QE-class aircraft carriers

Watch: HMS Queen Elizabeth heads for US, stepping in for damaged sister ship

HMS Queen Elizabeth has left Portsmouth and is now bound for the United States – replacing her damaged sister ship HMS Prince of Wales.

Britain's flagship, ahead of spending the autumn on operations and exercises in European waters, will first deploy to the east coast of the US to undertake parts of HMS Prince of Wales' deployment.

The carrier's departure comes after last week's announcement that HMS Prince of Wales would have to return to Portsmouth after suffering significant damage to both her shaft and propellor.

HMS Prince of Wales had been heading to a deployment in the US but, just 48 hours after the carrier left Portsmouth for the US for exercises, a mechanical fault was discovered.

In an update posted on Twitter, Rear Admiral Steve Moorhouse, Commanding Officer of HMS Prince of Wales, confirmed that the carrier would now probably enter a dry dock for repairs – with HMS Queen Elizabeth heading to the US instead.

The Royal Navy had said a complex repair would be carried out to fix HMS Prince of Wales' failed shaft coupling.

Divers surveyed the damage to the aircraft carrier's starboard propellor and shaft, following her breakdown.

In the coming months, HMS Queen Elizabeth is set to be at the heart of a task group made up of thousands of sailors, up to ten ships, F-35B Lightning jets, helicopter squadrons and Royal Marines Commandos which will operate across Europe this autumn.

HMS Queen Elizabeth's Commanding Officer, Captain Ian Feasey, said: "After a period of maintenance it is fantastic for the fleet flagship to be under way again to conduct operational activity with allies and partners."

The Royal Navy task force will work closely with allies and partners across Europe – from the Baltic all the way south to the Balkans and Black Sea region.

These operations are part of NATO's efforts in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine to safeguard security, stability and prosperity across Europe.

HMS Queen Elizabeth will primarily be focused on operations in the Baltic and work closely with forces from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.