Home Europe HMS Queen Elizabeth on first visit to Scotland ahead of Asia deployment

HMS Queen Elizabeth on first visit to Scotland ahead of Asia deployment

HMS Queen Elizabeth in Scotland
HMS Queen Elizabeth arriving in Glen Mallan. Photo: Royal Navy

Royal Navy aircraft carrier and fleet flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived in Scotland on Monday as part of her final preparations for a maiden operational deployment to Asia Pacific.

Sailing in along the Firth of Clyde, the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier has spent the last two weeks at sea testing and trialing her latest equipment, before berthing at the new Northern Ammunition Jetty at Glen Mallan, Scotland, for a routine onload of operational stores.

On her deployment, the carrier will be joined by US Marine Corps’ F-35B fighter jets while the Crowsnest aerial early-warning radar that is carried by Merlin helicopters will reportedly also be ready for the deployment despite numerous setbacks.

HMS Queen Elizabeth has been rehearsing for the first operational deployment ever since completing her final F-35B trials off the US coast in late 2019. After several international exercises during multiple underways, the carrier strike group achieved initial operational capability in January 2021.

The ship is now the first of the Royal Navy’s fleet to visit the new £64m facility in Scotland which was built by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).

This is the first time HMS Queen Elizabeth has visited Western Scotland, after she initially became a familiar sight on the River Forth where she was assembled.

Captain Angus Essenhigh, HMS Queen Elizabeth Commanding Officer, added: “We are very proud of the close connection our ship has with Scotland, especially with our affiliated city of Edinburgh.

During her first deployment to Asia, HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to join the US and Japan for exercises off the Nansei Islands chain in southwestern Japan and is likely to engage with other partner nations in the Indian Ocean and East Asia.