Yesterday morning Orkney awoke to the sight of the largest ship to be ever constructed in Britain out in Scapa Flow.
The HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier set sail from Rosyth dockyard on Monday 26th June under the command of Captain Jerry Kyd to embark on her extensive sea trials. The sea trials shall last for six weeks with the aircraft carrier returning to Rosyth dockyard for any adjustments needed before sailing onward to Portsmouth which shall ultimately be it’s home port.
It’s first planes are due next year and it is scheduled to be operational by 2020 with it’s duty of acting as a deterrent coming into force.
The QE aircraft carrier has cost £3.5billion and is big enough to carry 1600 crew of which there are 700 currently and up to 36 Lightning II Stealth Fighters and four helicopters.
The vessel weighs 65.000 tonnes is 932ft in length and 239ft in width, it can reach a top speed of 25 knots and has a range of 10,000 miles and has an estimated working life of 50 years. To put these stats into some context it is the size of 3 football pitches and it’s width is greater than the height of The Scots Monument in Edinburgh, 239ft wide against the Scots Monuments 200ft height.
At £3.5 billion the carrier has ran well over budget and has seen many delays to it’s completion making it’s critics wonder if there is even enough money for the RAF to supply the fighters needed.
Photos by Kenny Armet: