizabeth will be huge at 280 metres in length, and will be capable of embarking 40 aircraft - double the current capability of an aircraft carrier.

Led by Captain Simon Petitt, the Royal Navy team will be the first sailors to join an HMS Queen Elizabeth since a Dreadnought Class battleship of the same name, launched in 1913, was decommissioned in 1948.

Captain Petitt said:

I am privileged to be charged with bringing the Royal Navy’s future flagship to life. HMS Queen Elizabeth will be at the heart of the Royal Navy for the next 40 to 50 years and will ensure that we can protect the UK’s interests wherever in the world successive governments wish to send her.

I am proud to be in charge of the small but rapidly growing team and I know that every one of my crew is also proud to be breathing life into this wonderful ship.

Leading Writer Claire Butler said:

Becoming the first member of the Royal Navy to wear this cap tally is a fantastic honour. When she is fully operational HMS Queen Elizabeth will be home to as many as 1,600 men and women.

My main task will be to help set up the routines and procedures that will help the rest of the crew to do their jobs. We are all well-trained and as a team will make sure this warship becomes operational and safeguards the world’s oceans.

HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales are being constructed at shipyards across the UK and assembled at Babcock’s dockyard in Rosyth, Fife.

A massive project, the carriers measure 56 metres from keel to masthead, approximately equivalent to the height of the Niagara Falls, and, at 65,000 tonnes, they weigh three times as much as HMS Illustrious.

The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, said:

Every warship is brought to life by its people and this, the arrival of the first member of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s ship’s company, marks a milestone in bringing this ship into operational service.

The new aircraft carriers are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnering relationship between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence.

Ian Booth, Aircraft Carrier Alliance Programme Director, said:

The fact that the Aircraft Carrier Alliance has been joined by Royal Navy crew shows just how much this programme has developed. Thanks to the hard work of thousands of people all over the UK, HMS Queen Elizabeth is now really taking shape.

Published 3 October 2012