HMS Queen Elizabeth Departs For Training

Cmdr. Nathan Gray RN, Makes the first ever F-35B Lightning II jet take off from HMS Queen Elizabeth. Royal Navy Photo

LONDON (GDC) — Britain’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth departed its Portsmouth base April 29 for training, but only after 800 crews were tested for the new coronavirus, the Royal Navy announced.

The 65,000-ton warship is currently in an isolation period at sea ahead of training off the south coast of England.

The warship is expected to be at sea for up to eight weeks conducting the Flag Officer Sea Training assessment required to certify that HMS Queen Elizabeth is competent to join the fleet for operational tasking. Britain is targeting next year for the ship’s first operational deployment, and the FOST assessment is a key element in achieving that plan.

Training with F-35B fighter jets, simulated battle damage, fires and flood training, and mission rehearsals will be part of the process, the Royal Navy said in a statement. “This will prepare the ship for further training later in the year with other Royal Navy ships to ensure they are ready to deploy as a task group next year,” the service said.

“The continuation of this training has been agreed by senior leaders across defence,” the Royal Navy said in announcing the departure. Speaking to the parliamentary Defence Committee on April 22, Wallace said he was anxious not to repeat the experiences of the U.S. and France.

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