Britain’s most advanced warship ever will arrive in her home dock today for the first time.
The £3 billion HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to arrive in Portsmouth on Wednesday, a day earlier than previously expected, after weather conditions had formerly prevented the exact date from being set.
It is the largest aircraft carrier ever to be built in Britain, and is expected to be the Navy’s flagship craft for at least 50 years.
The 280-metre vessel weighs 65,000 tonnes but can travel up to 500 miles a day.
It was previously forecast to reach its Hampshire base between August 17-22, after setting out from Scotland’s Rosyth dockyard in June.
More than 60 Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines took part in a training exercise aboard the American USS George HW Bush earlier this month, in preparation for the ship’s entry into service.
The carrier will remain without aircraft until flying trials are conducted in the United States next year, with 10 F-35 Lightning II jets and 120 aircrew expected to take part.
Preparations for the ship’s arrival, along with her 700 staff, saw more than 3.2 million cubic metres of sediment removed from Portsmouth harbour to enable her to reach her future docking at Portsmouth Naval Base.
In a statement on August 7, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon heralded the HMS Queen Elizabeth’s impending arrival, and declared that she would be deployed across the seven seas, using her strike power to deter our enemies.
Sir Michael visited the craft for the first time in July, when he hailed the return of big decks and fast jets, and described the large-scale engineering project as great for British industry.
The warship is expected to arrive in Portsmouth shortly after 7am on Wednesday, where it will become the latest in a long line of prestigious ships to be docked in the port.
The Ministry of Defence has stepped up security after an amateur drone pilot managed to land his £300 device on the £3 billion aircraft carrier.
He landed his Parrot Bebop drone on the newly- launched Queen Elizabeth carrier while it was docked at Invergordon in the Cromarty Firth.
It has gone viral, said the drone flier, who asked not to be named.
It is in every country in the world. I have had TV companies and newspapers on to me.
I have had abuse up to my ears. I would just like it to die down.
He declined to comment, when asked if he had highlighted an important gap in security.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence confirmed it is looking into the matter.
We take the security of HMS Queen Elizabeth very seriously, he said.
This incident has been reported to Police Scotland, an investigation is under way and we stepped up our security measures in light of it.