Britain's huge £3.2bn warship HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in New York

Big Lizzie in the Big Apple: HMS Queen Elizabeth drops anchor next to the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour as Royal Navy’s flagship arrives in US to host military conference

  • The 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier arrived in New York on Sunday evening on her second visit to the Big Apple
  • The £3.2bn warship is the biggest ever built for Britain with a flight deck the size of three football pitches 
  • HMS Queen Elizabeth’s visit comes as Prime Minster Liz Truss announced plans to strengthen US-UK bonds
  • The carrier was scrambled at the last minute to take on the US visit after breakdown of HMS Prince of Wales 
  • Britain’s defence procurement minister claims it was ‘too early to tell’ when the Prince of Wales will be fixed

Britain’s flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has arrived in New York on its latest mission to America. 

The 65,000-tonne behemoth dropped anchor within sight of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour early on Sunday evening.  

The £3.2bn aircraft carrier set sail from its home base in Portsmouth earlier this month to act as a stand-in for sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales – which was meant to be sailing to America but broke down near the Isle of Wight hours after departing. 

The Queen Elizabeth will be acting as the floating venue for the Atlantic Future Forum (AFF) – a defence conference focusing on Anglo-American military, political and strategic relations.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, the flagship of the Royal Navy, sails into New York on Sunday on her second visit to the American city

The ship has a crew of about 700 sailors and is the biggest warship ever created for Britain. She is also the first in the world custom built to support the deadly new stealth jet, the F-35 

The arrival of the warship to New York comes hours after Liz Truss spoke about her intentions to make the UK’s ‘special’ relationship with the US ‘even more special’ in the next few years.

In an interview on CNN’s State Of The Union programme, the Prime Minister was asked about concerns in US president Joe Biden’s administration that she does not share the same belief in the special relationship as some of her predecessors in No 10.

Ms Truss said: ‘I do think our relationship is special and it’s increasingly important at a time when we’re facing threats from Russia, increased assertiveness from China.

‘I’m determined that we make the special relationship even more special over the coming years.’

HMS Queen Elizabeth was welcomed into New York by the UK’s Ambassador to the United States, Dame Karen Pierce. 

Dame Karen said: ‘HMS Queen Elizabeth is not only the United Kingdom’s flagship, but is a fantastic demonstration of the soft power and the close working relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the transatlantic relationship.

‘It’s an enormous honour to sail into New York on her.

‘We share an endeavour in remaining the United States’ closest ally and I am very proud of what the ship has achieved for Britain in her deployment to the Indo-Pacific last year.’ 

Captain Ian Feasey, HMS Queen Elizabeth’s commanding officer, said: ‘It is an amazing privilege to bring HMS Queen Elizabeth back to New York and to be formally welcomed to the United States by His Majesty’s ambassador.

‘We are very much looking forward to hosting the fifth Atlantic Future Forum and welcoming onboard senior leaders that embody our deep and special relationship with the United States.’

The carrier debuted in New York in 2018 – again to host the forum – ahead of fast jet trials with F-35 Lightnings. 

She’s joined in New York by her frigate escort, HMS Richmond, which sailed up the Hudson River for a berth on Manhattan Island. 

As well as hosting the two-day forum, the carrier’s crew will also have the opportunity to get ashore and visit New York, including formally paying their respects at the 9/11 memorial.

Now fully operational – the ship led an international carrier group to the Pacific Rim last year – HMS Queen Elizabeth will return across the Atlantic and spend the remainder of the autumn leading operations and exercises in European waters upon completion of the visit.

The Queen Elizabeth will be acting as the floating venue for the Atlantic Future Forum (AFF) – a defence conference focusing on Anglo-American military, political and strategic relations. 

HMS Queen Elizabeth was welcomed into New York by the UK’s Ambassador to the United States, Dame Karen Pierce, after the ship sailed past the iconic Statue of Liberty, pictured

The massive vessel’s arrival to New York was never on her original schedule of planned deployments, with her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales meant to be flying the flag for Britain in the States.

The trip to Manhattan would have been Prince of Wales’s first jaunt to America since being commissioned into the Royal Navy by King Charles in 2019. 

The warship – which is fractionally larger and heavier than her older sister, HMS Queen Elizabeth – had meant to remain overseas until about Christmas, carrying out trials with Britain’s deadly new stealth jet, the F-35.

