Britain’s Biggest and Most Powerful Aircraft Carrier Floated – Photos and Video

Photo courtesy Royal Navy
Photo courtesy Royal Navy

Britain’s biggest ever warship HMS Queen Elizabeth took to the water for the first time this week as she was floated out of dry dock.

With just two meters to spare on either side of the dry dock, the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier was carefully maneuvered by a flotilla of tugs from the dock at BAE Systems shipyard in Rosyth, near Edinburgh, to a neighboring jetty where she’ll be completed over the next two years. After a two day operation to flood the dry dock, the float out lasted just three hours and came 13 days after Her Majesty the Queen officially named the vessel during a ceremony held July 4.

Photo courtesy Royal Navy
Photo courtesy Royal Navy

Teams will now continue to outfit the HMS Queen Elizabeth and bring her systems to life in preparation for sea trials in 2016. Meanwhile, the dry dock in which she just left will be used for the final assembly of her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, which will begin in September.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth is first ship in the new Queen Elizabeth Class of aircraft carriers, slated to be the biggest and most powerful warships ever constructed for the Royal Navy.

Both ships are being built by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a partnership between the Ministry of Defence, BAE Systems, Babcock and Thales.