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As Britain’s largest ever warship, it’s been an anxious and exciting wait for the launch of HMS Queen Elizabeth as it finally left its dockyard in Rosyth to head out for sea trials. The 65,000 ton aircraft carrier squeezed through an exit with only 14 inch clearance on either side.
After nearly a decade-long build, this marks the latest milestone for the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Class carriers, which have cost more than £6 billion pounds, the other being HMS Prince of Wales.
One of the Royal Navy’s warships will be escorting HMS Queen Elizabeth while its commanders try out the North Sea and Moray Firth. Shore-based helicopters will also be on the lookout for any submarines trying to sneak a peek at Britain’s new warship.
1,000 sailors and contractors will be aboard testing the vessel for the next six weeks. 650 doors and hatches on the vessel have been checked for fire safety and to check they are water tight. Multiple crew members have spent hours carrying out training for fires, flooding and overboard personnel.
The Royal Navy had not had an aircraft carrier since 2010 when HMS Ark Royal was scrapped. HMS Queen Elizabeth will not be sent on operations until 2021. The ship will move to its new home in Portsmouth after the summer where trials for planes and helicopters will take place the following summer. The flight deck on the aircraft carrier can carry up to 36 F-35B stealth jump jets.
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