HMS Queen Elizabeth: Queen set to formally unveil British Navy's largest ever ship

Whisky will replace more traditional champagne at ceremony

The Queen will formally name the Royal Navy's biggest ever ship today, with whisky replacing the more traditional champagne at the ceremony.

She will smash a bottle of Islay malt whisky against the HMS Queen Elizabeth at the event at Rosyth Dockyard in Fife, where the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier has been assembled and fitted out.

The Queen will be accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh at the naming ceremony, a naval tradition dating back thousands of years which combines a celebration and a solemn blessing.

Other high-profile dignitaries including Labour leader Ed Miliband and First Minister Alex Salmond, along with his Second World War naval veteran father Robert, 92, will also attend the ceremony.

Read more: Inside the construction of HMS Queen Elizabeth

The naming of the warship comes five years after the first metal was cut on the vessel and 33 months after the first section entered the dry dock at Rosyth to begin being put together.

The ship and a second vessel, the under-construction HMS Prince of Wales, are the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy.

Mr Miliband said: "Today we celebrate the skills and talents of the men and women who worked on the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

"This is the biggest warship ever built in the United Kingdom. Assembled here in Scotland, but built in six yards around the United Kingdom. From Glasgow to Birkenhead, Fife to Portsmouth, this contract has provided work to thousands of people across the country and made the best use of the skills and talents of the people who work in our yards. It is a visible reminder of what we can achieve when we work together across the United Kingdom.

 

"Shipbuilding has been at the centre of many communities across Scotland for hundreds of years, and today we pay tribute to the workers on the Clyde and at Rosyth who have made this project a reality.

"As part of the United Kingdom, I'm confident that shipbuilding in Scotland will have a positive future and continue to thrive."

HMS Queen Elizabeth is now structurally complete and ready to be floated out of her dock for the first time this month, shortly after being named by the Queen.

The two ships are both termed Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers and are being built by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA), a partnership of BAE Systems, Babcock, Thales and the Ministry of Defence. Overall, six shipyards around the UK - Appledore, Birkenhead, Govan, Portsmouth, Rosyth and Tyne - have been involved in building various parts of the carriers.

There has only been one previous HMS Queen Elizabeth, which was completed 100 years earlier. The new ship's name is both the continuation of this historic Royal Navy name and a tribute to the Queen.

Those behind the project, which costs an estimated £6.2 billion overall, say the QE Class will be the centrepiece of Britain's naval capability.

Each 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier will provide the armed forces with a four-acre military operating base, which can be deployed worldwide, operating the F-35 Lightning II and a number of types of helicopter. They will be versatile enough to be used across the full spectrum of military activity, from war fighting to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

The length of each ship is the equivalent of 28 London buses - almost three times the length of Buckingham Palace.

Each ship, which has a life expectancy of around 50 years, will be fitted out with more than three million metres of cable and it will have enough power to light up a small town.

HMS Queen Elizabeth will have 679 permanent crew and capacity for 1,600 crew members when fully operational.

The Queen and Prince Philip will also visit the Forth Road Bridge to mark its 50th anniversary today.

They will meet a group of long serving employees before unveiling a plaque.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future