HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy's largest warship, has arrived home in Portsmouth

Rebecca Smith
Naval Aircraft Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth Arrives Home To Portsmouth
The massive ship began sea trials in June (Source: MoD)

The Royal Navy's largest ever warship, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, sailed into her home port of Portsmouth for the first time today.

Sailors lined the flight deck while the ship was greeted with a flypast from the Fleet Air Arm, including Wildcat and Merlin helicopters and Hawk jets.

At 280m, the ship is longer than the Houses of Parliament (265m), and it weighs a mammoth 65,000 tonnes.

Read more: Photos: Britain's largest ever warship is due to set sail today

Setting sail: HMS Queen Elizabeth in all her glory

(Click or tap on the images to see them in full screen)

The aircraft carrier, which has taken eight years to build, will be able to operate with a crew of 1,000 and 40 aircraft once in full service. It has been undergoing sea trials since setting sale from Fife, where it was built, in June.

Defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

Today we welcome our mighty new warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth to her home for the very first time. She is Britain’s statement to the world: a demonstration of British military power and our commitment to a bigger global role.

The thousands of people across the UK who have played a part in building her and her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, should be immensely proud as our future flagship enters Portsmouth.

When she enters service she will help keep Britain safe at a time of increased threats, able to fill multiple roles from providing air power anywhere at any time to fight future campaigns, supporting allies or delivering humanitarian aid.

HMS Queen Elizabeth will now go through the next set of preparations, which Fallon said will mean "the return of Britain's carrier strike ability".

The ship will berth at the Princess Royal Jetty in Portsmouth, while the second new aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, will be officially named in a ceremony next month.

Captain Jerry Kyd, the commanding officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth, said the carrier and her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, "will be powerful symbols of Britain's outward facing global character and ambition".

In numbers: HMS Queen Elizabeth

  • The Royal Navy's largest ever surface warship
  • £3.1bn cost
  • Weighs 65,000 tonnes
  • Made up of 17m parts
  • Top speed is upwards of 25 knots
  • Flight deck is 70m wide and 280m long

Read more: Babcock sails into preferred bidder status in Royal Navy deal worth £360m

Related articles