The British Royal Navy is building two new huge aircraft carriers, both 919 feet long. The HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of the two carriers under construction in Scotland, is on schedule to begin harbor trials next year and fleet operations in 2020. HMS Queen Elizabeth is one of the largest surface warships ever constructed for the UK.
The 65,000-tonne Queen Elizabeth class carrier will be the largest ship ever in the navy and at the forefront of Britain’s ability to project military power. Aircraft carrier weighs 72,000 tons and is 932 ft long, part of a £6.2billion international project. Covering an area the size of 10 football pitches, the depot will be capable of holding 15,000 pallets of medical, mail and naval stores, as well as accommodating the sailors and civilians who will look after the ships.
A second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, is still under construction in Rosyth. Each carrier can deploy up to 36 Lightning II aircraft - but Britain will have only one squadron of F-35s to fly off HMS Queen Elizabeth - about 16 jets - when it enters service in 2020. By 2023, the Ministry of Defence has committed to having 24 of the jets in service - which will be tasked with obliterating UK enemies with laser-guided missiles and bombs. As a result, the US are expected to make use of the carrier with their aircraft - as may other countries such as Italy who eventually buy the jets.
Captain Jerry Kyd said the Queen Elizabeth will be tasked with "protecting British maritime power around the world wherever the government needs it". He said maritime warfare has "changed very little" since the Battle of Jutland, 100 years ago, when Royal Navy battle cruisers set out to enforce a British blockade during the First World War. The carrier, along with its sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, is part of a £6.2billion project to allow the UK to help other nations "police the world". Captain said: "It is about stopping wars rather than starting them. If someone does want to start a war I think they might think twice if they see one of these ships coming over the horizon". "We have never seen these ships before. It will change the way the navy does its business", he added.