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HMS Queen Elizabeth: Carrier arrives in Portsmouth

16 August 2017

The UK's new £3bn aircraft carrier has docked in its home port.

HMS Queen Elizabeth entered Portsmouth Harbour for the first time at about 07:10 BST following extensive preparations at the naval base.

The 65,000-tonne ship has been undergoing sea trials since setting sail from Rosyth dockyard in Fife, where it was built, in June. The 900ft (280m) long carrier cannot currently deploy planes but flying trials are due to begin next year.

Preparations for the arrival of the future flagship of the fleet, and its 700 crew, saw more than 20,000 items ranging dredged up from Portsmouth Harbour. The Ministry of Defence said specialist dredging vessels had removed 3.2m cubic metres of sediment - the equivalent to 1,280 Olympic swimming pools - during the dredging operation carried out to deepen the harbour mouth to enable the Queen Elizabeth to reach Portsmouth naval base.

Speaking on board before the journey in to Portsmouth, Capt Jerry Kyd said he felt a "huge amount of pride" ahead of the vessel berthing in its home port.

It sends the right signals to our allies and indeed potentially to our enemies that we mean business.

"The armed forces are fundamentally an insurance policy for the country and you can't just, at the flick of a switch, decide that you need these capabilities.

The ship has been undergoing sea trials off the Scottish coast and sailed with the USS George HW Bush and her carrier strike group, during Exercise Saxon Warrior earlier this month.

F-35B Lightning fighter jets are due to make their first trial flights from the carrier's deck next year with 120 aircrew currently training in the US.