Impressive New Pictures Of HMS Queen Elizabeth As She Sails From Portsmouth

The key stats behind the aircraft carrier and stunning new images

HMS Queen Elizabeth, one of the two most powerful and largest aircraft carriers the Royal Navy has ever possessed, has left her home in Portsmouth to continue preparing for full-readiness operations.

HMS Queen Elizabeth departing Portsmouth for a training exercise after her departure date was postponed due to COVID-19. Credit: BFBS

Pulling out of the city and into the Solent, HMS Queen Elizabeth has been photographed in all her glory as she makes her way to the west coast of Scotland to join Exercise Joint Warrior.

Once there, she will be complemented with F-35 fighter jets from RAF Marham and visiting US F-35 B jets.

The arrival of these aircraft will make HMS Queen Elizabeth the most embarked-upon Navy carrier since HMS Hermes – the Flagship of British forces during the Falklands War in 1982.

HMS Queen Elizabeth leaving Portsmouth with Merlin helicopters on deck 090920 CREDIT PA
HMS Queen Elizabeth leaving Portsmouth with Merlin helicopters on deck. Credit: BFBS

Key Information: HMS Queen Elizabeth

Commanding Officer       

Captain Angus Essenhigh OBE             


280 metres


70 metres (deck)


56 metres


65,000 tonnes


Phalanx – 4,500 rounds per minute

Several 30 mm automated small calibre guns




2 x Rolls-Royce Marine Trent 48,000 hp gas turbine engines

4 x Wärtsilä 38 marine diesel 15,600 hp engines


Rolls-Royce power generator delivering enough energy to power 300,000 kettles


2 x bronze Rolls-Royce propellers at 33 tonnes each, 22 ft diameter       

Top speed                           

30 mph or 25 knots




Big Lizzie

Merlin helicopters on board HMS Queen Elizabeth as she leaves Portsmouth 090920 CREDIT PA
Merlin helicopters on board HMS Queen Elizabeth as she leaves Portsmouth. BFBS

Big Lizzie can boast four galleys, a further four large dining areas and kitchen facilities staffed by up to 40 chefs who can produce, among a culinary array of all sorts, a thousand loaves of bread per day.

This allows HMS Queen Elizabeth to provide enough food for 1,600 personnel for up to 45 days without resupply.

Fitness lovers are furnished with five gyms, a cardio facility, weights room and a boxing ring. There is also a fully furnished medical centre and chapel.

For any ill discipline, a Royal Navy Police Department maintains three prison cells on board HMS Queen Elizabeth.

There has been just one other Royal Navy ship named HMS Queen Elizabeth in the past.

The original Queen Elizabeth, a battleship, launched in 1913 played a role in both the first and second world wars.

In the Great War, Queen Elizabeth was part of the Grand Fleet seeing action in the Dardanelles and was one of the first Royal Navy ships to be powered by oil, not coal.

In World War Two, the battleship saw action at Crete and Alexandria where she was damaged by a human torpedo. After taking repairs, she saw the end of the war out in the Far East taking part in raids on Japanese bases in the Dutch East Indies. The ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was paid off and retired in 1948.

Although HMS Queen Elizabeth is yet to deploy on operations, she has clocked up significant mileage during the three years since her initial sea trials.

Her first outing on June 26, 2017, saw the massive ship manoeuvre under the three Forth bridge crossings before sailing in the open sea off the east coast of Scotland. During this initial trial, HMS Queen Elizabeth accepted her first aircraft, a Merlin helicopter from 829 Naval Air Squadron.

On August 16, 2017, HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived in Portsmouth for the first time and took up berth in the newly named Princess Royal Jetty.

Further sea trials in home waters came next, with a journey to the south west coast of England in November 2017 before returning to Portsmouth in anticipation of her naming ceremony in December.

2018 saw newly named Queen Elizabeth’s operational training step up several gears, which included her first stop off overseas (Gibraltar – February) and amphibious assault trials with Royal Marines from 42 Commando.

In Autumn 2018, HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed across the Atlantic for the first time and completed the first of her training packages with fixed wing aircraft. During this deployment, HMS Queen Elizabeth and her crew visited New York on a planned seven-day visit which also marked the changing of the ship’s command from Commodore Kyd to Captain Nick Cooke-Priest.

2019 saw Queen Elizabeth focus heavily on fixed-wing trials and another changing of the ship’s command. In December, the first launch of an F-35B from her deck occurred in territorial waters near Portsmouth Harbour. The year ended with the ship’s current commander, Captain Angus Essenhigh, taking up his role ahead of the final phase of its preparedness and initial operational deployments.

People wave from the Round Tower as the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Portsmouth Naval Base as it sets sail for flight trials 090920 CREDIT PA
People wave from the Round Tower as the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Portsmouth Naval Base as it sets sail for flight trials. Credit: BFBS

Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to complete Exercise Joint Warrior – an exercise that will see the most aircraft on board a British carrier since HMS Hermes – moving the ship and her crew in touching distance of full operational readiness.

HMS Queen Elizabeth's first operational deployment in scheduled for Spring 2021.