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UK's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth sails into home port for first time
August 16, 2017 / 10:01 AM / 3 months ago

UK's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth sails into home port for first time

PORTSMOUTH, England (Reuters) - Britain’s most advanced and biggest warship, the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, berthed for the first time at its home port of Portsmouth on Wednesday.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May stands on the flight deck as she speaks to crew members of the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, during her tour of the ship, after it arrived at Portsmouth Naval base, its new home port, in Portsmouth, Britain August 16, 2017. REUTERS/Ben Stansall/Pool

The 280-metre (920-foot) vessel entered the harbour on England’s southern coast at 0610 GMT, greeted by thousands of spectators.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy, according to the Ministry of Defence.

“Today we welcome our mighty new warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, to her home for the very first time,” said Defence Secretary Michael Fallon. “She is Britain’s statement to the world: a demonstration of British military power and our commitment to a bigger global role.”

Sailors stand on board the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth as it arrives in Portsmouth, Britain August 16, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

The ship is currently undergoing sea trials. It cannot yet deploy planes, but flying trials from its deck are due to begin in 2018.

It took eight years to build HMS Queen Elizabeth, with construction taking place in six cities and involving 10,000 people.

Slideshow (22 Images)

Along with its sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, it is part of a defence programme worth 6 billion pounds.

Commanding officer Captain Jerry Kyd told the BBC that the carrier “sends the right signals to our allies and indeed potentially to our enemies that we mean business.”

(This version of the story has been refiled to change day to Wednesday in first paragraph. No other change to text)

Reporting by Peter Nicholls, writing by Fanny Potkin, editing by Estelle Shirbon

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