It has been one of the most ambitious naval projects in British history and last night the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was finally launched last night. In order to head out, the giant aircraft carrier had to wait for the right tide to pass under the Forth Bridge. It is estimated that there was barely 20 inches between the aircraft carrier and the bottom as it passed under the bridge. The ship was supported by a flotilla of 11 tugboats to help the ship navigate its way out of the dockyard.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon commented;
This is a historic moment for the UK as our new aircraft carrier takes to sea for the very first time. This floating fortress is by far the most powerful ship ever built in Britain that will enable us to tackle multiple and changing threats across the globe.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is an enduring example of British imagination, ingenuity, invention that will help keep us safe for decades to come. She is built by the best, crewed by the best and will deliver for Britain.
For the next 50 years she will deploy around the world, demonstrating British power and our commitment to confronting the emerging challenges from a dangerous world. The whole country can be proud of this national achievement.
Commanding officer Captain Jerry Kydd said of his ship;
I think there are very few capabilities, by any country, that are as symbolic as a carrier strike capability…Submarines you can’t see, but these are very visible symbols of power and power projection.
The launch has been unfortunately marred by reports in the media that the vessel’s systems still run on Windows XP which following the cyber attack on the NHS – who operated similar software – earlier this year has led to questions over whether the ship is vulnerable to cyber attack. Navy chiefs have denied that there is a risk and that protective measures have been taken.