At a ceremony in Rosyth, Scotland, Her Majesty The Queen officially named the HMS Queen Elizabeth in front of a crowd including workers who helped build the ship, the Prime Minister and the Defence Secretary.
The naming ceremony concluded with the smashing of a bottle of whisky over the bow of the ship. Whilst traditionally a bottle of champagne is used to smash against the bow, given the carrier’s Scottish roots, it seemed most fitting for a bottle of Islay whisky to be used instead.
Towering at 56 metres and weighing in at 65,000 tonnes, HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest ship ever built for the Royal Navy.
She will be used in a full range of military tasks, from war-fighting to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
Operating with Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jets onboard and having a long-range 3D radar fitted which can track a tennis ball travelling at 2,000 miles per hour, HMS Queen Elizabeth will be versatile enough to carry out these capabilities.
The UK at its best
The construction of HMS Queen Elizabeth has truly been an example of British engineering at its best, sustaining around 8,000 jobs at more than 100 companies across the UK.
Blocks of the ship were manufactured at yards in Devon, Rosyth, Portsmouth, on the Clyde, and on the Tyne, before being assembled in the dockyard at Rosyth.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:
HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest ship that the Royal Navy has ever had, and is a true demonstration of the UK at its best, with over 10,000 people across the nation working together to deliver her.
This occasion marks a major milestone in regenerating the UK’s aircraft carrier capability, enhancing our ability to project power anywhere in the world.
A new dawn
Admiral Sir George Zambellas, the First Sea Lord, said:
The naming of HMS Queen Elizabeth heralds a new dawn, not only for the Royal Navy but also for the delivery of our nation’s security. Her journey ahead will be global, strategic and one of inter-service and international partnership.
Powerful, versatile and credible, this ship will be at the heart of the UK’s defence capability for the next 50 years, but she already stands testament to the best of British shipbuilding, engineering and technology.
Now that she has been named, the dock will be flooded to enable HMS Queen Elizabeth to float for the first time. Work to prepare the ship for sea trials in 2017 and flight trials with Lightning II aircraft in 2018 will continue.
Work is already underway on HMS Queen Elizabeth’s sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, which will start to be assembled in Rosyth dockyard later this year.