But the problem-plague carrier suffered a major mechanical malfunction hours after leaving her home port of Portsmouth, with a fault crippling the starboard shaft.

Since the breakdown, on August 27, the ship has been languishing alongside at Portsmouth Naval Base, with specialist divers today continuing with their assessment of the damage.

At the moment, it is not known when HMS Prince of Wales will be back in action or when major repairs will take place.

Defence procurement minister Alec Shelbrooke – who is in charge of buying all of Britain’s military kit – admitted in a parliamentary question: ‘This is a very unusual fault, and we continue to pursue all repair options. It is too early to say what the timetable is for rectifying the issue.’

HMS Prince of Wales, the newest of Britain’s two aircraft carriers, was supposed to sail to America but she suffered a serious fault with her starboard shaft which damaged the ship so severely that top brass were forced to call off its trip to the USA

The fault is not the first suffered by HMS Prince of Wales; it flooded twice in 2020 in incidents that cost the Ministry of Defence million of pounds to fix.

The first flood was in May 2020 when a video emerged showing water pouring through the ceiling into an accommodation area.

Then, months later in October, an faulty fire system caused unleashed hundreds a huge torrent of water, which flooded an engine room, damaging sensitive electrical equipment. 

The issue caused about £3.3 million of damage, with the MoD forking out an additional £2.2 million for ‘remedial works’ on both the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers to stop future floods taking place.  

In 2017, HMS Queen Elizabeth also faced multi-million pound repairs after it was discovered that a faulty seal on a propeller shaft was letting in 200 litres of sea water an hour.

The aircraft carriers – built in Scotland for £6.2 billion – are the navy’s largest and most powerful ships ever. They are due to serve the country for the next 50 years. 

Inside Britain’s most powerful warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth

At 280 metres long, with a lifespan of half a century and a flight deck of four acres, HMS Queen Elizabeth is Britain’s largest and most powerful warship ever built.

Here are the facts and figures behind the vessel which was officially commissioned into the Royal Navy December 7, 2017

HMS Queen Elizabeth, pictured, weighs some 65,000 tonnes and has a top speed of 25 knots and a four-acre flight deck

  • The aircraft carrier weighs 65,000 tonnes and has a top speed in excess of 25 knots.
  • A number of ship building yards around the country were involved in the build – these include Govan and Scotstoun in Glasgow, Appledore in Devon, Cammell Laird in Birkenhead, Wirral, A&P on the Tyne in Newcastle and Portsmouth.
  • A total of 10,000 people worked on construction of the ship, made up in sections at yards around the UK and transported to Rosyth, Fife, where it was assembled.
  • It is the second ship in the Royal Navy to be named Queen Elizabeth.
  • The ship has a crew of around 700, that increased to 1,600 when the full complement of F-35B jets and Crowsnest helicopters embarked.
  • There are 364,000 metres of pipes inside the ship, and from keel to masthead she measures 56 metres, four metres more than Niagara Falls.
  • Facilities onboard include a chapel, a medical centre and 12-bed ward, staffed with GPs, a nurse and medical assistants, as well as a dentist and dental nurse.
  • There are also five gyms on the warship which include a cardiovascular suite, two free weight rooms and a boxing gym.
  • Regular fitness circuit sessions and sporting activities such as basketball and tug of war are held in the hangar and on the flight deck, with weights and other items stored inside the flight deck ramp. 
  • The Captain of the ship was Angus Essenhigh
  • There are five galleys on the warship which is where the food is cooked and those on board eat their meals everyday. This includes two main galleys, the bridge mess and an aircrew refreshment bar.
  • The distribution network on board manages enough energy to power 30,000 kettles or 5,500 family homes.
  • Its flight deck is 280 metres long and 70 metres wide, enough space for three football pitches.
  •  The entire ship’s company of 700 can be served a meal within 90 minutes, 45 minutes when at action stations.
  • Recreational spaces enjoyed by the crew feature televisions and sofas, as well as popular board games including the traditional Royal Navy game of Uckers.
  • Each of the two aircraft lifts on HMS Queen Elizabeth can move two fighter jets from the hangar to the flight deck in 60 seconds.
  • The warship has a range of 8,000 to 10,000 nautical miles, and has two propellers – each weighing 33 tonnes and with a combined 80MW output of power – enough to run 1,000 family cars or 50 high speed trains. 

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