The 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth has been undergoing sea trials since setting sail from Scotland’s Rosyth dockyard in June.
And following extensive preparations, the £3billion aircraft carrier will sail into its new dock in Portsmouth.
Commodore Andrew Betton, a senior commander in the Royal Navy, has said that the introduction of the ship into the Royal Navy’s fleet will position the UK amongst the world’s top military powers.
Whilst other top military leaders Queen Elizabeth and its sister ship HMS Prince of Wales would allow the UK’s Navy to match the capabilities of the larger fleet of US warships.
The carrier currently cannot deploy aircraft but flight testing of its jets is due to begin next year in the United States. 10 F-35B Lightning II fighters and 120 aircrew have been training with their US counterparts.
Members of Britain’s new carrier strike group are currently engaged with the US Navy and other in Exercise Saxon Warrior, aboard American aircraft carrier the USS George HW Bush.
The 97,000-tonne and 1,092ft Nimitz class aircraft carrier was off the coast of Scotland on Sunday in the latest phase of the war game.
Cmdr Betton said that the introduction of the two new carriers would “usher in a new era of carrier strike activity”.
“The ability to scale from humanitarian assistance, response to natural disasters, through to a poise to try and deter a potential conflict and if necessary to engage as a serious tier one partner in the international coalition to take our place at the top table.”
“As a United Nations permanent security council member, I feel it’s firmly the right thing for the United Kingdom to be doing.”
The Ministry of Defence has previously confirmed plans for the deployment of US F-35’s alongside the British jets aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, stating:
“HMS Queen Elizabeth will be the Royal Navy’s flagship for the next 50 years, using her strike power to deter our enemies”
However, the Royal United Services Institute recently warned that the Royal Navy’s new flagship could be disabled with a single strike from a relatively cheap missile costing less than £500,000, and sunk by multiple missiles.
Other warnings have suggested that the Queen Elizabeth is particularly vulnerable to cyber attack.
Despite these concerns, Captain Ken Houlberg, the UK carrier strike group chief of staff, said the capability delivered by an aircraft carrier and strike group “sets that nation on the world map – it’s a player”.
“It’s got hard power tools that can deliver capability across the spectrum of conflict, from humanitarian and disaster relief through defence engagement to full high-end war fighting with our coalition allies.”
“It sets Britain apart.”
Cmdr Betton said the two British carriers would operate at a high state or readiness, with one or the other always available at short notice to undertake carrier strike operations.