Published 17 March 2021
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HMS Queen Elizabeth stopped off at Glen Mallan, Scotland, as part of final preparations for her first operational deployment.
Sailing in along the Firth of Clyde, the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier has spent the last two weeks at sea testing and trialling her latest equipment, before berthing at the new Northern Ammunition Jetty operated by DE&S for a routine on-load of operational stores.
The Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship is the first Navy vessel to visit the new £64-million facility, built by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).
Operated by DE&S through Defence Munitions, the jetty is specifically designed to support the surface fleet, allowing them to continue entering and berthing at Glen Mallan.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
“HMS Queen Elizabeth has a very proud affiliation to Scotland and it is only fitting she returns before her first operational deployment later this year.”
Mr Wallace added: “The £64m investment into the new Northern Ammunition Jetty reaffirms our commitment to supporting our core capabilities and defence estate across all corners of the UK.”
DIO project works undertaken include the installation of four new navigational aids to ensure safe passage through the confined waterway in Loch Long, two new modular fender spacer units that move with the tide to prevent the aircraft carrier flight deck from coming into contact with the jetty, and the installation of dolphin mooring points to ensure the aircraft can be securely berthed.
This is the first time HMS Queen Elizabeth has visited western Scotland, after she initially became a familiar sight on the River Forth where she was assembled.
Captain Angus Essenhigh, HMS Queen Elizabeth Commanding Officer, said: “We are very proud of the close connection our ship has with Scotland, especially with our affiliated city of Edinburgh.
“HMS Queen Elizabeth embodies the best of British engineering and craftsmanship, including Scottish shipbuilding, and it is a privilege to return to her birthplace of Scotland.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest and most powerful vessel ever constructed for the Royal Navy. Weighing 65,000 tonnes, she is capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft and is primarily used to launch the F35B Lightning II fighter jets.
She is due to sail for Portsmouth at the end of the month and will deploy to the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and East Asia later this year, as part of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group.