HMS Queen Elizabeth Portsmouth

The UK's biggest warship will not sail from her home port today because of poor weather.

It was announced HMS Queen Elizabeth was to set sail this week to begin the second phase of sea trials.

The aircraft carrier appears on the Queen's Harbour Master's shipping movements for Portsmouth Harbour at 15:00 BST.

But the 919ft (280m), 65-000 tonne vessel has delayed its exit because of the weather conditions, and now plans to sail later this week.

Queens Harbour Master

Speaking to Forces News, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said that the departure "hasn't been postponed" and that the carrier will leave as soon as the weather permits.

A spokeswoman for the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA), which operates the vessel until it is commissioned into the Navy, said: "Following a successful engineering period, HMS Queen Elizabeth is in final stages of readiness to undertake the second phase of her sea trials.

"She will sail from Portsmouth when we can ensure a safe exit. A number of factors will determine when we sail, including the weather conditions in Portsmouth.

"We plan to sail later this week when we can ensure a safe exit."

Queen Elizabeth underwent tests for her speed, maneuverability and power, with the carrier's overall readiness also assessed.

The carrier is the first of the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers, along with HMS Prince of Wales, which was officially named last month.


Flying trials with helicopters and the F-35B Lightning II will start in 2018.

During her estimated 50-year working life, HMS Queen Elizabeth could be pressed into action for various work such as high-intensity warfighting or providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief anywhere in the world.

HMS Queen Elizabeth

HMS Queen Elizabeth can be thought of as a base like RAF Marham at sea and could carry up to 72 aircraft at maximum capacity. 

The carrier has been subject to criticism due to its computer system, which reportedly runs on the same operating system that was hit by a cyber attack in May, and to its security measures, which were challenged after an unauthorised drone landed on her dock.

HMS Queen Elizabeth

The Key Numbers:

  • The project to build HMS Queen Elizabeth and sister ship HMS Prince of Wales cost more than £6 billion.
  • The aircraft carrier weighs 65,000 tonnes and has a top speed of 25 knots.
  • Its flight deck is 280 metres long and 70 metres wide - enough space for three football pitches.
  • The ship is the second in the Royal Navy to be named Queen Elizabeth.
  • The ship will have a crew of around 700, increasing to 1,600 when a full complement of F-35 jets and Crowsnest helicopters are embarked.
  • There are 364,000 metres of pipes inside the ship.
  • Both HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales will keep 45 days' worth of food in its stores.
  • The entire Ship's Company of 700 can be served a meal within 90 minutes - 45 minutes when at action station.
  • Leaving the Rosyth dock was among the most difficult manoeuvres in the sea trials, with just 50cm between the bottom of the ship and the seabed in the port.